Do you know what are the current threats to your business data are, and could you survive if you lost all of it?
While data loss is not a new issue for business, we have become increasingly dependent on data that is easier than ever to either lose or be destroyed.
In our recent webinar we considered how the forethought and diligence of one employee saved the Filofax brand from extinction during the London Blitz when the company’s offices (and all records) were destroyed. As she surveyed the smouldering ruins, a rescue work commented:
‘all records destroyed, that’s your business gone’
… and, although threats, regulations and technology have all changed tremendously since 1940, the stark reality of that concise summary would still apply for many businesses if disaster struck.
Now we will look at some of the threats.
Number 1: Cyber-Crime
Criminals want to gain access to your business system to steal information, extort funds, or simply to disrupt your operations – and is probably the biggest, most tangible, threat to your business right now.
These criminals are completely without scruples and could not care less about their victims – and, contrary to popular belief, the perpetrators do not need to be technical geniuses or have specialist computer skills. All they need is the criminal mindset and access to the ‘Dark Web’ – where (as shown in this example) they can set up ‘Ransomware as a Service’ in the same way that you might subscribe to a legitimate service:
This activity is completely borderless and is rapidly overtaking ‘physical’ crime due to the ease of perpetrating it, and the much lower risks of getting caught.
Number 2: Fire
Perhaps surprisingly, paper records withstand high temperatures much better than digital storage media – as demonstrated by these comparisons.
Normal body temperature is about 37 degrees Celsius, and the hottest UK day temperature on record was 38.7 – so it doesn’t take much to cook a USB drive, and digital tape makes an excellent fire lighter.
If you are relying on tape backups, or storing important records on a USB Drive, it is very unlikely your records would survive a fire at your business premises.
Number 3: Staff
The very people you rely on to help run your business also pose a threat to your data. They need access to systems to perform their jobs, but as they’re human, mistakes will happen – or their actions could be more deliberate, as the following example shows.
A Director from North Yorkshire had resigned from her company in 2018 following a dispute with a co-director. The business subsequently closed, and then re-formed without her involvement – but continued using the same Dropbox account, files, and user logins as the original company.
A few months later, this disgruntled former director accessed the Dropbox account and spent about 5 hours permanently deleting files belonging to the new company – with the result, according to the court reports, that the new company was also forced to close with at a loss of about £100K and several jobs.
Number 4: Water
Electronic systems and water don’t mix – as anyone who has accidentally put a mobile phone through the wash will confirm.
Although flooding seems to have become more common in recent years, remember that a roof leak or pipe bursting can have equally devasting effects
Following pictures show a server (located in a basement) about to go under, and another of a major global bank in London following a pipe burst.
One point that often seems to be overlooked is that water will fill from the lowest point – so avoid installing data and IT equipment in the cellar!
Number 5: The man in the High-Vis Jacket
A JCB bucket through the main cable, or a bin lorry reversing into a telephone pole – while these disasters may not be avoidable, they can be as devastating to business operations as a fire or flood.
If the mains power is cut, then for many businesses this will mean a loss of internet connection, phones, and the ability to work.
Power failures are more common than you may realise:
Number 5: Theft
If you arrived at work to find your entire computer network had been stolen would you also lose your business data?
Understanding and appreciating the different threats to data is the first step to developing a robust and resilient strategy to protect it – although the end result may be the same, even a few low-cost changes could make a massive difference between survival and destruction.
At Trusted Computing, we understand that every business has different priorities and risks – so we take this into account when advising the most efficient methods of securing your data. We firmly believe that every proposal must have a supporting business case.