One of a business’s most valuable assets is its data. With so much riding on this digital information, what might happen if this data was suddenly lost, or worse still, fell into the wrong hands?
Due to the unprecedented situation with COVID-19, many employees across the world have started working from home. But with so many businesses operating remotely, there has been a sharp rise in the number of cyber attacks; during the first month of COVID-19 lockdown measures alone, cybercrime rose by 37%. Opportunistic cyber criminals are taking advantage of weaker home network protection, leaving businesses’ valuable digital assets and data at risk.
In addition to this, many companies have had to loan equipment to employees to allow them to continue to work from home. This adds additional risk to data, as hardware can be damaged while being moved. And, without in-house IT services on hand, there is more scope for user error than usual.
All of these factors present risk to your data if it’s not backed up and secured. Data backups have always been essential, but now, more than ever, businesses need to invest in backups and disaster recovery.
What Are the Risks to My Data?
Understanding the implications that data loss could have on your business is essential. If you are aware of the risks, you will be more inclined to put the correct measures in place to combat them.
When assessing risks, you should consider the flaws in your IT infrastructure as well as your policies and procedures.
Risks could stem from:
- User error: One of the most common methods hackers use to gain access to your system is using a phishing email or message. Should an employee click on an infected link, download an attachment containing malware, or enter login credentials into a copycat site, hackers could gain access to your system. Although software protection can shield your system from many cyber threats, user error is always a risk factor.
- Old software: If your software is so old that it is no longer supported by vendors, then it is an easy target for hackers. Invest in up-to-date software, and keep it updated.
- Insufficient security software: One area that your business should not cut corners on in terms of spending is on security software. You pay for what you get, and if you’re relying solely on free antivirus software, you cannot expect a high level of protection. This is especially important to remember as cyber attacks have been on the rise due to COVID-19 panic, and many businesses transitioning to remote workforces may be slacking on upgrading security for home workers.
- Theft of devices: If your digital equipment falls into the wrong hands, it could cost you. And digital threats aren’t the only threat to your data; old-fashioned computer theft still poses a risk to the data stored on your devices. To protect devices that end up in the wrong hands, you should ensure that all equipment has suitable multifactor login and encryption. That way, if anyone does steal it, they won’t get access.
- Hardware failure: If your hardware goes down for whatever reason, you could lose all of the data stored on it. Widespread failure could be the result of a cyber attack, a natural disaster like a fire or hurricane, or a host of other causes.
In each of these instances, utilizing the right security, backup, and disaster recovery tools are essential to securing your business’s data. Backing up your data to an off-site server will mean that in the event of technical or physical problems, your business won’t lose valuable information and time. A Managed Service Provider can help you set up secure backup systems.
What Impact Can Data Loss Have On Your Business?
Data breaches cost companies in many ways. The average data breach costs small companies $200,000. This is enough to put many smaller companies out of business.
There are several factors that can contribute to the cost of data loss:
- Downtime: A data breach or loss can bring operations to a standstill. Often, this is because the data needed to continue operating is simply no longer there, or everything is put on hold while the damage is assessed.
- Sensitive data loss: If sensitive data such as private customer information is stolen, you may be fined for not securing this data effectively.
- Loss of customers: In the event of a data breach, customers may worry about their data and lose faith in your business. It can be very difficult to recover from reputational losses after a breach.
- Recovery costs: Unless you have a disaster recovery plan already in place, data recovery will cost you. But many companies are forced to pay dearly to recover information that is essential to their businesses.
How Will A Backup And Disaster Recovery Plan Help?
While having the right security, backup, and disaster recovery procedures in place may not stop an attack, they will put you in a much better position and vastly reduce the costs of the attack.
By backing up your data to a secure off-site service, you’ll be putting it out of harm’s reach. This means that even should you lose your data, there is another copy readily available. And having the right disaster recovery plan will mean that you’ll be able to react to any situation confidently, allowing you to get ahead of the problem before it ruins your business.