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Critical Security Control: 8

Critical Security Control: 8

Data Recovery Capability

The processes and tools used to properly back up critical information with a proven methodology for timely recovery of it.

Why Is This Control Critical?

When attackers compromise machines, they often make significant changes to configurations and software. Sometimes attackers also make subtle alterations of data stored on compromised machines, potentially jeopardizing organizational effectiveness with polluted information. When the attackers are discovered, it can be extremely difficult for organizations without a trustworthy data recovery capability to remove all aspects of the attacker's presence on the machine.

How to Implement This Control

ID # Description Category
CSC 8-1 Ensure that each system is automatically backed up on at least a weekly basis, and more often for systems storing sensitive information. To help ensure the ability to rapidly restore a system from backup, the operating system, application software, and data on a machine should each be included in the overall backup procedure. These three components of a system do not have to be included in the same backup file or use the same backup software. There should be multiple backups over time, so that in the event of malware infection, restoration can be from a version that is believed to predate the original infection. All backup policies should be compliant with any regulatory or official requirements. Quick win
CSC 8-2 Test data on backup media on a regular basis by performing a data restoration process to ensure that the backup is properly working. Quick win
CSC 8-3 Ensure that backups are properly protected via physical security or encryption when they are stored, as well as when they are moved across the network. This includes remote backups and cloud services. Configuration/Hygiene
CSC 8-4 (NEW) Ensure that key systems have at least one backup destination that is not continuously addressable through operating system calls. This will mitigate the risk of attacks like CryptoLocker which seek to encrypt or damage data on all addressable data shares, including backup destinations.

CSC 8 Procedures and Tools

Once per quarter (or whenever new backup equipment is purchased), a testing team should evaluate a random sample of system backups by attempting to restore them on a test bed environment. The restored systems should be verified to ensure that the operating system, application, and data from the backup are all intact and functional.

In the event of malware infection, restoration procedures should use a version of the backup which is believed to predate the original infection.

CSC 8 Effectiveness Metrics

Percentage of systems with current backups within their target frequency (targets can vary by system role, type, and criticality)

CSC 8 Automation Metrics


CSC 8 Effectiveness Test

The evaluation team should identify 5 systems in the environment and restore to a test system (physical or virtual) using the most recent backup. Verify that the system has been restored properly by comparing the restore results to the original system.

CSC 8 System Entity Relationship Diagram

Organizations will find that by diagramming the entities necessary to fully meet the goals defined in this control, it will be easier to identify how to implement them, test the controls, and identify where potential failures in the system might occur.

A control system is a device or set of devices used to manage, command, direct, or regulate the behavior of other devices or systems. In this case, we are examining an organization's capability to restore systems in the event that data need to be restored because of a data loss or breach of a system. While backups are certainly an important part of this process, the ability to restore data is the critical component. The following list of the steps in the above diagram shows how the entities work together to meet the business goal defined in this control. The list also delineates each of the process steps in order to help identify potential failure points in the overall control.

Step 1: Production business systems backed up on a regular basis to authorized organizational backup systems

Step 2: Backups created are stored offline at secure storage facilities.

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