Data Backups Are The Key To Protecting Against Threats Of All Kinds
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and with the increase in cyber attacks, this is a topic worthy of attention. At ArcherPoint, we have recently expanded our IT Managed Services cybersecurity offerings and have published several articles around protecting against cyber attacks. In this article, we discuss data backups.
Threats to your company, data, and employees come in many forms other than phishing and ransomware, including natural disasters, fires, power outages, theft, terrorism, and, of course, global pandemics. It is more important than ever for organizations of any size and in any industry to take measures to protect themselves on all fronts.
With threats coming from so many different directions, what do you do and where do you start? There are some measures that are specific to certain industries, business types, or scenarios. For example, from the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers learned to be prepared by finding ways to manage production floors remotely.
There is, however, a common thread to protecting your business: backups. Regardless of the form of the threat, if you don’t have a backup of your business-critical data, recovery is going to be difficult, if not impossible.
Hardware and Server Backups Are Not Enough
Addressing disaster recovery or other threats is straightforward in an on-premises environment. If a server fails, there are backup servers, disk arrays with multiple disks, and backup hardware on site. Large organizations might have server farms with redundancy built in. Likewise, companies using Azure or other cloud platforms typically have a backup process for their servers.
However, no amount of preparation will help if your physical building or data center are destroyed, your equipment is stolen, or your backup data is corrupted by ransomware. If your backups are compromised by any means, your chances of recovery are not good.
Get Your Data Backups Out of the Line of Site
Whether it’s a server, data, or a data center, your backups must be protected by being secured and out of the line of site of any potential threat, whether virtually through a hacker, a phishing attack, a ransomware attack, theft, or a natural disaster. A good example of why it’s important to keep things out of the line of site is understanding how ransomware works. When hackers get into your network, they install ransomware, which can sit there for a very long time before it is activated. So even before you are actually “attacked,” you have been making backups that now include that ransomware. Companies that are held for ransom will pay to get access to their data, restore everything not realizing they are also restoring the ransomware, and then get held for ransom again.
Move It to the Cloud
At ArcherPoint, we implement ERP systems, and as part of those services, we help our clients ensure their ERP data is securely backed up. One way to take the guesswork out of this is to have everything in the cloud. If our clients are on the SaaS version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, they’re safe. Microsoft provides plenty of built-in protection, like geo-redundant recovery. Even if clients are on an on-premises solution like Dynamics NAV, we can set help them with a similar setup.
There are some options regarding how to go about a move to Azure, which depend on your tolerance for risk among other things. In a previous article, Azure Provides Security to Prevent Ransomware Attacks, we discuss the cloud as a cost-effective, efficient, and reliable alternative to sending media off-site for long-term retention, providing all the services of a secondary data center, but at a fraction of the cost. Microsoft manages the backups, servers, and data—with redundancy across the board.
Azure Site Recovery enables you to deploy replication, failover, and recovery processes to help keep applications running during planned and unplanned outages.
Azure Backup services simplify data recovery, allowing you to back up virtual machines, SQL workloads, and more with a single click, quickly restore data without compromising application consistency, and set up servers and desktops to be automatically backed up on a regular basis.
Azure Security Center offers continuous security health monitoring. With a centralized view of your Azure resources, you can prevent, detect, and respond to threats with increased visibility and control.
Don’t Forget the Basics
While having a good backup strategy is important, protecting your data starts with some basics.
Responsible password management. This is an area that should not be underestimated, as compromised passwords cause more than 80 percent of all data breaches. Password security is all about responsible management. In The Easiest Way to Protect Against Cyber Crime: 5 Ways to Strengthen and Protect Your Passwords, we cover several ways to ensure your passwords are doing their job, like how to structure, store, and protect them, as well as using multi-factor security and more. It is also important to educate users on how to create and protect their passwords.
One more reason to educate your employees is the fact that hackers set up ransomware attacks slowly, by first breaking into a single workstation. Once they have broken through, they have access to your networks and anything in the line of site. It is critical to educate your users about protecting your company by not opening suspicious emails, protecting passwords, and understanding the importance of your security policies.
Endpoint security management. As discussed in Endpoint Security Management: How It Benefits Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Users, this process helps with supervising and authenticating access rights of endpoint devices to your network. Microsoft offers a tool, called Endpoint Manager, that provides this capability.
Existing business systems and processes. Many businesses overlook their existing systems as components of a solid protection plan. For example, by automating accounting processes, you can reduce errors and transition those processes to other locations should the need arise. By setting up ACH payments, you eliminate paper checks, trips to the bank, and other risky processes.
Seek Expert Help
Securing your data is not to be taken lightly, and many organizations outsource or augment their team with specialists in IT service providers specializing in cybersecurity management. Our services around implementing and supporting ERP systems include advising and assisting our clients with protecting those systems. Reach out to the providers of all your systems for help in ensuring data from those systems is protected and to ensure that you are in compliance with any applicable industry requirements like ISO or SOC. They should provide you with an assessment to determine areas that need to be addressed, work with you on prioritizing based on where you are most at risk, and make recommendations on how to address them, including a dependable backup policy. The goal should be to have access to your data quickly, regardless of what happens.
Watch our webinar Demystifying Cybersecurity with ArcherPoint, where we pack a lot into 30 minutes, including endpoint management, password health, backups, end user education, and more.