Is your data safest in the recycle bin?

The humble recycle bin has been reinvented, and it could prove your business' saviour in the event of data loss.


Johannesburg, 24 Jul 2018
Read time 3min 20sec
Trent Odgers, Cloud and Hosting Manager, Veeam Software.
Trent Odgers, Cloud and Hosting Manager, Veeam Software.

You do all the right things to protect your data. You back it up regularly. You have security measures in place that are kept current. You follow the 3-2-1 rule of having three copies of your data, in two locations, one of which is off-site. You'd think it's virtually impossible to lose data under these conditions. Yet, it still happens, says Trent Odgers, Cloud and Hosting Manager for Veeam Software.

He continues: "Sometimes backing up your data to the cloud isn't sufficient. An insider attack could render that data unavailable. Or backed up data could be accidentally deleted. Regardless of whether the data loss is malicious or inadvertent in nature, the end result is that your business has lost its data. To address this challenge requires an additional layer of protection in the form of a recycle bin in the cloud."

Odgers clarifies the concept of layers of security by drawing an analogy with the average home in South Africa. "You have an electric fence, possibly beams, an alarm inside the house, burglar bars and security gates. Each of these layers could be penetrated, but the more layers that you have, the more you slow down the criminals and the better your chances of defence."

He says the above analogy clarifies how the recycle bin in the cloud concept fits into the 3-2-1 rule of data protection. "It simply adds another layer of security to the copy of your data that's stored offsite. It's not another copy of your data, just another layer of protection."

Should an outside attacker, an internal attacker or even someone who is new to technology, delete something, having a recycle bin in the cloud means there is a fallback plan to recover the data. The recycle bin will automatically receive data that's deleted from a desktop, the data centre or the cloud.

The recycle bin in the cloud differs substantially from the one on every user's desktop in that it can't be accessed by individual users, only the service provider can restore or delete the data at the user's request, and in that it receives all data that's deleted in the cloud, whether intentional or accidental. Odgers says: "Previously, files that were deleted in the cloud were gone forever, so this is a significant new layer of protection against loss, regardless of the cause."

Technically, the recycle bin sits on the backup repository of the service provider and the files in it don't consume the user's quota. The user perceives the backup files moved to the recycle bin as deleted. They can't access those files whatsoever. The files are kept in this recycle bin for a predefined period, before being deleted completely. Once this has happened, they cannot be retrieved.

This level of defence is relevant to every business, from the single user to a large enterprise with thousands of people. No business of any size can afford to sustain a significant data loss and today's data is in a constant state of flux, thus more exposed to threats than ever. "Data is either moving to the cloud, or from the cloud back to devices, and then also between the cloud."

He concludes: "Businesses should be aware that they need to enable the recycle bin in the cloud functionality, and should not just assume that they have it because they are backing up their data to the cloud, as not all service providers offer this functionality."

Find out more about the business benefits of having a recycle bin in the cloud by downloading this white paper on the topic.