Businesses, and particularly SMB’s, do not have it easy at the moment. Assailed by the distancing shadow of the recession on the one hand, and the gathering dark clouds of Brexit on the other, organisations must steer a careful course to keep afloat. While political uncertainty may have many business leaders attention, action must also be taken to ensure the unforeseen threat of a data breach doesn’t run them aground. With the amount of digitally-stored data growing at an exponential rate, it’s no longer when but how a business’ data will be compromised.
Data breaches have the ability to destroy any business with ease, leaving them open to the elements; public embarrassment, financial implications and loss of customer trust. All reason enough for data protection to be high on the list of priorities for business leaders, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.
The list of businesses infiltrated in the last 12 months is extensive; Yahoo, TalkTalk, Sports Direct, Boeing, Verizon Enterprise, Wendy’s and most recently, the UK National Health Service (NHS)… the list goes on. In all these cases, cyber criminals carried out attacks with alarming ease, leaving organisations with hefty repercussions, such as reputational damage and potential bankruptcy, all before being hit with regulatory fines. The TalkTalk hack a little over a year ago for example costed the company £60million and 100,000 customers. Another alarming incident occurred in February 2016, when the American IRS admitted more than 700,000 tax forms containing confidential data had been stolen by hackers, which included sensitive information such as addresses, incomes and even social security numbers.
Examples such as these should serve as a reminder to us all that, unless securely and diligently stored, confidential data is vulnerable to a multitude of cyber threats, from malicious cyber attacks, to freak acts of nature and natural disasters that can physically destroy data records and storage facilities.
This does therefore beg the question; what can companies do to ensure sensitive and corporate data is kept safe and sound? In all the cases mentioned above, simple precautions could have minimised the impact of a severe data breach. The following steps address how SMB’s in 2017 can prioritise data protection once and for all.
Bitrot is a form of computerised rust which physically rots the most basic forms of data, until gradually the whole file is corrupted. It can occur when an environment is changed, with bugs appearing in code that’s rarely used. Companies should ensure that all relevant personnel are on the lookout for it, and that all software is kept as up to date as possible to try and prevent any damage to it.
Bringing in a backup and recovery solution with the capability of unified storage could essentially save business expenditure on technology and overheads. With full backups of servers, desktops and laptops, organisations across all industries can rely on this technology to save hours of labour costs, while most importantly preventing permanent loss of data.
Store data in more than one place
Putting a long-term and scalable data storage strategy in place on multiple drives in multiple locations with cloud-based management systems ensuring records remain secure if one set is destroyed by natural causes, software issues or malicious attacks.
While this might appear an unnecessary use of time and resources, such steps should be a part of daily business practices. After all, there is no such thing as being too cautious where data protection is concerned.
The good news for SMB’s is that these measures are simple and straightforward to implement, as they have the advantage of being more nimble than firmly rooted multi-national corporations. Once companies become larger it can prove significantly harder to change working habits and data protection practises, which is where problems can arise.
It is more important than ever for SMB’s to act fast, as the increasing use of innovative tech in the workplace has transformed the way employees now choose to work. While many enjoy the flexibility that comes with the use of tech in the workplace, the volume of data created continues to multiply, thrusting data protection into the forefront of every business to ensure their continued success and growth.