In the past, I’ve written about backing up your website, Synology NAS (network attached storage) devices used for backing up and syncing data, and Data Redundancy and how that’s different from true backups. In this blog post, I will explain why syncing your data between multiple devices (such as a NAS, computers, and the cloud), is not the same thing as a true backup, and provide 2 examples of why trusting a “sync” for your data backups isn’t a good idea.
In the past couple of years, there has been a lot of news surrounding a newer variant of malware known as Ransomware. If infected, everything in a Windows computer’s My Documents folder, as well as other user documents, get encrypted. The malware then prompts the victim to pay a ransom in order for the files to be unencrypted and made available again.
Unfortunately, far too many people fall prey to this attack and feel that they have no other options than to pay the ransom. However, even paying to have files unencrypted is no guarantee that they actually will be unencrypted.
Not only does the ransomware encrypt the documents physically on local machines, but it can also encrypt information in shared folders on a centralized NAS or other server. So if you work for a small business or nonprofit organization and one employee’s computer gets infected with Ransomware, guess what? All of your organization’s data that is shared with that employee would most likely get irreversibly encrypted.
File Deletion or Unauthorized Data Manipulation…
Another example of why syncing your data shouldn’t be used as a backup is the possibly of important files getting deleted or changed in some way. In most cases, once a file is changed or deleted, that change gets synced immediately to the other devices setup to sync that information.
In some cases, there is the possibility to do a “1-way” sync such that if someone changes or deletes the file on 1 end (the sync destination), the change wouldn’t be synced, but even this isn’t safe to rely on, because the change could easily be made on the first end (the sync source).