The number of ransomware attacks is on the rise across the world. Ransomware attacks can have devastating effects on large corporations, as well as on small and medium-sized businesses. Recovery can take a long time, and victims are often forced to pay to recover their files. In the event of total data loss, the continuation of your business may be entirely dependent on the integrity of your backup solution.

There are many different backup solutions on the market. Today, it’s becoming more and more important to have a backup solution that is configured to combat the effects of ransomware. One of the best practices to keep your data backup reliable is versioning.

What is versioning?

Versioning, as the name implies, is the storage of multiple copies (or versions) of your backup. If you run your data backups daily, you should store copies of each day’s backup separately from one another. Weekly, monthly, and even yearly backups can be kept separately as well. 

This is different from a standard data backup, which simply gives you one copy of your data.

While having a data backup to recover from in the event of a failure is essential to keep your systems online, a backup is only as effective as its integrity. Victims of ransomware attacks don’t always recognize the intrusion immediately. Businesses that can only refer to the previous night’s backup are still vulnerable if the ransomware attack occurred a day earlier.

Having a backup with multiple versions, organized by date, protects businesses from cases such as this. Immediately following the detection of the ransomware attack, a determination can be made about when the intrusion happened. The files that were affected can be replaced with copies from backups created prior to the attack.

How many versions should I have?

The next decision that should be made is regarding the number of backup versions that should be stored at one time. You know that you need more than one copy — but how many do you need, specifically? And how many backups are too many? There is no “hard and fast” rule on this topic, but there are a few guidelines that can help you decide.

The first thing to know is that there is no such thing as too many versions. Every version that you store costs storage space, which in turn can cost your business money. However, having an effective backup solution can literally save your business in the event of a catastrophic data failure. It is, therefore, a worthwhile investment.

A common rule within the industry states that you should have three copies of your backup, stored in two different locations, with one of those locations being off-site. While this is a fairly informal rule, three copies of your backup is a good minimum number to start with. Increasing this number as data space and finances allow should be the end goal.


Ransomware attacks are becoming an inevitable threat. Having a secure firewall and up-to-date anti-malware protection is important. But so is having multiple data backups, so that you can maximize your chances of having a backup available that was created before a ransomware attack targets your infrastructure.

Be sure to verify that your backup solution is not only replicating your data effectively but is storing multiple versions of your data as well. In the event of an intrusion, this small step may well turn out to save your business from total disaster.