If you are one of the SMB managers that have not yet faced unexpected data loss, count yourself lucky — especially considering cyberattacks are a key area of concern for just about everybody.
As stated by UPS Capital, 90% of all small business do not use any level of data protection for both company and customer information. What’s even more terrifying is that approximately 60% of small businesses will go out of business within six months of a cyberattack.
These stats do not even take into consideration the wide range of other possible data-related complications. This is why all companies (regardless of their size) need to develop and test reliable disaster recovery plans, and then consistently ensure that their data backups are secure.
If you currently operate a business, here’s what you need to know in order to ensure long-term growth and success — and (spoiler alert) — it all starts with your data.
Ensuring data backup security
If you have gotten into the habit of backing up your data, that’s a great start.
However, this is merely the first step. Unfortunately, many believe that duplicating their sensitive information is enough to keep it secure — which is not the case.
To protect your organization, it’s imperative that you do the following.
Be mindful of both physical and technical security
Creating secure backups is much more than making digital copies of sensitive data. Once you duplicate critical information, you must take a number of steps to ensure its digital and physical security. In our digital economy, we tend to think about cyberthreats in the realm of protecting corporate assets.
However, an unexpected physical disaster, such as fire or a dropped drive, can cause your company to close its doors.
That’s why you need to create both on-site and off-site backups, maintaining the same security protocols for all backups — regardless of their medium. The 3-2-1 rule is the best practice for data backups and will require you to store three copies (two on different mediums on-site and one copy off-site).
Assess the risk involved and perform tests
Once you have developed a backup process, you need to fully assess security risks. At each step of your process, you need to look for any potential vulnerabilities. Once disaster strikes, many companies go to restore their data, only to find out that critical information is missing.
That’s why you need to regularly test your backups. This will help you ensure that each time you backup information, it is being stored as expected and that when you need to access it, regardless of the circumstance, it is indeed possible.
Use passwords and encrypt your backups
At the very minimum, your backups should be password-protected.
However, whenever possible, it is recommended that you go above and beyond password protection. After you implement this first level of security, you must then take great care to encrypt all backups. This is particularly important in regards to compliance and data breach concerns. Even if someone unauthorized did access your backups, the encryption on them would prevent the criminal from accessing the data.
Be mindful of potential security flaws, updates, and data threats
When it comes to data protection, you need to take a proactive approach. This is especially true in relation to malware, ransomware, and viruses. Unfortunately, once malware has been downloaded onto a company computer, it can quickly lead to a large-scale attack.
Stay up-to-date with all of your applications and software (initiating automatic updates) and enforce security protocols at all times. The last thing you’d want is for an infected workstation to carry a virus directly into the core of your data backups.
Implement security protocols for all devices
When your employees use mobile devices, including their own personal phones for business-related tasks, you need to ensure that they are secure. The first place to start is the implementation of a VPN — or “virtual private network.”
That way, even if you or an employee are on a public WiFi network, sensitive data will be better protected. More importantly, when you backup data from mobile devices, you will then be able to do so over a secure VPN. This decreases the risk of carry-along viruses and of prying eyes accessing your data.
Educate and train your staff and limit access
You may understand the importance of backup security. But if your staff is unaware, it could still lead to significant security issues (many of which would be preventable). You’ll need to create and enforce strict policies when it comes to backups.
– Security MagazineIn your protocol, include all aspects of your backup and recovery procedures, including the importance of secure cloud backups. That way, if an employee accidentally deletes a file (which happens more often than you’d think), they will know how to proceed.
More importantly, be sure you limit access to backups to only a handful of staff. The fewer entry points to your backups, the better. This action significantly decreases the chances of disaster happening to your backups, both accidental and intentional.
Secure your data backups with the help of Visual Edge IT
Regardless of the size of your business, your data is one of your greatest assets. That is why you need to invest your time and resources, developing a secure backup protocol (in addition to your recovery plan). This will not only help you achieve peace of mind but also potentially save your business when faced with a data-related disaster.
We can help your organization implement secure, cutting-edge backup solutions. New technology like file- or image-based backup is faster and more secure than ever before. It’s even recommended by the FBI!
If you’d like to learn more about data backups and how they can benefit your business, reach out to us today.