Backup And Recovery For Financial Services

How financial services organizations can implement secure backup and recovery to protect their data and ensure compliance.
Arturo Bello
May 26, 2023

Financial services organizations face unique challenges when it comes to securing their data and must adhere to stringent compliance regulations. One area where financial services companies need to be particularly careful is with their handling of personal data such as names and addresses, and financial data such as credit card numbers. This type of information is critical to the operations of any business in the financial services sector, and it’s also particularly valuable to attackers that want to steal or extort money from your customers. As well as being used directly, this type of data could be used like a bargaining chip in a ransomware attack, to force your organization to pay up.

Implementing a backup and recovery solution can give you an added layer of confidence in the integrity and security of your data. These solutions ensure that your data can be stored and recovered if necessary. This is particularly useful to ensure business operations can continue during and after cyberattacks where data is compromised.

Why Do You Need To Backup Your Data?

Backup solutions are essential for financial services organizations. If, whether for malicious or innocent reasons, data is lost or cannot be accessed, backup solutions give you another means of accessing the data that you need. This means that your organization can continue to operate.

Compliance And Regulation

Due to the sensitive nature of the data that financial services organizations handle daily, many regulatory frameworks require you to take extra steps to secure customer data. Implementing a backup and recovery solution is recognized by compliance standards like PCI-DSS, SOX, and GLBA as an effective way of achieving this.

The GLBA standard requires that financial institutions have a written security plan that specifically covers information and data. The plan needs to describe the processes and policies that are in place to protect customer information. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that secure, encrypted backups are used.

Section 103 of SOX requires that public accounting firms retain a copy of all documents related to their audits for at least seven years. A cloud backup and recovery solution can ensure that these files are stored for the required amount of time. Using one of these solutions will also ensure that files are stored with the required level of security – section 105 describes that all files must be kept confidential. Secure backup and recovery solutions prevent these files from being accessed or tampered with by an unauthorized user.


Backup and recovery solutions are particularly useful for responding to malware threats such as ransomware. This is a specific type of code that locks computers and prevents users from accessing data. Once they successfully install ransomware on your machines, the attackers ask you to pay an extortionate ransom fee, before you are able to regain access. However, paying the ransom doesn’t always ensure the safe return of your data.  

So, how do data backups protect against ransomware? Technically, backups do not prevent ransomware attacks. Instead, backups give you a way to access your data, thereby circumventing the attackers’ leverage over you. If you have data backed up, you can wipe your systems to clear them of malware, then simply restore your data from the previous backup. The attacker hasn’t made any money, and you’ve been able to restore all data saved in the most recent backup.  

On top of that, the best backup and recovery solutions have built in anti-malware and encryption to ensure saved date is clean. There’s nothing worse than saving malware in a backup, then restoring that corrupted malware across your whole network.

Human Error

Not all instances of data loss are caused by malicious actors and cyberattacks; human error can be a cause too. Within multinational organizations, it can be difficult to keep track of data, and easy to delete information by mistake. It may be that one user thinks they are deleting information locally, but are actually removing it from the whole network. With backup solutions in place, you can restore information even if it is deleted in error.

Natural Disaster

While the weather may seem to have little effect on cybersecurity and IT infrastructure, natural disasters can cause unexpected system failures. This may have a knock-on impact across your whole network, where bottlenecks or connection failures prevent your organization from operating as normal.

Although the cloud is everywhere from a user’s perspective, all your data will be stored in a physical location. If this location were to flood, be caught in a fire, or at the centre of any number of natural disasters, all your cloud users will be affected. One localized flood could have a knock-on impact on teams operating around the world.

With backup and recovery tools, your organization can restore any data affected by the natural disaster, allowing you to continue operating as usual.

Don’t Applications Already Backup Data?

Here’s where it gets complicated. Some applications do natively backup data - to an extent. Popular productivity suites – such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace – operate a shared responsibility model. Within this model, the software provider is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure of the software, but you are responsible for protecting your data. This means that, while the application may backup some data for a limited time, ultimate responsibility for the security of data stored in those applications sits with your organization - not the software provider.  

It can be challenging for financial services organizations to create backups manually and to secure those backups in line with compliance regulations. Because of this, we recommend you implement a third-party data backup solution. By doing this, you can ensure that policies are in line with your expectations and regulatory requirements. You will gain control over how often your backups run, how long data is stored for, and wherethat data is stored. This gives you complete control to react if a data loss event does occur.

What Features Should You Look For In A Backup And Recovery Solution?

There are some key features that any financial services organization should look for in a backup and recovery solution. These include:

Point-In-Time Backups

Data backup solutions perform regular backups at predetermined points in time. A solution can be configured to run backups as frequently as you like; this may well be daily or weekly. It is often a good idea to set the backup time for the end of the day. This means that a data copy will be taken once everyone has finished work for the day. As most cyberattacks happen overnight – when there are fewer staff to identify and respond to them – you can restore all that new information, without losing a day’s work. If a backup were scheduled for the morning and a cyberattack happened overnight, you would have lost all new data since the last backup. If your organization can’t afford to have to re-create a whole day’s work, you should look for a solution that offers more frequent backups or journal-based backups, which create a new copy every time a change is made.

Granular Search And Restore Capabilities

The best backup tools offer a granular search function to easily find a specific piece of data for restoring or exporting. In many cases, you may not want to restore a whole system – you might, for instance, want to restore a single file or group of files. With an effective search function, you can quickly find the file you need, then restore it.

Full system restore is also essential. If your organization suffers from a large scale cyberattack, it may be safer to wipe everything, then completely restore your systems. If you had to select each individual file to restore, this would be very time intensive, and you are likely to miss some.

Flexible Retention Period And Storage Limits

Your solution should give you the ability to configure retention and storage settings to match your organization’s specific requirements. If the solution does not offer flexible retention periods, you may find it challenging to comply with data protection regulations that require backups to be stored for a given amount of time. Equally, you need flexible storage capacity to ensure that no information is being lost.


As one of the key reasons for using a backup and recovery tool is to prove compliance, the solution should make it easy to generate and export audit reports and activity logs.

Access Management

A strong data backup solution should enable you to restrict access to users through role-based permissions, and secure use access via MFA. This will help prevent unauthorized users from accessing your backup tool, and ensure that users can only view and restore data that’s pertinent to their role.

Secure Storage

Data should be encrypted with a robust protocol such as AES-256. Like the reason for implementing MFA, you want to ensure that hackers cannot access your stored data. AES-256 is a highly effective and robust means of encrypting data.

Easy Deployment

Your chosen solution should be able to integrate with your existing environment and backup all data. It must be able to access all of your data across your systems. If it is unable to do so, the backup will be incomplete, thereby undermining the effectiveness of a restore.

Our Recommendation: CloudAlly

CloudAlly is a market-leading provider of enterprise level backup and recovery services. Their suite of products is designed to work efficiently with cloud applications such as Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Sharepoint, OneDrive, Salesforce, Box and Dropbox.

Constant Edge has partnered with CloudAlly to provide backup and recovery for financial services organizations.

The CloudAlly platform automates daily backups for all of your users (with auto-activation of backups for new users), meaning that your data can be stored consistently, without any admin users having to remember or initiate backups manually. The platform can manage non-destructive restores to the same or different users and, if you need data to be exported to a local archive or download, CloudAlly facilitates this.


CloudAlly’s platform gives admins extensive visibility into backup status across the network. You can easily understand events, location, application, and status through the activity viewer. From here, you are also able to use the search and filtering function to find specific users or data quickly.

Security And Compliance

CloudAlly protects all data using AES-256, the most complex and advanced encryption standard. This would take today’s most advanced computers hundreds, even thousands of years to crack. The solution also empowers you to meet compliance and regulatory standards as it is ISO 27001 certified and HIPAA and GDPR compliant. You can also specify in which data centres you want your data stored; CloudAlly has data centres located in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Germany, and Australia to help meet data sovereignty requirements.


The platform’s auditing features automatically log critical information like permission changes, sign-in failures, changed settings, deactivated users, and backup history. Audit reports can be exported as .CSV files with the click of a button.


CloudAlly offers a good deal of customization, allowing you to deploy the solution in a way that works for you. You can set backup tasks to run automatically, or trigger on-demand backups as required. The platform also allows you to customize data retention periods as you need; when using productivity suites like Microsoft 365, you can set different backup and retention preferences for different applications. CloudAlly can even offer an unlimited retention length, allowing you store data for any length of time.  

Access Control

CloudAlly requires users to be verified by two-factor authentication before being granted access. This is an efficient and effective means of implementing security, without putting unnecessary strain on end-users.

From the admin control panel, users can be assigned role-based permissions for specific applications and activities. The activities include viewing the account settings page, managing notifications, and restoring backups. This level of granular configurability ensures that users can work efficiently within their job role, without being able to overstep their permissions.

When carrying our tasks that have the potential to cause data loss issues – such as data exports – CloudAlly steps up the level of security. Before being able to download any content, users must put in an export request; this then sends an email with an activation link to the relevant email address. This is a form of MFA that ensures that data exports are only carried out by valid parties.  


CloudAlly is a highly effective and configurable backup and recovery solution that streamlines the process of protecting your critical data

The platform’s reliable and secure backups will give your organization the confidence to focus on your own goals and objectives. Should your organization suffer a data loss incident, you can recover data precisely, to the original account, or to a new one. This gives you the flexibility to adapt as your organization grows and responds to a changing cybersecurity environment.

If you represent a financial services organization looking for a secure and compliant backup and recovery solution, we can help. Constant Edge has a team of data protection specialists who understand the importance of backup for financial services organizations and can advise you on the best solution to meet your requirements. Get in touch with our team for a quote or to start a 14 day trial of CloudAlly.

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