Highly Reliable Systems: Removable Disk Backup & Recovery

Monthly Archives: June 2012

Can Using Encryption Destroy Your Backup?

June 29th, 2012 by

With all the talk about backup to the cloud, we wanted to take a moment to discuss the encryption that is always part of that backup strategy.  Most encryption methods assume the underlying hardware is good.  But given that as many as 3-6% of hard drives fail in any given year, it’s important to ask the question: Can using encryption destroy your backup?

A few bad sector clusters on an unencrypted hard drive  are not a big problem for a data recovery laboratory — even if it involves the MFT – master file table. But a couple dead sectors on an encrypted drive can mean a complete inability to recover anything, depending on the method of encryption.


  • Having your data backed up on multiple physical disks is a very good thing!
  • Use different software and hardware as a secondary backup strategy, especially if encryption is used.
  • If your strategy involves encryption to the cloud, make sure there are multiple data centers.
  • A single data store with multiple incrementals for history is great.  But… remember if it’s encrypted you are one “bit flip” away from having nothing (depending on the encryption mechanism).
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