If you’re responsible for conducting disaster recovery planning at your organization, you’re likely to plan for risks like equipment failures, cloud service provider disruptions, internal IT outages and adverse weather, to name a few. But while it’s important to consider these potential occurrences, you might be overlooking the greatest risk of all: cyberattacks.
The truth is that today, cyberattacks pose the biggest risk to your business continuity. Which is why you should approach disaster recovery planning from the perspective of data security. Otherwise, you may find your critical systems vulnerable, should they fall victim to a cyberattack.
Let’s explore why a robust data security strategy and a reliable backup solution are critical to protecting your business from external digital threats and allowing you to maintain business continuity.
Understanding the prevalence of cyberattacks
Over the last several years, cybercrime has increased in both frequency and ferocity. There was a time when criminals primarily directed these attacks at large organizations and international enterprises. But now, any-sized business should be wary of digital threats.
Even a brief disruption to normal operations is enough to financially impact many businesses. But imagine if a disruption took your business down for several days, or even a few weeks! The results would be catastrophic.
With the rising threat of digital crime, it’s crucial you have an extensive disaster recovery plan in place and integrated with your cybersecurity strategy. This cohesive approach will help you shore up vulnerabilities and allow you to maintain business continuity.
Disaster recovery vs cybersecurity recovery
The phrases disaster recovery and cybersecurity recovery are sometimes used interchangeably. While these terms are certainly related, it’s vital that you understand the distinction between the two so you can effectively incorporate both concepts into your overarching cybersecurity strategy.
At its core, disaster recovery focuses on restoring normal business operations and ensuring further business continuity. Disaster recovery principles can be applied to both natural disasters and cyberattacks.
The purpose of cybersecurity recovery is to better guard your data assets following a breach. It also seeks to understand how an attack was carried out so your company can more effectively guard against future incidents, whether this happens by enforcing stricter policies, hiring a security firm, or further encrypting data.
Put simply, disaster recovery incorporates more generalized response protocols that can be applied to any disruptive event. However, the principles and tactics used for cybersecurity recovery are specifically designed to recover and return to business as usual following a cyberattack.
The key tenets of a cybersecurity-minded disaster recovery plan
Implement layered solutions
If your cybersecurity strategy has a single point of failure, with no backup solution to fall back on, then it places your organization at a high risk of being impacted by cyberattacks. If that one point of failure is breached, then everything is lost.
With that in mind, it’s vital you implement layered solutions that serve as fail-safes for one another.
Specifically, you will need to deploy preventative tactics like antivirus software and firewalls. You also must institute stringent access control measures to limit who can access your network.
Another facet of your layered approach should include managing software patches. Whenever developers release updates or patches for their applications, these updates should be implemented as soon as possible. Each patch fixes bugs, improves functionality, and bolsters any potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
Know the threat landscape
How do you plan to create an effective cybersecurity strategy if you don’t know what challenges you should prepare for? The answer is you simply can’t.
Without a strong working knowledge of the threat landscape, the process of creating your strategy will involve far too much guesswork. This approach can cause you to misallocate resources—or potentially overlook a particular threat altogether.
That’s why you should do your research and familiarize yourself with the various cyber threats that businesses face today. Some of the most common examples include ransomware attacks and phishing schemes. Once you better understand the threats you’re facing, you can educate your team and implement preventative measures.
Take a proactive security posture
Every great cybersecurity strategy contains several reactive processes that aren’t activated unless an attack takes place. While these reactive tactics will always have a place in cybersecurity, the overarching theme of your strategy should be proactivity.
You can be proactive in several ways, the most important of which is constantly monitoring your network and scanning for potential threats. When an abnormality is detected, your team can take action to protect your digital assets, contain the potential breach, and secure your network. For SaaS applications in particular, having a SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) solution in place is ideal.
A proactive stance can minimize the impact of a data breach and help keep data out of the hands of cybercriminals.
Gauge your incident response capabilities
Having a plan in place is a great first step. But how do you know if that plan will effectively contain a breach and protect your assets?
If you want to test the efficacy of your cybersecurity disaster recovery plan, run drills and measure their results. During the drill, track relevant metrics to determine whether your plan is living up to expectations.
After each drill, meet with your team to discuss what went right and what didn’t. With this approach, you can continually improve your plan and address vulnerabilities. You can and should repeat this process indefinitely.
How to implement a cybersecurity strategy
Based on the key tenents explained above, here are six practical steps to implementing a cybersecurity strategy:
1. Assess the Risk: Conduct a risk assessment to identify potential security threats and vulnerabilities. Knowing this information will ensure your training program is relevant and effective at getting employees to make wise business and personal data security decisions.
2. Develop a Security Plan: Based on the risk assessment, develop a comprehensive security plan that outlines the steps necessary to protect your organization’s systems and data. Your cybersecurity program should include things like asset management, identity, and access management, endpoint protection, email security, network security, and vulnerability management, just to name a few.
3. Implement Security Controls: Implement the security controls outlined in the security plan. This may include technologies such as firewalls, antivirus software, encryption, and access control systems.
4. Monitor and Respond: When it comes to responding to a cyber incident, your organization should define a formal incident response plan (IRP) that specifies exactly how different types of cyberattacks should be identified, contained, and resolved. An effective incident response plan can help cybersecurity teams detect and contain cyber threats and restore affected systems faster, and reduce the lost revenue, regulatory fines, and other costs associated with these threats.
5. Train Employees: Security awareness education and training is another key part of an effective security program. Employees are typically the last line of defense if technical security controls fail to block a malicious email, website, or file download. Ensuring the security team is doing its part to continually remind employees of best practices and common types of scams is crucial.
6. Test and Review: Regularly test the security controls and review the security plan to ensure it is up to date. Also, validate plans and procedures to ensure they address and mitigate the impact of a cyber-attack.
Cybersecurity strategy solutions from Own
If you want to ensure your organization is resilient in the face of cyberthreats, you need to incorporate cybersecurity measures into your overall disaster recovery plan. By enacting a plan focused on both the key elements of proactive data security, as well as automated data backup and recovery, you can be well positioned to fortify data security and recover from data loss and corruption.
At Own, our market-leading backup and recovery solution, Own Recover, is currently available for Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and ServiceNow customers. And with Own Secure, we can assess your current Salesforce implementation and how it aligns to your policies around data classification, access controls, Salesforce Shield Platform Encryption, data retention, and compliance audits.