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Ten Practical Security Steps

1. Good backups, periodically tested, with reasonable media rotation and offsite storage.

Backups are frequently not discussed when security lists are made. At most large organizations backups are totally routine and taken for granted. As organizations get smaller the importance of backups is more likely to be neglected. Even at large organizations the importance of testing backups is sometimes neglected. Machines that should be backed up may be missed, such as a desktop system with valuable, unique data or a demonstration project that has become a production system.

Backups need to cover more than a few days so that older versions of files can be recovered and so there is a resonable chance of recovering from problems, especially intruder caused damage, that goes undetected for a significant time.

With good backups that are adequately protected, there few situations from which recovery is not possible though the costs may be substantial. Without good backups, it's hardly worth bothering with the rest of this list. Sooner or later, hardware failure will cause irretrievable data loss and recovering from an intrusion you detect will be difficult.

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