Cloud providers have made life easier for businesses, but they’re not immune to cyberattacks. In fact, many cloud services are targeted by cybercriminals. In 2022, 1,900 security breaches were reported to the North Carolina Department of Justice, with more than half coming from the general business sector. Many of these were attacks on cloud providers. This makes it all the more necessary for reliable IT support in Charlotte and the surrounding areas.
Cyberattacks can range from viruses and worms to phishing attacks and ransomware, but the damage of each is often permanent. Businesses that aren’t prepared for a data disaster often suffer great loss—60% even go out of business within six months of being attacked.
If you use cloud services, a disaster recovery strategy will help you reduce downtime, preserve your irreplaceable data, avoid hefty regulatory fines, and resume business as usual. Here’s what you need to know about planning an effective cloud based disaster recovery strategy.
Risk mitigation is a series of techniques that reduce risk to a manageable level.
You can incorporate the four basic risk mitigation strategies into your cloud based disaster recovery strategy: avoidance, reduction, transference, and acceptance. If you aren’t familiar with these, they’re defined as follows:
Risk avoidance works by implementing measures to avoid the risk altogether. With respect to cloud infrastructure, this might include moving to a more secure provider, implementing third-party security, and performing disaster recovery management through penetration testing.
Risk reduction aims to reduce the likelihood of a risk impacting your business and mitigate the damage should a risk become an issue. For example, keeping daily offline backups and limiting employee access to company resources based on need reduces risk.
Risk transference is when you pass the consequence of a risk to another party. For example, a cybersecurity insurance policy can cover the risk of financial loss in a lawsuit.
Risk acceptance is what it sounds like—accepting the risk. This might look like allowing employees to access all company files on your network because it’s not feasible to organize your digital assets to restrict access to certain users. The risk is there, but the benefit is that everyone can get what they need without having to ask a higher-up to retrieve a file.
If your company is interested in creating a disaster recovery plan, be sure to check out this article on how hybrid cloud solutions can help.
Now that you know the four basic types of risk mitigation, let’s discuss the steps towards creating an effective cloud based disaster recovery plan.
The risks your business may face can be placed into five main categories:
- Legal risks. These are risks that occur after breaking government rules. For example, a company may face lawsuits after violating rules set forth by local or federal government agencies that pertain to their industry.
- Compliance risks. When standards and regulations are violated, the risks are often costly fines and loss of reputation. For example, companies can be fined millions of dollars for violating HIPAA and GDPR.
- Reputational risks. This can be the result of many factors, but the end result is usually diminished profits and loss of public and shareholder confidence. Sometimes, companies are boycotted by customers. It’s not easy to recover from a damaged reputation when you’ve lost trust.
- Strategic risks. These risks result from bad business strategies/decisions.
- Operational risks. Daily operations can create risks to the company. Many of these risks are unavoidable, but they still need to be documented and addressed.
All of these risks need to be addressed through policy, procedure, and enforcement along with implementing software to help with automated threat detection and remediation.
The first part of risk mitigation is to create strict IT security policies and procedures. Some examples include:
- Company-wide cloud usage policies
- Requiring emails to be encrypted
- Requiring multi-factor authentication
- Connecting logins to registered devices
- Prohibiting employees from using public, unsecured Wi-Fi
- Having a strict BYOD policy
- Prohibiting shared accounts
- Using a cloud access security broker (CASB)
- Making daily or weekly data backups to a physical hard drive that remains offline
- Planning to mitigate insider threats, like coordinating with your IT team to remove account access while an employee is in their exit interview.
- Tracking user behavior so you know what files people are accessing
- Educating your team about phishing attacks and how to avoid them
- Having a plan for updating software and installing patches (If you don’t have an internal IT team to perform these actions, managed IT services can help.)
Your security policies are only as strong as your willingness to enforce them. Make enforcement a top priority. For example, if you prohibit employees from sharing accounts, don’t let it slide if you find out someone has shared their login credentials. For many companies that can’t risk a data incident, this is a fireable offense.
The risk with this seemingly innocent action is huge. A freshly fired employee might ask a former co-worker for their account credentials under false pretenses just to sabotage the company’s data. If you don’t hold your employees accountable for sharing their account information, they won’t think twice about letting someone borrow their login.
You might need to hold someone accountable for a truly innocent situation, but if you give your employees the impression that there are no consequences, it could happen again, this time, with the wrong person.
In addition to enforcement, it’s important to continually review and refine your cybersecurity policies and procedures to make sure they align with your needs. For example, if you don’t have remote employees, you probably don’t have a BYOD policy. Once you start allowing your staff to work remotely, or you begin hiring remote contractors, you will need a BYOD policy to keep your company secure.
Whether you have a risk mitigation strategy you need to strengthen or need to create one from scratch, partnering with managed IT services is the best way to protect your business. At Reverus, we specialize in risk mitigation for Charlotte businesses. Our goal is to help your business stay as secure as possible by helping you create a disaster recovery plan.
If you’re ready to create a cloud based disaster recovery plan, contact us today to find out how we can help.
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