Is Dropbox or OneDrive a Backup Solution?

Is Dropbox or OneDrive a Backup Solution?

I cannot count the number of times someone has told me that they use Dropbox or OneDrive to “backup” their data. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these are not backup services. They are file sharing services. If you are rely on these services to protect you from Ransomware, you couldn’t be more wrong!

The Difference between Backup services and File Sharing services

Backup services take a snapshot or copy at a certain time, based on what you define and store it in a container/space disconnected from the real-time file system on your computer. This isolates the data from virus, malware and ransomware activity that would infect the real time data on your computer. Allowing you to restore files that where infected and reverse the damage. This will not protect your computer operating system unless you are backing up your entire computer, operating system included, which is done by imaging the entire hard drive. It can however protect you from ransomware threats, allowing you to clean the infected system and restore your important data from your backup source.

File Sharing services, such as Dropbox and OneDrive, have a constant connection to your data via the Internet. So when you change some thing on one of the linked devices to that service, it replicates the change to all connected devices. It actually can replicate the threat to all connected machines and overwrite the data everywhere. This is just the opposite of what most people think it is doing. So the service you thought was protecting you, is actually extending the risk to all your connected machines.

People who use Multiple Operating Systems

If you are a person who loves using Apple or Linux at home because you are not a Microsoft fan; there are new issues introduced by this. Let me share a common scenario:

An employee uses an Apple Mac at home and uses OneDrive and/or Dropbox to share files between their computers so they can work from home on a project. Many people are under the impression that Apple Macs do not need virus/malware protection so they do not install these protections on their Apple Mac. They receive an infected PDF or Word file via email from a friend. Open it work on it and have no issue on the Mac. They drop it in a OneDrive/Dropbox folder so they can get to it at work the next day.

They get to work, open it up to work on it or review it and become infected. The Mac did not have software that looks for malware so the user inadvertently infected their work computer. Most of these threats have two focuses; infect and spread. Because the employee has brought the file into the work network via file sharing, it has bypassed the traditional email and firewall protections and will immediately start spreading to other machines in the network. If it is ransomware it will encrypt the local drive contents and all “mapped network” drives in short order.

This was a real-life example that really happened to a client.

The Best Solutions

Cloud-based backup solutions are the most cost effective way to mitigate threats posed by modern day malware and ransomware. Having a backup service that makes daily updated copies of your data to a secure cloud environment ensures the separation needed of real-time connections locally based backups connected to your machine.

A better solution for businesses is cloud-based computing that puts the entire business network in a secure data center environment. This prevents businesses from spending thousand on servers, software licenses, security, redundant systems, backup and disaster recovery. They can use thin-clients, tablets or just about any device to access their desktops from anywhere, anytime in a secure way.

For more information on how we can help you protect your shared Dropbox/One Drive data or show you how cloud-based computing can save your business money, request an appointment here. We’ll show you how our guaranteed up-time, reduced hardware and software expenses, 24/7/365 certified support and built in backup and disaster recovery can get you out of the IT business and focusing on your business. Not ours.