What would it mean to your business if you came into work one Monday morning and couldn’t access your computer systems or data – potentially for weeks on end? Operations would grind to a halt.
When it comes to cybersecurity, a disaster can take shape in many forms. Typically, cyberattacks result in data that has been encrypted and/or stolen. We’ve already seen the impact of these attacks on a large scale in recent years: businesses at a standstill, resulting in far-reaching consequences for both the business and the world as a whole. For these reasons and more, it is critical to have an active data recovery plan in place in order to mitigate these risks.
Data recovery is defined as the measures that are put in place to recover from occurrences resulting in interruptions to data access, software, or systems. The objective of a data recovery plan is to restore normal operations to a business.
In extreme instances, a business must develop a more comprehensive disaster recovery plan that includes additional steps and considerations. We’ll talk more about those necessary additions in next month’s article.
A good backup plan must include a cloud-based solution. If a remote backup of data is available, after reformatting the data and sanitizing the corrupted hard drives, the data could be restored from the backup source. Currently, many companies have cloud-based backup plans in place. These processes can be performed automatically and can be monitored on a daily basis to alert you if immediate action is needed.
Data loss can occur for a number of reasons that are common. Events can include disruptions due to power outages or incidents resulting in server connection issues. These include human error (the unintentional deletion of files or the deliberate attempt to sabotage company property made by current or former employees) and file corruption (typically, due to software virus infection). Other issues include hardware drive failure as the result of natural disasters (such as fire, flood or lightning).
Here are some steps that can be taken to establish a strong recovery plan for your business:
Identify Where All Data is that Needs to be Backed Up
In order to effect a robust data recovery plan, your business must proactively work to identify all of the IT resources the company has and understand what data is stored on each. Create an exhaustive list of all IT assets the company has as well as a list of the data that is stored on each. You can streamline this process by determining which data is important versus the data that doesn’t need protection for potential recovery.
Next, the company should determine how frequently the data needs to be backed up. This will help minimize the amount of data that is lost during the data recovery process. Any data that is deemed as critical should be backed up more frequently. Versioning is also an important consideration when developing a comprehensive backup plan, as your business may need to recover data from a specific point in time as opposed to the most recent backup.
There are a few noteworthy methods and best practices for the actual data backup process. These can include:
1. Onsite remote data backup for quick recovery of data.
2. Offsite remote data backup for interruptions to normal business operations due to a disaster.
3. Onsite and offsite data backup can be helpful in equipping companies to be prepared for events that threaten to adversely impact data assets and ultimately, the business.
4. Determining data retention requirements to establish a baseline of how long data that has been backed up should be retained.
5. Since data may be vulnerable while it is being transferred to a server, it should be encrypted so that it cannot be intercepted during transmission.
6. Virtualize servers for a faster response time to regain business operations.
7. Data backups are the best option to not only keep data secure, it can also prevent a major loss of data that cannot be restored.
8. Backed up data should be monitored so that alerts can be compiled into a meaningful report.
9. Be sure to regularly test your backup systems to ensure it works properly at all times.
Understand How Long Your Business Could Survive During the Recovery Process
To ensure that your business can continue to function despite system outages, companies should have a business continuity plan in place. Ideally, companies will not only have an active data recovery plan but also a more comprehensive business disaster plan at the ready. Join us next month as we discuss the additional steps required to help a business remain resilient while mitigating the adverse effects of cyberattacks and other disasters alike.