Best disaster recovery practices for the worst of times

Best disaster recovery practices for the worst of times

As hard as some people might try, there’s no mastering disaster. Unforeseen events happen all the time, and they are very rarely positive. Cyber attacks, natural disasters and hardware failures (and let’s not forget human error) can rapidly bring your organization to its knees. And disasters like these don’t play favorites, either. In virtually every industrial and commercial sector, businesses are at high risk for financial losses, reputational damage and client mistrust.

Let’s face it. Your data is quite literally your business. Worst-case, losing it can bring your business to the brink, teetering on the edge of failure. It’s small wonder then, that the adoption of disaster-recovery plans and strategies has spiked in recent years. Together with advances in cloud-based solutions, organizations are availing themselves of newer and less expensive ways to put in place a Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) plan.

The benefits of a comprehensive BDR strategy are abundantly clear.

Once implemented, your organization can mitigate risk, minimize downtime, remain compliant, and ensure client data are safe and protected. The following best practices will give you a head start in developing your own BDR plan:

Follow the 3-2-1 Rule

  1. Create at least three copies of data...
  2. In two different storage formats...
  3. With at least one copy located off-site

Implementing the 3-2-1 rule means saving copies of, say, your customer information database on premises, on an external hard drive, and at an off-site location like cloud storage. Alternatively, you can store a physical copy in another secure location, ensuring that you’ll still have access to data if one backup format fails.

Encrypt backups

To prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data and pinpointing its location, data in transit and at rest should be encrypted. This way, all any bad actor will ever see are files riddled with indecipherable code. Keep in mind that you’ll need to keep decryption keys in a safe location, because if you lose them, it will be difficult to recover your files. Talk with a managed services provider to make sure strong encryption protocols are in place.

Deploy security software

Small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are just as vulnerable as larger enterprises to an attack. In fact, according to this report, 60% of small businesses fold within six months of a security breach. So consider making cybersecurity a top priority in your BDR strategy.

Protect your network and systems with intrusion prevention tools, firewalls and endpoint security, including email and web gateway solutions capable of defending against notorious threats such as ransomware. Look for a good security provider like Charles IT that offers high-fidelity machine learning; behavior monitoring and application control; and vulnerability shielding to minimize the impact of an attack.

Train and educate employees

Since human error is cited as one of the leading causes of data breach, it is imperative to educate and train your personnel accordingly. A security-conscious workforce – well versed in best practices and the latest threats – ranks among your best defenses. Proper training will enable staff to accelerate system recovery and ensure business continuity.

Test your plan and make sure it works

Your plan will fail without proper testing.

In the midst of a crisis, your BDR plan will likely fail since your teams won’t know which parts work and which don’t. Make sure your testing covers every conceivable scenario, from the smallest system failure to your entire facility being wiped out by a tornado.

While some of your methods might fail, your strategies will develop and mature over time. Testing will also allow you to test recovery practice training, which will give you a good sense of just how much time it will take to recover from a breach or disaster.

We’ve got your back(-up)

When putting your BDR plan together, it’s best to work with an experienced provider like Charles IT. We offer strategic services that will help your business review current processes, test gaps, and recommend what needs to be done. That way, when disaster strikes, you’ll be ready to strike back. Give us a call today to learn more.

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