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In the turn of the century 18 years ago, people have embraced Web 2.0, a new dynamic web replacing the static HTML-only Web 1.0 fathered by Tim Berners Lee in the 1990’s. Web 2.0 as a successor hosted content that can never be imagined way back year 2000, streaming video, WebGL 3d graphics, and hardware acceleration of rendering web pages. Web 2.0’s database-driven web technology also introduced new possibilities such as online banking, elegant searching capabilities inside individual websites and general smoothness of navigating web pages.

However, for every positive benefit provided comes threats. The addition of complexity comes issues with security, with “ease-of-use” as the central focus for many web developers; privacy is also compromised as a result. Big Data is all the rage for the past 5 years, with the world created more data for the last 10 years than all the previous years combined since the dawn of the IBM PC in 1981. Personally identifiable information has a smell of money for the cyber-criminals. The more information they can extract, by hook or by crook, the bigger potential profits they can earn at the expense of users dependent on the system. Data loss prevention is an important aspect of computing that many have forgotten about, given that the growth of the Internet gave us the convenience, being in a state of confidence, people tend not to think about data loss possibilities, let alone implement a Data loss prevention strategy.

Given that the actual performance of storage systems is much worse than required, and that even if it improves we still won’t be sure that a system will meet its requirements, the fourth part asks what is to be done. As with paper, content in digital archives will inevitably suffer loss and damage. That is why the world is very much addicted to online storage, and the market has responded. The cloud-storage solution brands have blossomed in the last 5 years, even the smartphone people hold today has automatic cloud backup as soon as it gets its first taste of online connection, creating a virtual data loss prevention system from the factory. The dependence with storing information in a remote server on the Internet is, however, the loss of control on our part when it comes to the availability, security, and integrity of data.

We are in a multi-platform world, with various devices talking with the rest of the world through TCP/IP, a protocol designed in the 1970’s. With the purpose of packet switching to maintain connection and that connection today stays-on 24/7. With our smart devices, we are fast becoming an always online civilization, where any information we need we can get in seconds, and literally information at our fingertips “pitch” of Bill Gates from the late 90’s. Accessibility is the key why users became trusting of their devices, their service providers and their data being entrusted to 3rd parties. Such rich data attracts the attention of cyber-criminals, which brought us a lot of trouble like phishing, virus infections, record/data loss, security breaches, and identity theft cases.

Data loss prevention can be done weeks ahead of any possible data breaches or breakdown of hardware; this is having a credible backup plan. The principle of 3-2-1 backup strategy, applicable for both individual users and organizations. 3 – means three different media needs to be used, this diversified the backup storage minimizing the negative effects of the possibility of media corruption. One such example is an external hard drive, a USB flash drive and an online storage as backup methods for data stored on a laptop hard drive. 2 means two locations, a backup or multiple backups of critical data is useless if all of them are located in the same place. In the case of a fire, flood, earthquakes or any similar emergency having backup media in the same location cancels the redundancy and availability of data. 1 refers to the use of at least one cloud-based backup storage solution. It is a lot better if an encrypted copy of files, an individual or an organisation requires are stored somewhere remote and online. This 3-2-1 backup strategy helps a lot in preventing the loss of data in the long run.

Author: Julia Sowells, Senior Information Security Specialist