• 20 August 2022, 02:54 AM

Author Archives: DSM Group

Four key reasons why you should backup your data

Today’s world revolves around electronic data; Business simply cannot operate without it.  No data = no business.

Data is one of the life bloods of a business; With the ever increasing risks (viruses, hackers, natural disasters, hardware failures etc.) it’s almost inevitable something will, eventually, go wrong;  It’s not an ‘if’ but more like a ‘when’. The scale of loss could be anything from a hard drive failure to a ransomware attack.

We have created a list of the four main reasons why you should ensure your data is correctly and securely backed up.

Hacking and ransomware

It is estimated around half of UK businesses faced some form of cyber-security breach in 2019/20. Most of the time the firewall and/or anti-virus software will trap the attempted infiltration however…. just like some human viruses, there’s an occasional one that gets through and causes havoc.

In extreme cases, hackers can encrypt and hold your data to ransom. If you don’t have your data backed up (effectively), the only way to recover it might be to pay them.  There is, of course, no guarantee that your data will be returned.

Ransomware or a virus may not be specifically targeted to you – they are designed to be smart and will automatically seek the weakness in IT systems then spread further and embed themselves until the circumstances are right for maximum damage.

The best way to negate a ransomware attack is to ensure your systems are correctly patched, firewalled and an effective data backup is in place.

Not all data loss is malicious

While it’s easy to think of data loss as being a purposeful act, UK government stats, indicate that the vast majority of data losses and breaches are the result of human error.

Staff within your business have to handle your data as part of their job, so there’s always a chance of data being deleted by accident. If you don’t want your company to be detrimentally impacted by a business critical file or email that’s accidentally been deleted (or maybe purposeful by a disgruntled employee), you need an effective backup solution.

Disasters happen

When protecting against data loss, businesses also need to think about the safety of the hardware that stores their data. It is often more fragile than you might think.

Disaster is often thought of as being a grand scale event eg: Fire, Flood, Explosion but, in fact, it’s often more mundane actions that cause the issues: Poor-quality electrics, leaking roof or pipe, failed air conditioning unit etc

Without an effective backup, you can seriously risk the future of your business.

Critical data loss destroys businesses

Approximately 9 out of 10 companies that lose their data for more than 10 days end up filing for bankruptcy within a year. In fact, many of those businesses file for bankruptcy immediately.

Why? The loss of data can cause significant business interruption. Most businesses simply cannot afford such downtime. Depending on the scale of the breach, a business may also be subject to regulatory fines (as a result of GDPR for example).

Data loss can also prove catastrophically damaging to reputation. Companies can find that the cost of losing (and subsequently trying to win back) customer confidence, following data loss or theft, far outweighs the actual cost of the data loss itself.

The faster you can get up and running again, the more likely you are to retain customer confidence. This is why an effective data backup is imperative.

Protecting your data

There’s a number of ways you can backup your business data however, the most recognised and effective solution is an offsite, cloud backup.  ‘Cloud’ is not a  mythical place but a purpose designed building with specialist technical staff and systems.

By working with such a specialist provider, you can ensure that your critical data is automatically backed-up  – effectively and securely and perhaps, more importantly, capable of being recovered – easily.

Don’t know where to start? We are here to work with you to create a custom backup solution for your business data.

 

Covid-19 – Home Working v Workplace Recovery

The covid-19 pandemic was/is not a ‘normal’ disaster; a normal disaster generally affects a single company whereby it is left unable to trade (normally) and amongst other things, faces loss to its competitors.   Covid-19 affected the majority of businesses and thus competitors were also closed or subject to equally disruptive service offerings. There was hence no benefit to look for alternatives – none were available.

Home working whilst popular is beginning to show its foibles.  De-centralised working in terms of technology alone is hugely problematic and requires significant and continued investment and management;  The social aspect is the subject matter of many professional scholars with numerous articles circulating; Those relating to BC focus on the cost comparison of the increased HR + IT requirement against  that of an out-sourced BC contract;  a quote taken from a recent media posting provides a view:  “Each home has its differences, each person has their differences. Combine the two and multiply by the additional tasks needed per ‘home-working-employee’ and there you have an immense management requirement which continues almost infinitum. Each house move, each home improvement, each new employee, necessitates some employer involvement.  Even in times of economic calm, the involvement is likely to cause constant grief for the employer, throw in an unforeseen event, when it is critical that differences make no difference, and the potential for business damaging mayhem is all too apparent”

Other studies have focused on well-being and in particular mental health issues brought about by isolation which is widely publicised as being on the increase.  Managing such issues in a centralised office is demanding enough but doing so on a widespread campus of decentralised home workers is fraught with complexities for which the employer is responsible and liable. Again, the problems of management become magnified when dealing with a company-wide crisis brought about by an unforeseen event.

Lockdown closed/disrupted 99% of businesses.  Everyone became frustratingly patient – but this was because they had no choice;  In a ‘normal’ crisis – where only one or a few businesses are affected – the ‘frustratingly patient’ person no longer remains ‘as patient’ – why? Because there is choice; The businesses that are closed, risk losing business to those that are open.  This is evident when seeking to buy something as simple as a sandwich; if your normal sandwich shop is closed, you’ll go elsewhere – you won’t wait.

In a ‘normal’ crisis the first few days, leading up to the first few weeks are critical.  Decentralise people with decentralised systems and there lays a good recipe for disaster. Essentially decentralising anything creates additional tasks; and no matter how much automation or planning is engaged, it is extremely unlikely the overall tasks will ever be less or even close to those of a centralised version or error free.  Keeping tasks to a minimum (and simple) in a crisis is paramount to success. Ideally the task is singular – invoke contract and carry on with business (as normal).   Centralising as much as possible is absolutely key to a smooth transition from normal-to-crisis-to-normal.

DSM’s view:  Home working is an essential BC tool – it’s one spanner of a set – however, it isn’t a spanner that fits all. Try to make it fit all and serious damage may result.

Please note: All DSM’s positions are in-line with current UK government & WHO guidelines on Social Distancing.

Cyberterrorism – The Silent Threat?

The business benefits of cloud computing are widely recognised but, for many organisations who have to comply with regulatory requirements, there is a need for evidence of enhanced security from their Data Centre partner.  Stolen or corrupt data can lead to loss of customers, high recovery costs and – most of all – a damaged reputation.  If an organisation is using a cloud solution they must rely on their supplier to provide the necessary level of security technology and processes.  In the Data Centre environment both physical and virtual security requirements must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of their customers.

The physical security of a data centre plays a significant role in ensuring information is kept safe.  Access to the site should be restricted to authorised people only and have round the clock surveillance.  Electronic access control systems as well as interior and exterior high resolution CCTV is a must and Data Centre managers must ensure that security is not compromised by failure of resources such as electricity.

Not only must the site be physically secure, the network infrastructure must also be safe from unauthorised penetration.  The scope of system security in the Data Centre should include security policies and practices, firewall protection, anti-virus software and continuous monitoring for incidents.  Automated solutions can be used to detect security breaches and to replicate data for regulatory compliance requirements.

“Data Centre security is of vital importance.  It’s up to the owner to ensure that the infrastructure is safe and all security procedures are fully documented and rigorously followed.   This allows our clients to focus on their core business without having any concerns over the safety of their data,” said John Morton, Sales Director, DSM.

New solutions are being introduced constantly to counter threats and meet compliance requirements in web application security and data security.  There is a wide range of security ‘add-ons’ including alerts to network events and real-time visibility into routing and traffic anomalies.  Many Data Centres are now using smart monitoring features such as Intrusion Detection which quickly identifies and alerts if human attackers, network worms or bots are attempting to compromise the system.

Only by ensuring their Data Centre partners are well protected and incorporating the latest security technologies can organisations be confident that their data remains safe.

colocation-hosting

Benefits of Colocation

Why Colocation?

Over the last few years you will certainly have noticed the rise of technology – how it is becoming increasingly part of our daily lifestyle, oh, and this thing called the Internet.  Well, as this has all been growing around us, protecting our data and access to our applications has become an even more vital part of business operations.  The Internet has led to the introduction of Cloud computing which is one of the most popular ways of managing data and business processes. However, many organisations have recognised that Cloud solutions may not be secure or reliable enough for their needs, especially if they operate in a regulated industry.

This is why Colocation is still a highly popular and effective solution as you can partner with a company who specialises in hosting your equipment in a secure and robust environment with full accountability for ensuring your data is not lost or compromised.  As a company that offers colocation, we would like to suggest a few reasons why it may be the best solution for your business:

Stability
First of all, stability is really the main reason people use Colocation. If your premises are hit by a disaster such as flood or a fire (though unlikely, it is possible and something you should plan for) then your data can still be accessed and recovered. Data centres used for colocation should have full resilience for power to eliminate downtime.

Security
Not only is your data not vulnerable to events in your premises, it is safe. Typically, companies that offer colocation services operate to high levels of security to ensure only authorised personnel can access your information.

Connectivity
Providers of colocation services ensure that your equipment is hosted in a controlled environment with high bandwidth speed so your equipment will run smoothly and efficiently. It is far more cost effective to use a colocation provider than to create such conditions in your own premises.

Money
Though there is no guarantee that using a colocation solution will increase your revenue, it will definitely save you money.  This saving could be re-invested in your business to grow income and profits, so there’s really no down side to this as you’re saving money either way.

So if you are not already using a colocation solution, why not consider it? DSM is a specialist company based just outside Peterborough offering a range of services such as colocation, managed hosting, system recovery and IT support to companies across the UK.

For more information on how we can help your business, please feel free to check out our Twitter pages or contact us on 03333 221100.

Top Tips For Business Continuity Management

The why and how of introducing a Business Continuity Management strategy
Business Continuity involves building resilience in your organisation by identifying its key products and services and the critical activities that underpin them, then devising strategies so that you can trade through a disruption and recover afterwards.
Most organisations recognise that they should have a Business Continuity plan in place but see it as too expensive and time consuming to address, however this doesn’t have to be the case.
The benefits of introducing continuity awareness within the company far outweigh the risks associated with just hoping bad things won’t happen (although statistically they will!). Companies are looking ever more carefully at their supply chain to identify potential weaknesses and are asking for evidence of a documented and tested strategy to prove service level agreements can be maintained in any event.
The biggest mistake is trying to do the whole process in one fell swoop which, if ever completed, is likely to be a huge document that is put on a shelf and ignored for a few years. By breaking the process down into simple manageable phases where you can tick off the “quick wins” and demonstrate progress you introduce a culture of ongoing review; it is vitally important to constantly update your recovery plans in line with business growth and operational changes.
 
Top tips for Business Continuity Management:
 

  1. Carry out regular risk assessments and take steps to eliminate, or at least minimise, potential threats to the operation of your business.
  1. Consider possible scenarios and analyse their impact on your business – forewarned is forearmed.
  1. Compile an action plan of what should be done in order to maintain Business As Usual in any event. Put formal contracts in place which will enable fast recovery of vital operations.
  1. Document key business processes and ensure no critical activities can be done only by a single individual.
  1. Review the resilience of your suppliers and their capability to meet Service Level Agreements. Consider multiple sourcing to reduce reliance on a single supplier.
  1. Protect your company information and ensure it can be accessed or rapidly restored in any event without compromising on security.
  1. Carry out regular tests to prove you can continue to function should you lose access to your premises or vital services, or in the worst case, your entire business environment.
  1. Encourage all employees to get involved with the preparation and testing of Business Continuity plans so they buy in to the importance of keeping your business alive.

To discuss your Business Continuity strategy further please contact us.