Avoid ending up on the data loss naughty list this Christmas

By Garrett O’Hara, Principal Technical Consultant at Mimecast

Is an overcrowded inbox too much to deal with leading into holiday break? No access to email may be worse than a stocking full of coal.

Imagine how your organisation would be affected if you suddenly lost access to every one of your emails, photos or other key files or data. Consider all the resources (money, time and manpower) that would be exhausted trying to get them back.

While many businesses can turn to their current archiving system, they often and quickly find that it does not live up to their modern-day needs. The fact is, most archiving systems are guilty of not being able to locate information easily, not allowing users to access data wherever and whenever necessary, not fully protecting data, and even falling short of being compliant with the latest regulations.

In fact, according to a 2017 Vanson Bourne global survey, 88 percent of organisations say they’ve experienced these types of problems with their existing archiving solution.  

As any IT professional knows, data loss is no joke. Make sure your archiving solution is in tip-top shape to help you avoid ending up on the naughty list this Christmas.

The Grinch You’ve Never Heard Of

In the last few years, ransomware has become a billion-dollar industry. Because of this, outsiders, or cybercriminals, are constantly looking for new ways to trick employees into opening an attachment or clicking a link that will help them gain access to an organisation’s network and data – holding them hostage until they pay up. The holiday season – especially Amazon Australia Black Friday -- is a prime opportunity for cybercriminals to target unknowing victims who are doing more online shopping as they are looking to save a buck while checking off their shopping list. 

Many attackers are aware of the increase in online shopping at this time of year, so it’s likely that we’ll see a spike in fake order update emails with a malicious ‘click to track the status’ link. And, let’s face it, this shopping is happening at work too, not just at home.

When hit with ransomware, attackers can freeze systems, block access to email servers and lock up information with different encryption tools. Holiday over? Probably not, but this could cause a lot of avoidable headaches for IT.

In these instances, many people turn to their archive to get things back up and running without paying the ransom. However, once a threat is launched, it can spread throughout a network in no time at all. Even your archive is at risk if you don’t have the right safeguards in place.

Most analysts would agree that a good backup strategy is your best defense against ransomware. Today, it’s more important than ever to maintain separate, well-protected copies of the emails in a highly secure and resilient archive to achieve backup objectives.

One Lonely Christmas Looking Back Through The Archives

How’s your e-discovery solution?

Hopefully it’s decent, considering more than 80 percent of people need to look up information in an email that’s more than 90 days old, according to a recent Forrester report. And it’s not crazy to think you’ll have to search that far back.

When a legal inquiry comes in requesting to know what was said in an email from two years ago, businesses need to search and recover it – and quickly. The consequences if they’re not recovered are enough to ruin your Christmas alone.

Their current solution? Spending hours searching through old-school archives.

Consider the time spent performing a Google search. You expect results in 5 seconds or less. In today’s digital, fast-paced environment, old-school archiving simply isn’t logical. However, Vanson Bourne found that 50 percent of survey respondents say searching their archives takes at least five minutes. Twenty percent say it can take as long as 10 minutes.

You also need to think about regulatory compliance obligations. Fourty-four percent of organisations aren’t totally confident in their e-discovery capabilities and more than double that is concerned about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

For Australian organisations, many will need to take a look at their current processes. The Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC’s) Cyber Security Report 2017 found that 70 percent of respondents appeared to display a high level of resilience to cybersecurity, however 43 percent of those organisations said they don’t generally identify cybersecurity threats or vulnerabilities until after they have been compromised. An area that organisations will need to address in order to prepare for the new laws.

Santa Claus Had To Remove A Few People From The List

Imagine an employee was absent-mindedly clicking around on his or her computer and suddenly hits delete. What if they deleted it intentionally?  What if there was a technical failure?

If data is stored in one place, it only takes one accidental “delete” to wipe out an entire corporate memory. As inboxes get bigger, it’s easy to delete something that contains extremely important or valuable information.

And often, archiving solutions don’t offer an easy way to restore deleted emails.

Consider this. Someone in the human resources department is searching for another specific employee’s payment summary form, when suddenly they accidentally hit delete – only to realise that it was an email containing an entire department’s forms as well. No matter how many times they click “undo,” the data isn’t coming back. It’s gone forever.

However, accidentally deleting an email or even an entire inbox doesn’t have to be a disaster. To keep business moving, ensure your organisation isn’t only using an old on-premises storage box and seriously think about the benefits of a cloud-based solution, as well. Solutions should be able to index and archive data on the spot – and going to the cloud makes that task not only easier, but faster and cheaper.

No one wants to ruin Christmas by experiencing one of these data loss stories, but the reality is that existing solutions on the market today aren’t meeting the needs of modern day organisations. Make sure your business’ archiving solutions are up to date and multi-dimensional with the ability to safeguard corporate data, boost productivity and efficiency and ensure compliance. 

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Tags data securityGooglecyber criminalsdata protectiondata lossransomwarecyber securityMimecast

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