7 Tips to Defend Against a Data Disaster

One click may be all it takes…
You’re checking your email Monday morning, cup of coffee in hand. You mark a few to follow up, confirm a meeting for the afternoon, and then delete a couple of junk promotional emails. But then you come across one that looks important – and it’s about an overdue invoice. You click on it and open the attached document to see what the problem is. Little did you know, a malicious file that was embedded in that document is now infecting your system, spreading like wildfire across your network.
Suddenly a note pops up on your screen:

cryptoblocker screenshot alert
Source: Computer World UK

Wow… that sure seems weird. You close it and try to go on with your work, but now every time you open a document, the same message appears. You try to shut down your computer, hoping the problem will go away, but you have no luck. Instead, you find that you must re-start it manually by holding down the “power” button, which you know you’re not supposed to do. Once it powers up again, you find yourself locked out of your files, and there’s nothing you can do about it! What do you do next? There are a few options to consider.

a)       You pay the fee, desperately hoping you’ll get your data back, or…

b)       You calmly call your IT pro, who says, “No worries, your backups are all current. No files were lost. Everything will be restored by noon, if not sooner.”

If your answer is “b,” you breathe a sigh of relief and get back to work as your backup plan kicks in…
Ransomware attacks, like the example above, are more common than ever, especially at smaller companies. Many small businesses are not properly protected, so they present a much easier target than highly-fortified banks or big corporations.
43 percent of all cyber attacks target small businesses according to a recent study by Symantic. This is a dramatic increase since 2011, and that figure is climbing.

43% of Cyber attacks targer small business
Souce: Small Business Trends

Meanwhile, only 14 percent of small businesses feel confident about their ability to defend against and mitigate cyber attacks. So how can you best protect your business against a cyber attack or other data disaster?
The best solution is to have a solid backup plan in place.
Here are seven ways to ensure protection against total data lost.

1. Regular. Remote. Redundant.

Make sure your data is backed up at least once per day in at least two off-site locations, meaning you will always be saving three copies of your data.

2. Invest in high-quality disk drives

Saving a little money on a cheaper disk array puts your data at risk and can cost you a lot more over the long run. Look for features like a redundant power supply and hot spare disks.

3. Guard against human error

Automate backup processes wherever possible to eliminate the possibility of human error; otherwise, make sure whoever performs your backups is experienced and knows the exact process. Don’t trust your data to someone if backups are not a part of their regular process.

4. Check backup settings regularly

New software or updates can often change setting configuration. This may result in incomplete backups or failed backups, especially when they are not being regularly monitored. Do the people maintaining your backups include this on their regular to-do list? If not, it might be time to look for another IT services provider (unless you’re doing it yourself, in which case, it might be time to find one!).

5. Make sure critical files aren’t missed

You probably have a lot of documents, which you create, move, and change all the time. Make sure not to accidentally leave your critical files off the backup list. Insist on a quarterly or annual meeting with your backup management team to make sure they include all mission-critical files in your organization’s data recovery systems.

6. Address network issues immediately

Any component in your network that isn’t working properly can introduce another point of failure in your backup process. If files aren’t transferring properly across your network now, you can’t depend that files will be backed up or restored properly either.

7. Ask for help with your data backup and recovery system

You’re not expected to be an expert in all things, but don’t become lax about the safety of your network’s data – it is, after all, the backbone of your business. Its protection and recovery should not be left to chance. So be proactive! Leverage the knowledge, skill, and experience of an expert who stays current with all the latest IT trends and fixes.

Reveal Your Backup System Vulnerabilities With a Free Data Recovery Consultation

60 percent of small companies go out of business within six months of a serious cyber attack. Don’t let your company become yet another statistic. Reach us at [email protected] or call 717-291-4689 for a FREE Data Recovery Consultation, ordinarily a $300 service. We’ll provide you with a complete on-site assessment of your current backup system to check for and safeguard against any gaps that could prove financially lethal to your business.