When the word ‘disaster’ is said, the first things which come to mind are fire, flood, earthquake or terrorism. If we look at the most simple definition of the word disaster – “an event that has an unfortunate outcome” – we can note that it doesn’t even need to be a large scale event to have what can be regarded as disastrous consequences.
A recent survey conducted by the Disaster Recovery Journalfound that of all potential risks faced by organisations, the most feared risks heading into 2018 are cyber attacks and data breach. Similarly, fin24has noted that cyber - attacks loom large for the coming year, and that they could dwarf the cyber - attacks suffered in 2017.
Considering that 2017 saw data breaches across the globe were of an immense scale – such as the Equifax breach in the United States of America which saw the personal data of some 147 – million Americans exposed; and the emergence of the WannaCry malware which affected users in over 150 countries – the above prediction does appear to be a daunting prospect. Although the major cyber attacks of 2018 have been tipped to be aimed towards critical infrastructure, data breaches remain to be a threat to all organisations.
However, by taking a few steps you can ensure that you and your organisation reduce your risk (and stress) in 2018:
- Stay up to date
Malware such as the WannaCry bug utilised gaps in older Microsoft software. Although Microsoft have since taken steps to patch the flaw, the WannaCry malware exposed the flaws in outdated software and highlighted the need to stay up to date. A company who does not wish to do a complete overhaul of their IT equipment can alternatively look at Microsoft’s ‘Custom Support’ options to stay up to date.
Also stay up to date and be aware of the latest cyber security trends and cyber threats. By no means do you need to aim to be an expert in technology but developing some knowledge and awareness of the latest trends you are giving yourself the grounding to protect yourself from future threats. This can be done by following cyber tech experts (such as Brian Krebbs), reading reports of major cyber attacks and even just subscribing to technology magazine. These factors are most applicable to small enterprises who don’t have the resources to appoint an IT manager or administrator.
- Take care of your data, and make sure it is taken care of
As we become more and more reliant on technology, our data is fast becoming essential in an organisations day – to – day operations, ultimately meaning that without data an organisation can’t make money. As the risk of breach increases, ensure that you have regular back ups which are stored off site. Ideally, look to have a hybrid back up system – with data backed up to a managed cloud as well as a physical back up.
Whilst the most suitable back – up method may vary from business to business, generally utilising a hybrid back up allows for an organisation to enjoy the pros of both physical and cloud back – ups. When making a decision regarding your back up option also consider how long you need to be able to recover your data within.
Once you have decided on your back – up system, test it! Often organisations establish what they deem to be an effective back up system but have never actually tested the recovery of their data. Look to schedule at least two tests annually.
- Remember, anyone can be attacked at anytime
Whilst the experts may be able to make predictions and provide direction, there is no substitute for being diligent. Stay prepared and do what is needed to ensure that in the event of attack, you can either block it or recover from it.
The Meriam-Webster Dictionary defines economy as “a system of interaction and exchange”, i.e. a supply and demand chain. The role players in this chain are notably suppliers and consumers, or service providers and clients, as individuals we find ourselves using this chain to help us balance get the most ‘bang for our back’ and it has seen competition in respective markets soar. From an individuals perspective it is simple – if there isn’t any of brand A at the price we are willing to pay, we simply purchase brand B.
In February 1998 the city of Auckland, New Zealand found themselves largely without power for a period of five weeks after the four power cables which supplied the city failed one – by – one. This left many businesses stranded, resulting in the some 20 – block area deserted for the first few days of the outage. Initially, some businesses attempted to bring products out onto the street and sell them there, but heavy rain made this unviable.