Don’t Let Data Backup Concerns Hold Your Business Back

IT Engineer Installs New HDD Hard Drive and Other Hardware into Server Rack Equipment. IT Specialist Doing Maintenance, Running Diagnostics and Updating Hardware.

Your business is not unique in the sense that it stores and transmits data during its day-to-day routines. Whether it’s financial information for your clients or employee records, it is more than likely that your business holds some kind of critical data that your operations rely on throughout the workday. Would your operations be able to recover from a sudden loss of data?

While imagining this worst-case scenario might seem intimidating and downright scary, failing to do so is even worse for your business continuity. You owe it to everyone who works so hard to keep your business going to do all you can to protect it as best as possible. To work toward this goal, we recommend a solution that all businesses should utilize: data backup and disaster recovery. Data backup is one of those things that you don’t necessarily realize its true value until you need it most, and failing to have it could put your future on the line.

Data Backup vs Disaster Recovery

Data backups are copies of your business’ data that you can restore in the event of a disaster that destroys the original. These are particularly useful when you suffer a data loss scenario or security breach. Data backup has been done with tape for years, a process that involves setting the tape, running the backup, and storing the tapes in a place off-site in the event they are needed.

Tape is on its way out, however, due to issues that are prevalent in the way that it is fundamentally designed. Modern technology has addressed these issues, such as slow implementation and deployment speed, user error, and storage space. The cloud makes everything involved with the data backup and disaster recovery process so much easier by eliminating the possibility of user error, speeding up the process, freeing up on-site storage, and fully automating the process.

Data backup is only one part of a successful disaster recovery solution. You also need to make sure that you are actually able to deploy these backups when they are needed most. Since disasters can disrupt operations so profoundly, you want to have your backups ready to go in the event of data breaches, natural disasters, or user errors. Failing to have these data backups available puts your operations in jeopardy not just from an operational standpoint, but also from a cost perspective when you factor in downtime and lost productivity.

Your disaster recovery solution should aim to minimize downtime through the use of a cloud-deployed backup to temporary hardware. It’s not meant to be a permanent solution; it just keeps you in business while you work to replace it. A common rule you might hear about is the 3-2-1 rule of data backup. You should have three copies of your data ready to go at a moment’s notice: one on-site or on-network, one located in the cloud for ease of restoration, and one in a secure off-site data center. This redundancy makes for an ideal solution and certainly one that minimizes downtime and data loss.

Implement BDR Today

A data backup and disaster recovery solution like BDR is the best way to approach your business’ continuity concerns. AE Technology Group has the knowledge and expertise to walk you through this process every step of the way, from determining your specific backup needs to the deployment of solutions. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

Data Backup Protects Everything You’ve Built

Data center with server racks, IT working server room with rows of supercomputers. 3D concept illustration of information technology, cyber network, hosting, data backup, render farm, storage cloud

When you have a thorough and powerful data backup strategy in place at your business, you are protecting your operations, your employees, and your customers from an array of terrible scenarios. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t think of data loss in the terms it should be considered in, a complete travesty. Today, we thought we would briefly describe the long and short of data backup and recovery practices that can put your business in a position to secure and restore your data should it be corrupted, destroyed, or stolen.

The Role of Data Backup

The first thing you should know about a backup solution is that it has to take into account the data and systems it is backing up. If your staff is actively adding data to backed up databases, you will want to enlist the use of incremental backup solutions that can be updated as they work, rather than backing up the whole system once per day. The benefit of this is obvious. With solid data redundancy, you won’t have to worry about extremely expensive operational redundancy.

Most modern businesses have a lot of data that they should protect. To effectively do that, we recommend that businesses use the 3-2-1 rule. This states that any organization that wants to ensure data redundancy keep three separate copies of their data, with two being kept onsite for fast recovery and one being kept off site, preferably in a cloud-hosted data center. This ensures that any data is protected and ready to restore regardless of the circumstances surrounding your data loss. Your data is effectively protected against malware attacks, true disasters like fire or flood, or corruption or loss from human error, which unfortunately happens more than anyone would like. By having multiple copies of data, especially copies that are set to automatically backup incrementally, you are ensured that if you need to recover data, that you have as much of your data as possible.

How It Affects Disaster Recovery

Your disaster recovery strategy is likely more than just restoring data from backup, but make no mistake about it, it is an integral part of the process. When your business is hit with a data loss situation, the speed in which you are able to recover from that event is one of the most important metrics, as sustained downtime can hurt any business. So, with getting data restored quickly being a top priority, the 3-2-1 rule becomes important. By having a backup on hand to restore from, your recovery time will be reduced as compared to restoring from the cloud. However, if your business is dealing with a disaster scenario, and you lose the ability to restore from onsite backup, your cloud backup can be used as a server until you can get onsite hardware up and running again.

At AE Technology Group, we offer a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) service that works for any business. Not only do we adhere to the 3-2-1 rule, we have a team of trained IT technicians at the ready to help get your business’ data back, and get your operations running quickly. If you would like more information about the BDR service and how it is a complete solution for your business’ needs, contact us today at (516) 536-5006.

Strengthening Business Continuity Is Urgent For Financial Services

strengthening business continuity is urgent for financial services

While most businesses handle at least some customer personally identifiable information on a daily basis, there is little more important than a client’s financial information which consists of what is likely a significant portion of their life savings. Firms that manage investment and savings accounts spend years cultivating relationships with their clients, with complete trust as one of the foundational pillars of these relationships. That’s why strengthening business continuity is so important for financial services organizations.

With data hacks on the rise, financial services organizations must do everything they can to ensure their client’s investments are safe and secure. This also means ensuring they are able to deliver continuous service such as deposits and withdrawals, and even simple account review 24/7/365. Financial services firms must also protect against identity theft and/or impersonation, which can even be more devastating to clients as these types of crimes affect not only their investments, but almost every other aspect of their daily life.

Business Continuity Defined  

In order to understand business continuity, it’s important to define it as it relates to data and information systems. In order for a firm to have continuity of services, they must have a complete solution, not just a plan for backup, but also recovery in the event of a disaster. This means client data is protected both on-premise and in the cloud in order to keep data safe and secure, even in the event of a device failure.

Do Your Backups Measure Up?

Companies still working under the impression that a daily back-up of all corporate data is sufficient, are at high risk for significant problems. This traditional way of viewing backups overlooks many gaps including instances such as when those in charge forget to perform a backup or the process fails in some way. Other potentially disastrous scenarios include losing an entire day’s worth of work after a failure and/or lack of backup validation, which is then discovered to be useless when needed for a restoration.

Other issues can occur from only keeping backups on-site, which means if a disaster such as a tornado, flood, or fire should occur, the backups become useless. Incomplete backups that only include raw data, rather than including other crucial data such as server configuration and application files means it could take several days to get fully back online in the event of a system failure. 

Finding the Optimal Solution

At this point, smaller financial services organizations may recognize they simply do not have the IT resources to implement the right protective strategies to safeguard their clients from irreparable financial harm. Fortunately, there is still a way to fully protect clients and their investments in the event of a disaster, whether natural or manmade. 

For smaller financial organizations, the ideal solution is to outsource their IT needs to a company that also has experience in the financial industry. By partnering with such a firm, smaller companies can be confident they are doing everything they can to protect not only all the valuable assets and information pertaining to their clients, but every online function related to operating their firm. 

An IT firm specializing in the financial industry can handle all compliance and regulatory issues that go along with protecting client data, as well as offering their expertise in the areas of timely hardware and software updates and maintenance, and ensuring the integrity of backups and their restoration process in the event that action becomes necessary. A specialized IT firm can also establish and provide continuous review and maintenance of system security practices within the financial firm. With a firm that specializes both in the IT and financial industries, financial services firms can have the best of both worlds and know they are doing everything they can to maintain the assets and the trust of their clients for decades to come.    

If you are a financial services firm and are ready to update your data backup strategy to industry standards, please contact us.

Astute CEOs Understand the Significance of Disaster Recovery

astute ceos understand the significance of disaster recovery

The pandemic has forced many companies to make significant changes in the way they conduct their business — especially the way in which their employees use corporate technology systems. While many companies adroitly managed a multitude of drastic changes within a short span of time, others organizations may have unknowingly left some gaps that could leave them vulnerable to significant issues — especially if they should experience a catastrophic event. This article will review four key areas that highlight the significance of disaster recovery should one occur in the middle of the pandemic.

Offsite Data Backup 

Even if a company had a solid plan in place regarding their offsite data backup before the pandemic, it’s still a good idea to determine if that plan will still be just as effective under current working conditions. Staff members responsible for data restoration after a disaster should verify that their plan to obtain and restore offsite data is still a smooth, functioning operation.

The Threat of Network Downtime

Since the pandemic, many companies shifted the bulk of their workforce to remote locations, and this has not gone unnoticed by data hackers and thieves. This shift noticeably increased the risk that criminals may gain access to critical apps and data on networks. While in the best of circumstances, it’s difficult to maintain continuity if a single app and its data has been compromised, in the worst case scenario, if hackers manage to bring down an entire network, or if a network is down from some type of natural disaster, companies can take a significant hit in lost revenue for every hour of downtime

Fortunately, there are BCDR products now available that will allow organizations to continue to run operations by way of backup instances of virtual servers — and in some instances they can extend this service to the cloud.

Increased Risk of Disaster  

While many companies and their employees are grateful they are still in business due to the fact they can operate remotely, having a dispersed workforce located in many different physical settings, does open up the increased possibility of a security attack. Hackers have long since taken note of the huge influx of remote workers and have increasingly focused their efforts on looking for any vulnerabilities that will allow them to gain access to systems that were formerly heavily secured.

Companies must make sure they have thoroughly trained their employees on the do’s and don’t of good computing practices, including using strong passwords, not sharing computer equipment with family members, keeping any paper trails of confidential information under physical lock and key within the home, and not using their own smart phones or personal email to conduct work-related tasks. 

Other potential disasters which can disrupt business continuity include the use of unsecured Wi-Fi either within the home, or out in public. In addition, some employees may feel somewhat disconnected from their employment in general, and may dismiss a suspicious email or the look of a questionable website, when under normal circumstances they would have called the tech team working down the hall to come and investigate. Companies must train their employees to remain vigilant against attacks even though their physical surroundings and access to others within the company may be very different.  

Do you Have a Plan? 

Not only is it critical to have a plan for disaster recovery efforts during the pandemic, it’s also critical to know how effectively it works. In the rush to ensure that a company’s workforce was up and running as quickly as possible, the effect of all the changes this required upon an organization’s disaster recovery plan, may have been overlooked. 

Unfortunately, the threat of a natural disaster such as a hurricane, flood, or fire do not necessarily subside just because the world is experiencing a pandemic. Just as companies were required to make significant changes in the way they operate, they must also secure their ability to maintain business continuity even in the event of a natural disaster.

If you want to know how to determine if you’re ready for a disaster even during a pandemic, please contact us.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Benjamin Franklin was certainly correct when he coined the phrase, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This time-honored quote is just as true in today’s world of information technology, as it was true hundreds of years ago in completely different sets of circumstances.

When it comes to technology — specifically, data loss prevention, an ounce of preparedness can go a long way in either avoiding a data disaster altogether, or at least mitigating its impact if a business should ever encounter a man-made disaster.

What is Data Loss Prevention?

Data loss prevention is both a set of software technologies and an overall business strategy. Combined together, and both sharing the same goal of ensuring users are prohibited from sending vital or sensitive data to entities outside the sphere of their corporate network, companies can be assured they are doing everything they can to protect one of their most vital corporate resources — their data. 

Why is it Needed?

While some of the more obvious pieces of data that an employee would not share with others, such as employee social security numbers, birthdates, and proprietary information about a company’s key business processes, some information is not so black and white. A company may want to list an employee’s name and contact information somewhere on their website so they will be accessible to potential clients.

However, by making this information public, it also creates the potential for hackers to pose as the employee and then attempt to contact another employee within the company, perhaps asking for confidential information. Unfortunately, the unsuspecting employee doesn’t realize they’ve just been a victim of a phishing attack until it’s too late.

Making it Happen 

As today’s hackers become more sophisticated, the creation of a data loss prevention strategy means it’s critical for businesses to review every piece of data that employees deal with and determine the level of protection needed. Once a business reviews all the information that flows through their company, it’s time to turn to software technologies to make sure their data is continually protected.

Fortunately, there are fully automated software technologies available that can examine all of a company’s data, along with the organization’s policies for handling each data type. The software application then decides the level of protection required based upon the company’s outlined policies. If an employee attempts to pass along information to someone who is not cleared to receive the data, a warning message from the security software will pop up, alerting the employee to their incorrect action and the software will prevent the information from proceeding any further.

How to Find Help 

While it certainly sounds like a good idea to evaluate all corporate data, devise a strategy, and then find software that will fit within a company’s strategic plan, in reality, it’s a daunting task for most companies. Corporate leaders are simply not so immersed in the world of technology to stay focused on all the new and more complicated ways in which hackers attempt to steal data.

It just isn’t realistic to think a business whose focus is on running their organization in an entirely different industry, has the technological expertise to sift through all their data to determine the level of protection required for each piece of information. And it takes some expertise to marry the right security technologies to an individual company to ensure they have just the right amount of data protection they need.

Summary

If you would like to know more about creating a data loss prevention strategy, we can help. We can assist in evaluating your organization’s data, as well as select the right software applications that will provide the level of protection you need.

Please contact us today for more information.