The title

Category: Data Recovery

How Do You Protect Your “Crown Jewels”?

We have worked with business owners and senior management of organizations with less that 200 staff for over 20 years.

We continually see the same recurring issues when it comes to IT management in SMEs.

One of issue that we find quite disturbing is the cavalier attitude so many small business owners take with regard to the security of their IT assets.

This is especially significant with regard to security of their own data and even more critically the security of their clients’ data that is held on their systems.

A recent survey quoted a senior manager in a professional services firm as saying:

“At the moment internally we don’t really have much [internal] security. Our systems are open; Just about everyone in the office can actually look at anything in the system.”


The issues

 

  • Threats to IT information assets come from many sources – malware, hardware failure, hacking, employee mistake and deliberate sabotage. How do you know that you are protected?
  • How do you ensure that you have current and continual protection across all fronts to ensure your data is not lost or compromised?
  • How do you ensure that organisational information assets are NOT stored on only one key staff member’s laptop, but are stored centrally for all users to access, AND properly backed up and recoverable?

Critical Questions

 

  • How long can your business survive without key data?

Imagine losing important customer files and trying to explain to your clients how this happened. If your immediate response to this question is to say: “But we back up our data regularly!” –  sure you may have a back up strategy but do you regularly test your strategy to ensure that you are 100% sure you are able to recover your data in the event of a major disaster or loss? [Statistics show that 60% of backups are incomplete, and 50% of restores failed.]

  • How do you protect your commercially sensitive data?
  • How do you protect client data held on your computers?
  • What level of security assessment do you undertake on any third-party you bring into your company to undertake IT support and maintenance?

You do realise that every third party who has access to your IT systems potentially has access to all of your secrets?


The Business Impacts and Your Exposures

 

Unless you can answer each of these questions you and your business are at considerable, and potentially catastrophic, risk of business failure and expensive, damaging litigation.

The solution is a consistent, holistic strategy and implementation to protect your business across all of these areas.

If you are unclear about this and what it means for your business, please get in touch. Since inception in 1996, PASR Technologies has been providing SME business owners with a level of service and support to the SME business owner that is typically only directly available in very large organisations.

Servicing businesses from 10 to up to 200 employees, our clients range from local SMEs through to regional offices of larger MNCs, and include airlines.

At PASR Technologies, we solve your IT problems before you even realize you have one!


How Do You Know You Can Recover Your Data?

In our work with business owners and senior management of organizations with less that 200 staff  we regularly come across the same, repeated concerns facing SME IT management. One of the big recurring issues is data recovery from backups.

IT management in SMEs tends to be undertaken by staff who are fulfilling dual roles with IT management as a secondary responsibility to their primary functional role. This is illustrated in a recent study which investigated IT in SMEs quotes a senior manager of an accounting practice:

“It is left to me [as a senior partner] on a day-to-day basis. I am the only one who does backups”.

The challenge here is how a lack of knowledge of best practise can inadvertently put the business at great risk.


The issue

 

Statistics show that 60% of backups are incomplete, and 50% of restores failed.

You may have a back up strategy but  because you do NOT regularly test your strategy you can not be 100% sure you are able to recover your data in the event of a major disaster or loss.

Whilst having a backup strategy is a good first-step, your failure to regularly test your recovery strategy leaves you massively exposed on recovering your business critical data in the event of a crunch.


How long can your business survive without key data?

 

We are asked many times about how and what is required for backup. There are many ways to approach this, and many solutions, but the real factors are not how and what to backup, but rather how long an organisation can operate without their data while it is being restored.

Backups today are generally performed online, with little or no downtime required, but this is not true when it comes to restoring data, which almost always requires systems to be taken offline during the process.

Consider also that depending on the reason a restore is required, new hardware/software may have to be acquired and configured as part of the recovery process.


Key questions

 

When choosing a backup strategy, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How long can I afford to be offline if I have to recover data – worst case scenario
    • As this time decreases, costs to implement a viable solution increase exponentially, so choose something realistic.
  • What is my backup protecting me from?
    • Hardware failure is a primary candidate, but don’t forget the possibilities of malware infection, employee acts – both accidental and malicious.
  • What legal/regulatory requirements are there for data retention?
    • Do I just need to recover to the last known good data, or do I need multiple generations spanning weeks, months or years?

Please note the following statistics

 

In considering your answers to the above, please remember:

  • 6% of all PCs will suffer an episode of data loss in any given year (The Cost Of Lost Data, David M. Smith)
  • 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster
  • Almost 3 out of every 100 hard drives fail every year. (Schroeder and Garth)
  • Man-made disasters affect 10% of small businesses. (NFIB National Small Business Poll)
  • 20% of SMEs will suffer a major disaster causing loss of critical data every 5 years. (Richmond House Group)
  • Simple drive recovery can cost upwards of S$2,000 and success is not guaranteed

If you would like to discuss this issue and what it means for your business, please get in touch. Since inception in 1996, PASR Technologies has been providing SME business owners with a level of service and support to the SME business owner that is typically only directly available in very large organisations.

Servicing businesses from 10 to up to 200 employees, our clients range from local SMEs through to regional offices of larger MNCs, and include airlines.

At PASR Technologies, we solve your IT problems before you even realize you have one!

40% of Businesses Hit by Ransomware in the Last Year

Nearly 40 percent of businesses have experienced a ransomware attack in the last year, according to a new study.

Scary results from this study suggest that apart from the cost to productivity, more than 30% of businesses lost revenue and 20% had to stop business completely.

Despite the focus on updated malware protection, these attacks are still getting through.

Even more disturbingly the study suggests that 40% of victims are paying the ransom demand, and yet they should simply be able to restore from backups.

The fact that they don’t suggests that they don’t have adequate backups.

If you are not 100% sure your backups can protect you from ransomware losses, contact PASR today to ensure that if/when you are hit, you will not end up paying hundreds, or thousands, of $$$$$ to get your data back.

There is currently NO OTHER WAY to reverse the effects of this malware!


If you would like to discuss this issue and what it means for your business, please get in touch. Since inception in 1996, PASR Technologies has been providing SME business owners with a level of service and support to the SME business owner that is typically only directly available in very large organisations.

Servicing businesses from 10 to up to 200 employees, our clients range from local SMEs through to regional offices of larger MNCs, and include airlines.

At PASR Technologies, we solve your IT problems before you even realize you have one!

In Cloud We Trust

Somewhere out there….

 

Everyone is talking about the ‘Cloud’ – which seems to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, and everyone thinks they should be making use of it, but how and for what?

Among the many possible usages of Cloud services, those that come most easily to mind are storage, backup, information sharing and email correspondence, but there are many more.

All of these share a common denominator – the storage of our own personal, corporate and/or proprietary information on some other organisation’s resources – located ‘somewhere out there’ – in the Cloud.


How secure is the Cloud?

 

So just how secure, and how private, is the information we store in this pervasive Cloud? Do we know where it might be, or who might have access to it, or how it might be disclosed or made available to further third parties over which we have no control?

While I’ve always been concerned about the overall security of cloud services, a particular blog post a few weeks back highlighted how available our cloud data can be. This particular post refers to Microsoft’s host email solutions Hotmail & Outlook.com, but this is not just about Microsoft – all cloud providers require the same concerns raised – and rather than reproduce this post, I encourage you to read it plus a number of the links provided.

Regardless of which cloud vendor you use, or are considering, I recommend you read carefully their provisions for security & privacy for your data. Below I’ve provided links to some to the major cloud vendors’ current statements – but do note that these are subject to regular revision.

Google:            http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en-GB/trust/data_protection.html

Amazon:           https://aws.amazon.com/security/

Azure:               http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/support/legal/privacy-statement/

 


Key points to consider

 

Before you go and put your private, business confidential or client confidential data out there in the Cloud, be sure you understand:

  • Is your organisation subject to any professional or regulatory controls regarding location and access to your data?
  • Is the loss of absolute control of your data worth the potential savings in using Cloud services over in-house systems?
  • How would your clients react knowing that you store their information in the Cloud?

PASR Technologies has been providing SME business owners with a level of service and support to the SME business owner that is typically only directly available in very large organisations.
 

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