We’ve all got a lot on our plate at the moment, for obvious reasons, and nobody wants to make a drama out of a crisis. Keep calm, stay safe, carry on.
But a crisis can turn old routines and certainties on their head.
A few weeks ago, lorry drivers were probably not our favourite road users – but now we’ve realised they are in fact key workers. And the way we think about the data that our businesses rely on is having to change too, as current circumstances make it ever more difficult to keep it protected.
Here’s why your data is significantly more at risk now than it was before – and what to do about it.
How your data is at risk
1. Cyber criminals love Coronavirus
Criminals love a crisis. When you’re stressed and your guard is down, all manner of valuables are up for grabs. And that includes your data.
Coronavirus-themed phishing emails that trigger ransomware attacks on your data are skyrocketing. We reported in a previous post just a few days back that these attacks had already pocketed £800,000 in ransoms from UK firms , and even healthcare firms and professionals at the forefront of the fight against the disease are being targeted.
In short, what cybercriminals see here is a target-rich environment – and anybody who is any way worried about Coronavirus (and who isn’t?) is in their sights.
2. Homeworkers are the new attack surface
‘Keep B*ggering On’, Churchill urged us in the last war, and as the nation rolls its sleeves up and gets dutifully stuck into its new routine of working from the kitchen table, a whole slew of potential cyber security issues opens up around the workplace servers that homeworkers are remotely accessing.
These servers, of course, store vital operational data – and yet again this makes them a prize target for an attacker who can exploit a homeworker’s unsecured wifi access point or weak password to deposit a ransomware payload that will rip through the data, encrypting it and locking it as it goes.
You may be twenty miles away from where you work, but as far as ransomware attackers are concerned, they’ve got you right where they want you.
3. Backup’s gone off sick too
Even if you’ve taken action to back up your data so that you can theoretically retrieve it from an alternative location if ransomware strikes, there’s still a data-shaped elephant in the room for many businesses – which is that backup tapes and disks can’t be changed if staff can’t get into the office to do it!
The knock-on effect of this is that any backed-up data you can access will be significantly out of date – which also means that it may simply not contain the elements that are critical to business recovery.
In technical terms, your data’s Recovery Point Objective (RPO) has gone all to pot, because your backup got locked down at the same time you did!
What you need to do
What all the above points to is this: it has never been more urgent for us to understand that whatever else hurts us over the next weeks and months, losing data can ruin us – and this is senseless when there is a cure!
Don’t wait for catastrophe to strike. Move your data backup to the cloud, so that it is automated, secure, reliable, instantly accessible and restorable, and doesn’t fall apart when a virus – human or otherwise – drives a cart and horses through your normal business routine.
As a recent article in Networkworld puts it. “Cloud-based, fully automated disaster recovery services are available. If your company used one you could fail-over your entire IT infrastructure without ever having to be physically present anywhere. All of your data and services would be automatically migrated and run from the cloud, which could free you up to handle other issues.”
And in these strange times, issues are not something any business is short of.