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At the start of every year, many businesses will dedicate time to comb through budgets, procedures, and quarterly plans in an effort to organize themselves for the year ahead. While some budgets account for antivirus software and other cybersecurity resources, many fail to calculate the costs of losing precious data through natural disasters, human error, or ransomware.
In its 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report, IBM reported the average total cost of a data breach amounts to $3.86 million — a number that can have lasting, damaging effects on a business. Aside from impacting an organization’s finances, data breaches can also lead to data loss, which would impact customers and future business. This year, businesses must also continue to consider how remote work and the potential for a hybrid working model will factor into their ability to safeguard data.
As employees were scattered across makeshift home offices in response to the pandemic last year, the work from home environment contributed to a rise in cybercrime, with a growing number of security incidents reported due to email phishing attacks. With vaccine rollout expected to take up at least half of the year and growing trends that favored remote work pre-pandemic, businesses can continue to expect much of their workforce will remain distributed.
Remote work environments lead to an increased reliance on email, messaging software, video conferencing tools, and other forms of communication to maintain business continuity. As such, it is no surprise that these platforms have become major targets for cybercrime. At the start of the pandemic, confusion and a lack of information around the coronavirus led to increased email phishing scams around research, testing, and general misinformation, much of which has extended to scams around vaccines in recent months.
As employers begin the new year by working out how to strike a balance between maintaining their employees’ physical safety with business continuity, many are left wondering how they can secure their data, especially if resources are limited? The answer lies in ensuring employees are practicing a few simple steps, such as looking out for suspicious email addresses, thinking twice before clicking links, implementing strong passwords, and questioning requests for personal information. Additionally, employers and IT teams should emphasize the importance of regularly updating software, using approved devices, and backing up their data.
By implementing and maintaining an effective backup strategy, data is protected from accidents and cyberattacks. While simple, this step can thwart the most advanced attacks, which underscores the importance of ensuring remote employees are regularly backing up their data.
A popular backup method is the 3-2-1 backup rule, which includes a minimum of three different copies of data saved across multiple locations to help organizations quickly and easily recover data and avoid disruption. With this method, data should be stored on the computer, on local storage, and on an off-site storage. This can consist of disks, the cloud, NAS devices, and tapes, all of which are easily accessible and vary in price points to suit business needs.
As employees continue to settle into working from their home offices and organizations prepare for the future, ensuring data is protected will remain a priority throughout this year. Without the constant presence of IT teams, it is essential that organizations implement the 3-2-1 backup rule and remind employees to remain vigilant against mounting threats.