The Data Dilemma: How Do You Protect Your Organisation’s Most Valuable Currency?

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Whether you’re a retailer or a school, a healthcare service or in accounting, your organisation depends on data. In this digital era, the way we store, manage and protect information is a critical aspect of doing business, and new legislation has put data protection high on the priority list of management.

Think for a moment about what would happen if your organisation lost access to its data. How long could you continue operations without email, customer information or payment systems? Research shows that 71% of organisations can tolerate less than one hour of downtime for critical applications before involving a failover1.

Downtime is costly. Aside from the direct outcomes, like losing sales or missing opportunities, the loss of reputation is significant. When Australian supermarket Coles recently experienced issues with its online shopping system, it moved quickly into damage control mode, offering credit for in-store shopping and free delivery when everything was back up and running.

While such customer retention moves may have been costly, in a competitive market, the measures were undoubtedly weighed carefully against the brand value. For many smaller businesses, without such corporate resources, getting taken offline, whether by equipment failure, human error or ransomware, can be hard to survive.

There’s a new issue at play here too. Australia introduced mandatory data breach reporting legislation in 2018, with financial penalties for non-compliance. Anyone doing business with the European Union, the USA and Canada, among others, will also need to familiarise themselves with their obligations.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though. IT vendors have been investing heavily in improved data protection features in their products. HPE’s StoreOnce storage range, for example, matches flash-speed data protection on-premise with low-cost archive and disaster recovery in the cloud. The new range also tackles complexity and visibility, in a pay-as-you-grow model.

Reducing complexity and increasing visibility are some of the most powerful weapons in data protection. Working with your IT partner to select products that integrate well and share intelligence is a huge help, while automation reduces the possibility of errors and enables a faster response to security risks.

One of the most common security issues we encounter is easily addressed – making sure all updates and patches are applied promptly. The end-of-support of popular software such as Windows 7 is also something every business should be conscious of – if you’re still running Windows 7 and don’t yet have an upgrade plan, now is a good time to start. Of course, these activities can be time-consuming, but they are vital, so it is worth enlisting a little help if you’re already juggling too many tasks.

Organisational culture is another key protection that is often overlooked. Many cyber-attacks gain access via unsafe websites, phishing emails and a range of sneaky tactics, but this risk is greatly reduced when a culture of security is instilled in staff. When everyone understands the immense value of data, and is well-informed about current risk, the entire organisation and its customers become safer.

Compliance with new regulations and protecting data is a challenge for every organisation. Time to ensure your data is available whenever you need it? Chat with Area9’s friendly security experts today.

1 Real-world SLAs and Availability Requirements, ESG Master Survey Results, May 2018