For your data protection and business continuity strategy to be effective, it must cover risks that emanate from the inside as well as from the outside. Employees that represent a threat to your business typically fall into five categories.
Here we detail the data protection challenges they pose - and the best way to tackle them so that business continuity is maintained.
Software vendor releases are promoted as being tried and trusted, but it’s impossible to be sure how they will perform until they are installed in your unique production environment.
If an employee fails to test all changes, prior to them being released onto production systems, there are risks.
Patches sometimes introduce more issues than they are supposed to fix, while upgrades have been known to break links to integrated systems.
For example, parenting site Mumsnet reported itself to the Information Commissioner's Office after an upgrade led users to see details of other accounts.
Solution: Make use of data management services that allow administrators to create isolated test and development environments from backups.
By making these available over the network for software version testing, analytics and patch tests, you can avoid bad software from being deployed in the first place.
2) The vengeful wrongdoer
Putting an accurate figure on the true number of malicious employees purposefully harming a company is difficult.
Organisations are typically too embarrassed to admit that relations with an individual have deteriorated to such an extent that they have become victims.
A major trigger for employees to delete Office 365 data maliciously is a company merger or acquisition.
Staff with broad security privileges can cause havoc by deleting large volumes of data or even deliberately introducing corrupting software.
Research released by the Ponemon Institute in January reveals a dramatic increase in both the frequency of insider threats and their financial cost to businesses since 2018.
Although malicious criminal insider threats made up just 14% of incidents, the financial ramifications were still significant, with researchers recording a per-incident cost of 756,000 dollars and annual losses of 4.08m dollars.
The report, "2020 Cost of Insider Threats: Global," shows that the average global cost of insider threats rose by 31% in two years to 11.45m dollars.
Detection of these malicious activities is always going to be difficult when the perpetrators are trusted individuals. The most common employee attack is to delete software, files, emails and SharePoint folders prior to their termination.
Solution: Minimise the potential negative impact of employees by limiting their access to only the data they need to do their jobs.
Choose a data management provider that has processes in place to avoid the immediate deletion of data and the capability to allow you to recover data quickly.You should also be looking for two-factor authentication to help protect and streamline user access. Ideally the encryption key should be set by you, so you can block unauthorised access.
In the event of an issue what is the longest downtime your organisation would find acceptable?
- 5 to 10 minutes
- 30 minutes
- An hour
- Two hours
- Half a day
- A day or longer
Malware attacks are among the biggest causes of lost business productivity - and it’s important to remember that ALL employees are potential ransomware targets.
If a workforce is to know how to identify and avoid infections, the organisation will need to educate employees with relevant training.
However, the fact remains that one ill-advised click is all it takes to leave the business wide open to an attack. With malware attacks such as ransomware evolving and becoming cleverer every day, protection faces a constant battle to keep up.
Cyberattacks are the fastest growing crime and predicted to cost the world 6 trillion dollars annually by 2021. In 2020, it’s vital that companies get data security to the top of the business agenda.
Some versions of ransomware operate in stealth mode, seeking critical files, and encrypting at a slower rate to stay under the detection radar. If no-one discovers the attack until it’s too late, the chances of a ransom being paid are more likely. Newly developed artificial intelligence exists to analyse the randomness of file changes in a bid to identify ransomware infections - but backups on your network remain highly vulnerable.
Solution: It’s almost impossible to provide 100% effective defence against a determined ransomware attack. The best way to guarantee recovery from an issue such as ransomware is by having robust, automated, isolated, offsite data protection in place.
It's critical that your backups are not permanently on the same network as your live data. If you use the cloud, ensure that your chosen service encrypts data before it leaves your devices - and that it remains encrypted at all times, in transit and in storage.
Make sure you own the encryption key and aren't required to share it at any time. That way any malware entering your network won't be able to execute on the cloud platform. It also means that only your organisation can decrypt your data.
Keeping data can be expensive, especially if employees literally save every item of data, email, file, doc or PowerPoint presentation that passes their way - just in case they ever need it again.
As information is continually captured and stored, primary storage solutions quickly reach capacity, meaning more investment is needed. This unanticipated investment in additional hardware is typically capital expenditure and can cause significant budgetary pressures.
Industry and government compliance requirements stipulate that some forms of data need to be kept for seven years or even forever. On average organisations
can expect data volumes to grow by at least 10% per year.
Storing data in the cloud is an attractive proposition when it works out at a lower cost per GB than on-prem solutions - but it’s important that any solution addresses the ever growing need for data security and 24/7/365 data access.
When considering an archiving service, it needs to be simple to manage with minimal human interaction and highly scalable to handle larger storage volumes as the business grows.
At what point would you consider archiving data? When it's not been accessed for:
- A month
- Two months
- Three months
- At least six months
- At least a year
- At least two years
What percentage of data would you archive to the cloud if you were guaranteed immediate access, should you need it back?
- 10% or less
- At least 20%
- Around 30%
- About 50%
- Around 65%
- 70% or more
Solution: Extend the life of your expensive hardware assets and delay purchasing more primary storage to cope with data growth by offloading redundant, obsolete or trivial data to the cloud when it meets specified criteria.
When choosing a fully automated, centrally managed archiving process that minimises management overheads, you should also ensure that you eliminate any delays in access to archived data.
The technology now exists to access archived data files instantly on demand from the cloud - and if the user experience remains unchanged so much the better because there will be no need for end-user training.
5) The overstretched worker
Who among us has not mistakenly, or in a rush, lost or intentionally deleted important files?
Recovering lost files can be among the most common and time-consuming tasks to plague an IT department.
There can be few IT professionals who have yet to receive a call from a colleague insisting that a vital file is missing and furthermore been told it’s a complete mystery as to how it has been lost and there’s no way of knowing who could be responsible.
In today’s on-demand world, businesses need to minimise downtime by restoring data easily and instantly from everywhere to anywhere.
Whether data is onsite, in the cloud or stored in a hybrid environment, you need to gain immediate access to critical data.
Quickly addressing these requests enables IT to focus on more business-driven objectives.
Solution: Make downtime a thing of the past. You should be able to restore data quickly and easily to its original location or a new location of choice - as often as required, at no additional charge.
There should be no need to wait for all your data to be restored before users can start accessing the files they need. The technology exists to get you up and running without waiting for a full recovery so employees are working again within seconds, not days.
After reading about the threats your employees pose to your business, is it time to re-evaluate your data protection and business continuity strategy?
Discover how redstor helps address these challenges.
What is your Recovery Point Objective?
- Instant failover
- Five minutes
- No more than 30 minutes
- An hour
- A couple of hours
- A day or more
Which of the employee types listed here gives you the most cause for concern?
- The hasty techie
- The vengeful wrongdoer
- The unwitting victim
- The data hoarder
- The overstretched worker
Data management for an on-demand world
Data Management for an On-Demand World. Take it as Red.
We are disrupting the world of data management with our pioneering technology, which provides borderless visibility and on-demand access to all your data, wherever it is stored, through a single control centre.
Trusted by more than 40,000 clients and 350 partners, we use our proven, industry-leading technology to help you discover, analyse, control and protect your critical data.
Redstor is available worldwide through a network of resellers. For further information please visit www.redstor.com.