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Now You See IT - Data Security


We live in an economy that is more dependent than ever on technology. Whether it be employee and customer info, internal emails, documents and financial records, sales orders and transaction histories there are small and medium sized businesses that leave their data at risk every day. Employees at SMBs require continuous access to the critical business data. They want this access while they’re at home or on the go running errands. To satisfy this demand, many companies and organizations now allow employees to BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) and “do business” using their portable devices. Regrettably this flexibility and freedom is accompanied by an increase in the risk of data loss. Just a single data loss or breach can be costly to SMBs. Revenue is lost if employee productivity and customer accessibility/ service are stalled by data loss. The expenses associated with internal research and investigation, system repair and maintenance, and data security protection are another heavy price SMBs must pay.

“Following a significant data loss, it is estimated that SMBs can lose up to 25% in daily revenue by the end of the first week.”

BYOD isn’t a trend or passing fad. It is here to stay and the fact of the matter is businesses no longer own the devices used by employees. This obviously comes with a number of data security risks. The number of networks, applications, and end points where data can be accessed has multiplied with BYOD. Who manages and makes sure these devices are secure?  SMB’s do not have the right to back-up data on machines that they do not personally own and if they chose to do so, could step into an invasion of personal privacy lawsuit.

Management Is On Notice:

Businesses large and small are playing on a much bigger playing field than just a decade ago. Any disruptive or invasive technological event can have an amplified impact on day-to-day business. Any business that trusts their security and backup of critical business data to an overburdened in-house IT team, or completely forgoes internal IT support altogether, is putting their business at risk. Being proactive with data recovery solutions, and having response procedures in place before a data disaster, is the only way to get critical data restored immediately.

Every SMB must be aware of a few different data security threats…

Human Error and Employee Negligence

Unintentional data deletion, modification, and overwrites, has become much more prevalent in recent years. Virtualization and cloud computing have enabled improved business continuity by allowing entire servers – including all data, operating systems, applications, and patches to be grouped into one software bundle or virtual server and subsequently backed up.

So much of today’s data loss is linked to humans because humans still have to instruct their technology on how to perform. Sometimes the complexity of these systems presents a trial by error learning system. Employee negligence, even if unintentional, puts a company’s critical business data at risk of being stolen by cybercriminals or other malicious employees. Examples of this negligent behavior include:

  • Leaving computer systems unattended
  • Weak passwords (“password” or “12345”) or passwords that aren’t frequently changed
  • Opening email attachments or clicking hyperlinks embedded with spam
  • Visiting restricted websites

Employee Mobility & Data Exposure

In the modern-day BYOD workplace, more people are doing daily business on their portable devices as well as carrying around portable media like USB sticks and external hard drives. These devices are rarely backed up or secured by IT administrators. This creates the potential for these devices to be stolen and also, when used for personal reasons, opens them up to malware, viruses, and hackers.  All of this increases the likelihood of data loss.  Four ways SMBs can minimize data loss are…

  • Enforce Data Security - This is more or less the managing of the “human factor.” CIOs and those in Managers must communicate data protection policies to staff and ensure their implementation.
  • Stress the personal and business consequences – of not properly protecting confidential data. Encourage employees to make passwords difficult to crack.
  • Snapshots – Fully backing up large amounts of data can be a lengthy process. The data being backed up is also vulnerable to file corruption from read errors. This means sizeable chunks of data may not be stored in the backup and be unavailable in the event of a full disaster recovery. This can be avoided by backing up critical data as snapshots. Snapshots are read-only copies of data frozen to a specific point in time and stored. These virtual snapshots are immediately available for restores in the event of data loss.
  • Cloud Replication and Disaster Recovery Services – The cloud provides SMBs who consider data backup to be too costly, time consuming and complex with a cost-effective replication process that provides continuous availability to business-critical data and apps. Cloud replication can often get systems back online in under an hour following a data loss.

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