Protecting your organisation from a data breach with a DR plan

By Sean Abbott, Country Manager, Zerto ANZ

The recent PageUp hack which caused chaos among several large companies and organisations in Australia and severely compromised the security and data of job applicants, only serves to highlight the importance of how essential a disaster recovery plan is to any organisation. 

With cyberattacks occurring on a regular basis and maturing at an exponential pace, it’s no wonder that organisations are kept constantly on their toes trying to deflect and minimise data breaches.

According to the Understanding the Cybersecurity Threat Landscape in Asia Pacific: Securing the Modern Enterprise in a Digital World study by Frost & Sullivan and Microsoft, a large-sized organisation (over 500 employees) in Australia can incur costs of $35.9 million if a breach takes place.

The study also revealed that more than half of the organisations surveyed have either experienced a cybersecurity incident (25 percent) or are not sure if they had one as they had not performed proper forensics or data breach assessment (27 percent).

For many organisations, data security usually encompasses the basics such as having a firewall in place, having systems patched and backups being made and user accounts having strong passwords. Many IT managers assume these basic data security measures are sufficient. However, you never really know how well you're protected until you take a look from the perspective of a malicious attacker or a rogue insider.

Data breaches can come in many forms. These include malware attacks from syndicate groups or individuals to disgruntled or uninformed employees intentionally or accidentally compromising the organisation’s data.

In today’s digital economy, being able to function as business as usual is essential. Downtime is frowned upon with zero tolerance from employees and unforgiving customers. What’s worse, is the reputational and financial damage to an organisation which can run into the millions of dollars in the event of a data breach or outage.

Below are my top three tips on what organisations can do to help minimise a data breach:

1. Develop good policies and processes to safeguard your organisation against future threats

These procedures should be imbued throughout the organisation and need to be agile enough to handle a threat landscape that is constantly changing.

Some policies that you can implement include setting up single sign on polices across the organisation, educating the organisation about how to prevent a phishing attack and ensuring that you have a data breach plan in place. 

2.Improve your organisation’s IT management, monitoring and reporting

It is essential that organisations find out as much as they can about antivirus installations patching and software updates so that they will be better equipped to handle the situation when it occurs.

To better safeguard your organisation, implement SLAs for your IT team around patching and updates to ensure your organisation is protected by the latest updates.

Also, make sure that you have a sound monitoring software which is regularly managed. As a backup measure, set up regular reporting and ensure that more than one person in your IT team knows how to understand the contents of these reports.

3. Establish preventative measures

While it’s imperative to focus on threats entering the business, it’s just as essential to focus on what’s leaving the organisation.

With employee mistakes occurring at a rate of 54 percent due to accidental data leakage, employee education on data privacy, classification of sensitive data and company policies is imperative to preventing data loss and breaches.

How quickly organisations can get back on their feet from the result of a cyberattack is key. Organisations need to be prepared for the worst while ensuring that they will be able to rebound quickly in the event of a data breach or outage.

What technologies do you need to consider for your DR security plan?

Today’s information systems are becoming more complex and depending on your organisation’s needs, there are several options you can consider as part of your DR security plan. These include virtualisation, continuous data protection (CDP) and cloud based services. There are also resilient network perimeter and server environments that have a nice failover or continuity built in, as well as identity and access management technologies.

At the end of the day, the type of DR security technology an organisation decides to go with will depend largely on its need and risk. This will require you to assess what’s best for the business, reviewing your environment and confirming what the actual risks might be.

There is no such thing as 100 percent security so organisations need to ensure they build IT resilience into the fabric of the organisation. This includes how the company protects its data but most importantly how quickly it can get back up and running again in the event of a security breach.

 

 

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