Using USB Drives for Data Backups

Where a small business uses a USB drive as a backup, in the majority of cases, the following methodology is used

The Information to be “backed up” is copied to the USB Drive daily. This results in the previous days “backup” being overwritten. This has the following negative implications

  • The previous good data can be overwritten by data that has corruption or virus’s in it.
  • The copy becomes a manual daily process which can get “skipped” if the “wheels fall off” in the office
  • A “daily commitment” to manually backup becomes a “weekly commitment” and then a “monthly commitment”

What are the Risks of using USB drive for backups

USB drives get lost, stolen or reused


  • The Backup USB disk is normally transported home, in the same Laptop bag as the Laptop being backed up. The Laptop bag gets stolen and both the Laptop, its information and its backup is lost.
    • The consequence of this is that critical company information is now in a third party’s hands
    • What is the implication from a POPI point of view.

The USB Drive get damaged / backups overwritten due to daily mishandling – We have seen the following

  • USB Drive is dropped and damaged – Backups Lost
  • The kids at home format it and write games / movies on it. – Backups Lost
  • The USB Drive gets used to move data between machines and gets infected with virus’s – Backups Corrupted
  • The USB Drive does not return to the office – No Backup today
  • The USB Drive gets misplaced / reused over the annual holiday period – Backups Lost

In summary, if not part of a secure “point in time” backup systems, USB drives are a “false sense of security” when it comes to backups

The Correct way to use USB Drives or backups

A USB drive can certainly be used as part of a properly configured backup system and strategy, were the backup data is also written offsite and has “Point in Time” Restore capability. The GPBackups system has this capability which gives you the following advantage

  • The Latest Backup can be restored from the USB Drive at LAN Speed. Data is stored in a compressed and encrypted state on the USB drive.
  • Point in Time restores can be restored from Offsite across the internet. The Data is stored on the offsite backup servers in a compressed and encrypted state

Talk to us if you are currently backing up your system in a backup copy mode.