Backup Data Offsite to Thwart Cyber Criminals

Backup Data Offsite to Thwart Cyber Criminals

Time and time again, managed service providers have stressed the importance of completing regular data backups, even for very small businesses. As even these small businesses have come to rely on their data more and more, most companies do understand why backing up their data is a very smart move on their part. Unfortunately cyber criminals are always on the lookout for additional targets and they do seem to target businesses much more than simple personal users. While performing regular backups is still a must, it’s important to discuss one additional aspect of backing up data that can make or break a company if the worst should happen and they become a target of a cyber thief.

Onsite Backups

If a company never encounters a threat from a cyber criminal, an onsite backup would still be an invaluable asset to have in the event of equipment failure or some other internal failure. All a company would have to do is restore their most recent backup, check for any issues, and once given the all clear sign, employees could continue their work.

The problem with onsite backups is that once a cyber criminal gains access to a company’s network, they likely can gain access to their onsite backup as well. In the case of a ransomware attack, a cyber criminal could hold the data of an entire company hostage, including their onsite backup. Either the company pays the ransom or they face potentially losing all their vital business data.

Offsite Backups

The above scenario is precisely why service providers not only encourage regular backups, but they also encourage companies to store a copy of their backups in an offsite location. As everyone becomes more dependent upon their business data to function, it’s a perpetual race to see whether the cyber criminals will take advantage of vulnerable institutions, or whether companies will start taking their business data seriously and take concrete steps to protect this vital asset.

If you would like to know more about establishing an offsite location for your data backups, please contact us.

Business Continuity – One of the Keys to Maintaining Success

Business Continuity - One of the Keys to Maintaining Success
Maintaining Success

In a global world, a company may find themselves competing with organizations, not just around the block or in another state, but perhaps with other businesses halfway across the globe. With more competition than ever, no reputable company wants to gain a fly-by-night reputation with the public. This is where focusing on business continuity comes into play. What does an organization need to do to cultivate a reputation that says they are reliable, trustworthy, and committed to fulfilling the needs and goals of its customers?

Understanding what contributes to the steadfastness of an organization can make the difference between being a company that quickly rose to the top, (and failed just as quickly), and is a company that truly earned its solid reputation.

Why Resiliency Matters

When the business climate is doing well, it’s relatively easy to rise to the top, perhaps even becoming a star performer. What often separates the wheat from the chaff is when there is a downturn in the economy or a business finds themselves in the middle of a natural disaster. Those who enjoyed success only on a superficial level often find their company’s reputation is in tatters, or perhaps the business simply folded altogether.

In contrast, organizations who incorporated the concepts of business continuity and resilience into their overall business plan may very well take some hits, but ultimately they will persevere through the down times because they used the right building blocks to create their foundation.

IT Providers – A Key Building Block

With today’s heavy reliance on information technology, any business that wants to ensure the resiliency and continuity of their organization must understand that selecting the right provider is one of the key building blocks for success. A successful business absolutely does need continuity in their information services in order to consistently provide the highest level of service to their customers.

It’s very important to find a provider who is not only reliable when business operations are running smoothly, but they are also ready to provide seamless support for your company if a less than desirable event should occur.

If you would like to know more about our commitment to providing outstanding reliable IT support, please contact us.

Backup for Small Business: Four Important Things to Think About

Backup for Small Business: Four Important Things to Think About

Sometimes it takes a disastrous cyber attack to remind businesses how important it is to back up data. Backup for small business is always important.

Backup for Small Business

A recent article from Small Business Trends, for example, mentions how ransomware has opened up discussions on the need for backups.

Keep in mind that backups are helpful not only for cyber attacks; they’ll save you from other disasters or problems as well. If a major storm hits your area, causing a power surge or outage that wipes out some of your data, you’ll have backups to retrieve and work off of. If an employee accidentally deletes a critical file, you’ll be able to restore the original.

What should small businesses consider when coming up with a data backup plan?

There are a wide variety of data backup solutions available. Not all of them will work well for your business or your data. When coming up with a data backup plan, consider the following points:

  1. Your main risks. How are you most likely to lose data? What kinds of disasters are you most vulnerable to? Answering these questions helps you choose the best kinds of data backup solutions for your business – file-level vs. image-based, cloud vs. local vs. hybrid solutions.
  2. Your most important data. Consider the data and applications that are critical to your business’s functioning and success. For them, you want the quickest restoration possible to avoid costly downtime and permanent losses. You want to ensure that the backups are comprehensive, timely, and well-protected.
  3. Your most sensitive data. Whatever backup solutions you choose, ensure that you’re safeguarding copies of your data – particularly the most sensitive data – from theft and destruction.
  4. Your metrics for backup success. How will you determine if your backup plan is a success? For example, you can set goals for maximum allowable recovery time or maximum amount of data you can afford to lose; does your backup plan fall within these parameters, or would you experience unsustainable losses? Always make sure to test your data backup measures.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for advice and assistance. Choosing the right backup solutions is critical for your business. When implemented thoughtfully, data backups become your business’s lifesaver, protecting you from the severe effects of IT disasters.

Some Good Examples of a Network Contingency Plan

Some Good Examples of a Network Contingency Plan
IT Support in Miami

Most people don’t realize the importance of having a network contingency plan in place until it’s too late. With this in mind, then, we’ve come up with a few examples of a good network contingency plan that you can easily implement into your own business. Because it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Here are some examples:

  • A good contingency plan has simple, easy to follow language. As you never know who will be accessing this contingency plan — and you don’t know how computer and/or programming proficient s/he is — you’ll want to keep it as simple as possible for his/her benefit.
  • A good contingency plan answers the following three questions: what could possibly happen? What do we do in the event it does happen? What can we do in advance to make sure it doesn’t happen?
  • A good contingency plan makes provisions for all of the possible disasters that can happen, including any natural disasters. As many unfortunate businesses learned in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and Hurricane Sandy in New York City, if you don’t have a contingency plan in place, you could lose everything in a disaster.
  • A good contingency plan prioritizes risks. Some risks are more likely than others — for example, a hack, a trojan/malware attack, or another type of digital security breach, is more likely to happen than having the mainframe of the computer stolen — and a good contingency plan addresses the most urgent risks, first and foremost.

If you’re having difficulty constructing a good contingency plan, and you need our assistance in doing so, contact us today.

The Contingency Planning Guide

The Contingency Planning Guide
Contingency planning is not planning for the unpredictable. It is about planning for events that may or may not happen.

Sometimes a contingency plan (sometimes called a “Plan B”) is developed in case a course of action you have chosen doesn’t work out. Having a contingency planning guide is also a component of disaster recovery, business continuity scenarios and risk management that are part of nearly all business planning.

Like this article mentions, a contingency plan is a course of action designed to help an organization respond effectively to a significant future event or situation that may or may not happen.

What does contingency planning cover?

A good contingency plan should include any eventuality that might disrupt business operations.

  • events such as natural disasters,
  • exceptional employee events such as threats from staff or customers, injuries, and work site accidents,
  • departure or disability of a senior manager or discontinuity in senior management,
  • strikes or work actions by unions,
  • data loss because of technical problems, fires or natural disasters, sabotage or criminal hacking,
  • gross management, theft, critical neglect of duty, or accidental destruction of equipment, materials or products,
  • product issues such as product recalls, or huge demand orders that require plant relocation or reorganization.

The Contingency Plan:

Writing a complete contingency plan is a major planning operation that requires full staff and management investment. The contingency plan has to be an outline of steps that all are prepared to take and an outline that all are committed to following.

The first step is to analyze risks. A list of all possible events that could disrupt operations has to be drawn up. The list should be realistic and contributions from all departments should be included.

For each item on the list, the likelihood of it actually occurring should be estimated. Many of the possibilities are so unlikely that they could reasonably be left out of the plan.

Estimate how much impact each of the disruptive possibilities might have.  If a possibility would have minimal or manageable impact, you may not need a special plan for it.

For each contingency with a reasonable likelihood of occurring with a significant impact on the organization, work out steps that would protect people, property, and business continuity if that event occurred.

Contingency planning is about likelihood of occurrence and likely impact. Those are the key dimensions that pay a part in your decisions.

4 Corner IT has contingency plans for almost any organization. Our expertise in contingency planning comes from real experience. Please contact us to learn more.