Data is the lifeblood of every business. But protecting data can be a huge challenge for organizations because of varying legal and regulatory compliance standards—and the way data lives under constant threat from cybercriminals, error-prone employees and more.
The pandemic and the shift to a remote workforce means information lives in more places than ever before. Amid the rush during the early weeks of the pandemic, some businesses may have deprioritized or disregarded their data protection strategies—putting their data at risk.
Employees are the first line of defense. Without proper training and outside of the safeguards of physical office locations, employees may accidentally delete, share or expose data, leaving companies that lack sufficient backup plans scrambling. In fact, human error causes 88% of data breaches. With the rise of cyberattacks, organizations also have to worry about bad actors targeting employees and threatening the health of their business operations.
Training to Protect Data
This is compounded by sophisticated cyberattacks which threaten not only data but a business’ reputation and the overall health of operations. In 2020 alone, the global total cost of a data breach averaged $4.2 million, according to IBM.
Organizations must incorporate employee training into their data protection strategies. Consistent education on how to identify phishing emails can help keep a company’s data safe. As an added layer of defense, a dark web monitoring tool can identify employee credentials that have been compromised, allowing an organization to take quick action before an account takeover attack occurs.
Getting a Handle on Regulations
Next, companies must do their research to familiarize themselves with the regulations that apply to their business—such as GDPR and HIPAA—as well as internal business requirements. Once they’ve gotten a handle on the regulations that govern the organization’s data, the focus should be on what should be retained, how long it should be stored, whether it should eventually be archived or deleted and who has the authority to dispose of it. And yes, deleting old data is essential to any protection plan; some laws, such as GDPR, even require it.
Companies should get into the habit of routinely auditing their data retention policy to ensure compliance and to remove outdated files as necessary. Good digital hygiene creates space for new data and saves time and money, thanks to lower storage costs and increased speed.
Invest in a Unified BCDR Solution
Finally, to safeguard data and eliminate downtime if there is an attack, companies should invest in a BCDR solution that is complete, automated and secure by design. A unified BCDR solution can:
Neutralize ransomware. Cybercriminals know backups can erase a ransomware attack, so they look for ways to disable, encrypt or simply delete them. A BCDR solution built on hardened Linux—not Windows—is less vulnerable. Additionally, offsite data stored in an immutable format—which makes cybercriminals unable to make any changes to backups—is critical to ensuring safe and recovery-ready data.
Ensure service-level agreements can be met in case of a disaster. With a robust BCDR solution that has disaster recovery (DR) testing capabilities, companies can schedule the time and specify the systems they want to be tested and the solution will do the rest. If tests show that SLAs cannot be met, adjustments can be made and the tests can be easily run again to check the efficacy of the changes. Testing offers protection from a compliance standpoint and eliminates the risk of unplanned downtime.
Achieve compliance. For additional support, organizations should use a BCDR solution that includes compliance management capabilities and reporting. With compliance management, companies can continuously monitor the network to determine if all requirements are being satisfied.
Data loss is one of an organization’s biggest concerns, but with the right plans and policies in place, businesses can rest assured that their data is secure and they are ready for recovery in any situation.