On September 13th Datapac and Datto hosted a seminar at Wexford’s National Opera House providing guidance to Irish SMBs on how to defend their business data. Speakers from both companies offered expert advice on ways organisations can protect, manage and recover critical data in line with industry best practice. In this blog, we examine five key takeaways from the event.
Building a plan
The first step to being able to protect your data is knowing what you are protecting it from. While the growing threat of cybercrime is grabbing the headlines, it isn’t the only cause of data loss. Organisations lose data in a variety of ways and creating a comprehensive disaster recovery plan requires a more holistic view. There are four main risk areas to consider 1) natural disaster 2) human error 3) hardware failure 4) cybercrime. A true business continuity solution needs to account for all risks.
The decisions that drive your backup strategy are going to be business decisions, not technical ones. That’s the key here. Ask yourself how much data you can afford to lose and then weigh up the costs of downtime for your business. Determine how often you need your data backed up and decide on clear recovery time objectives. Find a solution that will deliver on those requirements and don’t compromise.
Start with security
Backups work as an insurance policy for your data. They are there so that if something does go wrong, you have a road to recovery. Backups are meant to be used as a last resort though. Security acts as your first line of protection. Traditional security solutions such as Anti-Virus, Firewall, Encryption and Mobile Security are designed to defend you against the known threats. They will keep 95% of attacks at bay. That other 5% is the unknown, or Zero Day attacks, new viruses there is no known record of and which may slip through defences undetected. For these, it’s time to start thinking about next generation security. Products like Sophos Sandstorm, Intercept X and Heartbeat can analyse the behaviour of these new threats, interpret their intentions and block them before they can compromise your systems.
When it comes to ensuring your data is recoverable, there’s one simple rule which proves timeless. The 3-2-1 rule. That means keeping three copies of your data, in two different media formats, with one of them being stored securely offsite. In addition to your live data, you should always keep at least two working backups. If one of those is stored offsite, whether in a secure data centre or the cloud, it means that no matter the incident, all will not be lost. You will still have a backup available from which to recover operational access to your files and resume business with minimum downtime.
Tried and tested
While having a disaster recovery plan is critical; a plan that hasn’t been tested isn’t really a plan. Datapac’s latest research found that more than a quarter of Irish SMBs still never test their business continuity capabilities. Don’t leave it until it’s too late to learn of an issue with your backup. The only way to be sure that data is recoverable in a disaster scenario it to test it out. Create a DR plan, document the recovery process and regularly test and update that plan as required.
We recommend performing a full DR test at minimum once per year, along with some smaller scale tests on a more frequent basis. Going through that process will give you complete confidence in your ability to recover mission critical data.
Just as careful thought goes into the planning and implementation of your security and business continuity, equal attention should be given to their ongoing management. Work with a managed services provider that will ensure there are processes in place to keep patches up-to-date, manage user permissions and monitor your ICT environment so that no cracks can form in your defences.
Educate your team on how to recognize security risks. There are workshops and anti-phishing training options available that will test out your ability to spot malicious links and teach employees what files they should and should not open. A proactive approach can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your business.
By partnering with Datapac and Datto, your organisation can benefit from the local knowledge and skills of Ireland’s leading ICT provider combined with world-class back-up and business continuity technologies from a global leader in the area. Contact a member of our team!
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