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.

Will the U.S. Consider Data Privacy Regulation in the Future?

will the us consider data privacy regulation in the future
Consider Data Privacy

It certainly is understandable that consumers are very concerned about data privacy, whether they provide personal information online, or whether they use other mechanisms to provide personal information to companies and organizations with which they interact. One need only to read a few horror stories about the difficulties that arise out of identity theft or a data breach scenario, to understand why consumers want protection.

Privacy Challenges

Most companies want to protect the private information their customers provide to them because they understand it’s simply a part of maintaining a good reputation with the public. If a company neglects protecting customer privacy, they won’t remain in business for long. The problem that seems to be occurring more and more, is that all the protections businesses routinely use, don’t seem to fully resolve privacy issues.

Government to the Rescue?

In May of 2018, the European Union enacted the General Data Protection Regulation which states that all companies who collect data on Union residents are responsible for protecting such data. Of course, large companies will likely have an easier time following such a regulation due to their extensive resources. For small businesses however, these types of regulations and their associated price tags, may very well represent a real challenge to their ability to remain profitable. 

In the U.S. there has been some effort to enact laws to ensure data privacy, although none so comprehensive as the European Union’s, GDPR legislation.

Small Business Challenges 

If more comprehensive legislation is passed here in the U.S., some of the challenges small to medium-sized businesses may face include: impeded growth or the inability to even start a business due to excessive regulation, the absorption of higher technology costs passed down from large companies, multiple ramifications stemming from a potential mandatory business overhaul, along with the simple inability to incorporate additional privacy costs into an already lean budget.

If you would like to know more about the potential for data privacy regulations here in the U.S., please contact us.

5 Reasons Your Organization Needs a Data Replication Solution

5 reasons your organization needs a data replication solution
Your Organization

In the past, companies had only data backups to rely upon in the case of a natural disaster, a data breach, or a system failure. Whether they wanted to or not, they had no other choice but to wait hours — days in some cases, for their system to be up and running again. They likely lost at least some of the data entered in after their last full backup, with no other choice but to manually re-enter the data back into their system.

Today, even smaller companies have another option available to them — a data replication solution, which is turning out to be a game changer for many businesses after a data loss. In this article, we will outline 5 reasons why a business should carefully consider whether a data replication solution is right for them. 

1. Downtime – A Thing of the Past

If your organization would become seriously crippled by a downtime period of several days, or perhaps even just one day, taking advantage of a data replication solution may be the right thing for your organization. If having your system available is absolutely necessary to your bottom line, then you simply cannot afford even short periods of downtime.

2. Recover Almost Instantaneously  

With a data replication solution, a real-time image of current (and past) data can be recovered almost instantaneously. When configured correctly, data replication can occur within seconds, with hardly any noticeable downtime for users.

3. Streamlined Backups

A data replication solution means an instant backup is continually performed, and available at a moment’s notice. In the event of a disaster, knowing you have a readily available, complete backup without all the restoration hassles typically associated with more traditional backups, is very reassuring.

4. Reduce Costs 

Consider the costs incurred if your business goes down for a few days, or in some cases, even one day or a few hours. With data replication solutions becoming very affordable for even small businesses, it is becoming more and more cost effective for companies to incorporate data replication into their IT plan.

5. Greater Accuracy

Anyone who has ever had to reconstruct and re-enter data after a system failure is likely to tell you that the process is painstaking, time-consuming, and difficult. With a replication solution, there is no data to reconstruct or re-enter. A complete and accurate data set is ready for immediate access.

If you would like to know more about what data replication can do for your organization, please contact us.

How Can You Protect Your Business Data During Logins?

how can you protect your business data during logins

The more inconvenient you can make it for would-be criminals to get your business and customer data, the less likely they are to try. Unless they are specifically targeting your business, there is almost always lower hanging fruit. Here’s how to tighten security with just a few simple changes:

Have two-step password recovery or logins.

If you’ve ever forgotten your password to an account through Google or ADP, you’ve been given an extra passcode for extra authorization. More and more companies are turning to adding a second, manual step to prevent mass password reset requests and to prevent typical bots from being able to complete the process. So add this extra step for when your customers need new passwords and when your employees log in.

Never give out forgotten passwords.

Several years ago, you would be sent your password if you forgot it. But companies and online services gradually started switching to password resets instead. This isn’t necessarily because it’s any easier on the hacker’s end to recover the password instead of resetting it. But the fundamental architecture of old password recovery systems was a spreadsheet. You’d enter your username as part of your password recovery request, the system would find that string of characters in the ‘username’ column, and then you’d receive an email with whatever was in the ‘password’ column. If hackers know how your information is organized, it’s that much easier to steal.

Use a physical key for administrative access.

A physical token is also an icon of early Internet security. Instead of two-step verification apps like Duo, people used to get remote network access through their computer login and by plugging in a token that provided a long string of randomized characters: one of the most secure passwords.

For truly crucial information and access portals, like your server administrator’s or CTO’s computer, use a token. They’ve become more and more secure, and the element of physical security makes it that much harder to break into.

For more security tools, go to AE Technology Group.