The title

Tag: Backup

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!


Considering Backup

I’m 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. There’s a big difference in requiring downtime measured in minutes, as opposed to hours, as opposed to days, in choosing what to implement.

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

SSDs have come of Age

SSDs – or Solid State Drives (not SSDD!) – have finally reached a price point where it makes sense to consider replacing your existing hard drive (HDD) or ensuring your new machine is equipped with an SSD.

The question is, why should we care? Well, if performance is important then the vastly superior performance of SSDs over HDDs will be sure to make your machine much snappier – and I’ve yet to meet a user who does not at some point complain about how slow their machine is. SSDs are generally 2-5x faster than comparable HDDs. For years, our machines’ primary limiting performance bottleneck has been in getting information to and from the drive, and so this means a major increase in speed for everything we do we do with our machines – from startup/shutdown speed, to opening and saving documents – everything benefits!

SSDs have a few more important advantages:

  • Less power & weight – a real bonus for laptop warriors in less weight to lug around, plus longer battery life.
  • No moving parts, so potentially more reliable – but don’t stop doing backups as it’s still early days to know whether this translates into long term reliability.

SSDs are still about 2.5x the cost of a normal HDD, and I’m sure as soon is the ink is dry on this post, the price differential will reduce even further.

So, rather than going out and replacing your machine ‘cos it’s slow, consider replacing your drive with a SSD.

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