The best strategy you can have in your defense is arguably data backup. In this article, we will explore the role and importance of backup strategies in cybersecurity.
Businesses view data backup as a reserve player, called upon only when necessary. In other words, they consider data backup as an optional add-on. But that’s not the right way to go about data backups.
In fact, data backup is as critical as something like 2FA or IAM. That’s because of the following reasons:
In the digital landscape, the risk of data loss due to various factors, including cyberattacks, human error, and hardware failures, is ever-present. When hackers attack a system, they either try to steal or destroy the data. Then, you’re left with no choice but to start from scratch.
Data backup serves as a fail-safe mechanism, allowing for the restoration of lost or corrupted data. You’re no longer reliant on a single file or database. Even if one is compromised, there’s always another copy available.
Ransomware is a specific type of attack where cybercriminals encrypt data and demand payment for its release. And despite global efforts by law enforcement agencies to crack down on ransomware, there’s been a surge in such attacks again.
Having recent and reliable backups ensures that organizations can recover their data without succumbing to extortion. It’s like defeating hackers at their home stadium (a dream all soccer fans share).
As businesses become more reliant on digital technologies, few can afford outages. For large businesses, it can cost upwards of $1 million per hour. For small to mid-size companies, it may range anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars per hour.
Data backup is fundamental to maintaining business continuity. In a cyber incident or unforeseen disaster, a well-implemented backup strategy ensures that critical business operations can resume promptly, minimizing downtime and financial losses.
Many industries have stringent data retention and protection regulations. Data backup not only aids in complying with these standards but also serves as evidence in case of audits or legal disputes.
The British National Cyber Security Centre recommends businesses to back up sensitive data in a secure cloud. HIPAA has similar recommendations in place under best practices. With data backups, you ensure compliance with local and international regulators.
Internal threats, intentional or unintentional, pose a significant risk to data security. These are responsible for around 60% of data breaches. Think of these internal threats as scandalous players who get paid to fix a match.
Regular data backups provide a safeguard against malicious or accidental actions by employees, ensuring data recovery in case of insider incidents. After locating and purging the insider threats, you can easily recover from them and reduce their impact.
Now that you understand the importance of data backup, let’s get to work and prepare a step-by-step implementation strategy.
Not all data is created equal. Some are more valuable than others, and you need to put in more effort to safeguard data deemed more critical to the organization. So begin by identifying and prioritizing critical data that is essential for business operations. This may include customer information, financial records, intellectual property, and other sensitive data.
Next comes a storage solution for storing the backup files. So, select a suitable backup solution based on the size of your organization, data volume, and recovery time objectives (RTOs). Options include cloud-based backups, on-premises solutions, or a hybrid approach. A small business often prefers a cloud-based backup service to ensure data accessibility and scalability without the need for significant on-site infrastructure.
In dynamic business environments, data is constantly changing. Frequent backups ensure that the organization captures these changes promptly. So, establish a backup schedule that aligns with your organization’s needs. It could be hourly, daily, weekly, or fortnightly. Critical data may require more frequent backups, while less sensitive information can be backed up regularly.
Redundancy is key to data resilience. It enhances data resilience and provides additional protection in case of hardware failures or environmental disasters. Thus, ensure redundancy in backup locations to mitigate the risk of a single point of failure. A multinational corporation may maintain redundant backups in geographically diverse data centers, safeguarding against regional disasters or cyberattacks. For small businesses, it could mean data storage at multiple distinct databases.
Last but not least, leverage automation tools to streamline and schedule backup processes. Automated backups reduce the risk of human error and ensure consistency in data protection practices.
In conclusion, data backup is a cornerstone of effective cybersecurity that safeguards your organization against a myriad of cyber threats.
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