A good backup strategy will help you recover from a security incident quickly. Below are some backup procedures for Linux and Windows servers that you may use to securely backup Virginia Tech server systems.
In all instructions below, you must have:
- A computer running one of the listed operating systems.
- Backup device, such as local hard drive, AWS S3 Bucket, Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, file server, SSH server, etc.
- Restic Backup Software
The following procedures are written for Linux distributions. However, backing up and restoring files on a Windows client is almost identical to the procedures on Linux, with the main difference being the installation.
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install restic
$ sudo dnf update
$ sudo dnf install restic
Initialize a Repository
After installation, you’ll need to prepare a repository, which is the location your backups will be saved to. Below are a few common repository locations; consult the restic documentation if you require a different location or further information.
To create a repository at the location
/srv/backup, run the following command.
$ restic init --repo /srv/backup
You will be prompted to enter a password for the repository, so create a password that is unique and secure. Restic will prompt you to re-enter the password to confirm.
$ restic init --repo /srv/backup
enter password for new repository:
enter password again:
created restic repository 4ff40f86d1 at /srv/backup
Please note that knowledge of your password is required to access
the repository. Losing your password means that your data is
Keep your password safe. If you lose your repository password, you lose access to your repository and the data in it.
To back up data via SFTP, you’ll need a server with SSH and set up SSH key authentication. This is done by copying your public key to the remote server.
username with your username on the remote server and
remote-server with the server address.
$ ssh-copy-id username@remote-server
Then, to create a repository at the location
/srv/backup on the remote server, run the following command.
$ restic init --repo sftp:username@remote-server:/srv/backup
To back up data to an Amazon S3 bucket, first create the bucket on AWS and set up the following environment variables with the credentials obtained.
$ export AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID=<MY_ACCESS_KEY>
$ export AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY=<MY_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY>
Then, to create a repository at the bucket named
backup, run the following command.
$ restic init --repo s3:s3.amazonaws.com/backup
If the bucket does not exist it will be created at the default location.
Back Up Files
To back up files, run the following command and enter the repository password when prompted.
$ restic backup <file_location> --repo <repository>
Backing up the
Documents directory in your home folder to a restic repository called
/srv/backup looks like the following.
$ restic backup ~/Documents --repo /srv/backup
The string of numbers and letters after
snapshot is the snapshot ID to use when restoring a backup.
Restore a Backup
To restore a backup, first display the list of available snapshots.
$ restic --repo <repository> snapshots
Once you’ve identified the snapshot ID to restore, run the following command, specifying the
<target-location> as where the files are restored to.
$ restic --repo <repository> restore <snapshot ID> --target <target-location>
Alternatively, restore the latest backup using the keyword
$ restic --repo <repository> restore latest --target <target-location>
To restore only a subset of files (
/etc in this example), pass the
$ restic --repo <repository> restore latest --target <target-location> --include /etc
Consult the restic documentation for more information.
Restoring the snapshot created in the previous example to the location
tmp/restore-work looks like the following.
$ restic -r /srv/restic-repo restore 09ea62f2 --target /tmp/restore-work
enter password for repository:
restoring <Snapshot of [/home/user/Documents] at 2015-05-08 21:40:19.884408621 +0200 CEST> to /tmp/restore-work
If you have questions that are not covered in this procedure, please contact the Virginia Tech IT Security Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation.