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Are your backup and disaster recovery strategies robust enough to support your company in the face of a widespread disaster?

While many companies are asking that question over the past few weeks, being proactive about creating and maintaining a backup and disaster recovery plan isn’t a new concept for organizations.

Thousands of companies are faced with business disruptions on an annual basis due to natural disasters or other unexpected events.

The uncertainty of the world around us demands that IT and business teams work together to form a cohesive strategy that will help maintain consistent operations in the face of overwhelming odds and unexpected circumstances — the definition of a business continuity strategy.

Even if your company doesn’t currently have a plan in place, it’s not too late to review procedures and focus on the most important tactics in the event of extended interruptions to our daily lives.

Cloud-Based Backup Reduces Risk of Data Loss

Fully automated backup and disaster recovery solutions are available, but not all services are alike.

For instance, the CoreBDR solution from Coretelligent provides your organization with granular, fast and efficient backups that help reduce the risk associated with data loss when your staff members and contractors are working remotely.

This is a shift from backup strategies that have been employed in the past, which may require the physical presence of staff members onsite at a data center.

With automation supported by industry-leading software solutions and trained IT service providers, you gain an added peace of mind knowing that your business systems can be quickly restored or accessed remotely when needed.

Supporting Your Mobile Workforce

A crisis can change in days, leaving you with little time to purchase, provision and deploy a suite of devices to staff members in remote locations.

In this situation, it’s particularly critical to ensure that staff members understand the security principles needed for secure storage of company data and how to remotely access business applications.

Without access to company laptops or desktops that already contain solutions such as cloud-based data sync and direct connections to on-premise business applications and data, employees may resort to sharing directly from their personal machines or creating data connections that are less-than-secure.

Reduce this possibility by quickly rolling out standards and protocol for creating secure connections for a variety of different working configurations.

Protecting SaaS Data

There are companies such as Google and Microsoft that we can feel confident trusting that our business data will be fully protected in the event of a widescale disaster, but what about smaller SaaS providers?

Business data stored with mid-tier cloud software providers may also be at risk depending on the terms of your individual agreements.

Now is the ideal time to ensure that your digital assets are fully protected and that you will still be able to access vital structures and business systems during a protracted interruption in daily life — either for your company or that of your service provider.

While it would have been impossible to predict the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the world, many of the strategies that you put in place with a traditional backup and disaster recovery strategy would translate well to this situation.

From protecting staff members and their personal information to ensuring that your remote access procedures have the highest level of security, IT teams are struggling to find their focus in this “new normal”.

Fortunately, the experts at Coretelligent have over a decade of experience working with organizations from a variety of industries to create proactive backup and disaster recovery strategies that can be quickly and securely executed based on the needs of your company.

Contact the Coretelligent team at 855-841-5888 or via email to info@coretelligent.com to schedule your complimentary initial consultation. You can also review our COVID-19 response page, download a quick business continuity checklist or view our tips for working remotely

Cybersecurity for RIAs

Cybersecurity for RIAsOn February 9th, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted to create new and amend existing rules around cybersecurity risk management for registered investment advisers (RIAs) and funds.

“The proposed rules and amendments are designed to enhance cybersecurity preparedness and could improve investor confidence in the resiliency of advisers and funds against cybersecurity threats and attacks,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler.

The rules would oblige RIA firms to develop and implement written policies and procedures to reduce cybersecurity risks that could harm clients and fund investors. The proposed regulations would also force advisers to report cybersecurity incidents like data breaches involving client information to the SEC.

Additionally, the proposed changes call for publicly disclosing cybersecurity risks and any significant incidents from the last two fiscal years in their marketing materials and registration statements. The SEC is also proposing new recordkeeping requirements to improve the availability of cybersecurity-related information and help streamline the SEC’s inspection and enforcement capacity.

Reach out if your firm needs assistance complying with and implementing these and other cybersecurity compliance standards. Coretelligent offers solutions, including CoreArmor and CoreBDR, to meet the compliance requirements and security needs of the RIAs, advisory firms, and other financial advisors. With over 16+ years of practice helping clients navigate a multitude of IT compliance regulations and strengthening their cybersecurity program, we can help your firm understand and meet its regulatory requirements.

 

How to Effectively Assess Enterprise Backup Solutions?Disasters and cyber-attacks happen, but data loss does not have to be inevitable. Data loss can be avoided or mitigated with a robust backup and disaster recovery solution (BDR). Surviving a catastrophic data loss event depends on choosing the right BDR solution. But you need to understand the critical components in order to successfully evaluate enterprise backup solutions.

What is BDR?

Comprehensive BDR solutions offer recovery options for various data loss scenarios. Determining the correct solution is a deliberate and tactical process that evaluates business data, applications, operations, and risk exposure.

Solutions often include a hybrid of daily backups and more frequent replication of virtual servers to a secondary storage site for rapid recovery. They may also include cloud-to-cloud (C2C) backup, especially for companies that use SaaS applications like Microsoft365. Daily backups provide long-term recovery capabilities. While backup replication allows for the rapid failover of business operations to a disaster recovery (DR) site.

At this point, it’s important to point out the pitfall of relying on a primary cloud provider as a backup source for your data. Several of the larger cloud services note that they are not responsible for maintaining the integrity of data stored on their systems. Instead, it is critical to choose a BDR partner with an appropriate backup and disaster recovery solution. A true BDR solution involves more than just having a second copy of your data. A BDR process ensures that your data is redundant, accessible, and viable.

What Does a Secure BDR Solution Encompass?

Every company has its own set of data recovery requirements. Therefore, recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) will vary. RPOs identify how often data should be backed up or replicated. In contrast, a RTO describes how quickly data can be recovered.

Furthermore, regulatory or compliance standards must be evaluated to see whether they have any consequences for data security. For example, financial services and life science companies are subject to stringent rules regarding the protection of digital assets.

Another necessary element in a data backup and disaster recovery strategy is developing and documenting a BDR plan. A BDR plan includes procedures for recovering data and systems, testing and validation methods, and identifying essential recovery personnel. This plan is crucial to ensure business continuity.

A final must-have component for any BDR plan is testing the recovery process regularly. Any difficulties or failures discovered throughout the testing process can be recorded and analyzed for modifications to the BDR strategy. In addition, test laboratories can be set up within a “sandbox” environment to minimize disruption to the manufacturing environment.


The ABCs of BDR WhitepaperWhite Paper Download

The ABCs of Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR)

This white paper explains how data loss occurs, how backup and disaster recovery (BDR) works and helps you understand what to plan for and how to evaluate your BDR solution.

Three Core Principles

Whatever your BDR strategy entails, it should provide the core values of scalability, reliability, and resiliency.

  • Scalable BDR solutions expand as your business grows without exceptional effort by your team.
  • Whether on-premise or a cloud backup, a reliable solution is fully redundant and accessible from any physical location.
  • Resiliency requires protecting data from ransomware attacks and other threats.

Advanced recovery solutions take a multi-pronged approach in managing risk, including a dedicated team of professionals available for client support.

A Trusted BDR Partner

CoreBDR, Coretelligent’s fully managed backup and disaster recovery solution, meets the data protection requirements of the digital enterprise. CoreBDR offers secure, high-performance, cloud-based backup and restoration to deliver operational resiliency to your organization. CoreBDR is available for organizations with on-premise infrastructure and cloud environments and can be customized to fit your business operations. Our expert team has deep experience delivering to clients of all sizes in financial services, life sciences, and other industries.

Coretelligent logo & three professionals using a computer.

Data Loss PreventionsWe all know how stressful it is to lose something. If you’ve ever lost your wallet, you know the consequences can drag on for some time. You need to contact your credit card companies and bank, request a new license, and update accounts with new card information. Even if everything works out, the fear of what happened to your lost information may last a while. Now imagine if you were an organization that lost hundreds of thousands of records containing personally identifiable information (PII) or personal health information (PHI). This year alone, several major companies like Marriott, Nintendo, and Intel experienced data breaches. Intel had 20 GB of proprietary data leaked, which included information on products that haven’t been released yet.

Data loss can result from many factors, including internal and external threats, system errors, or even human behavior. Regardless of the cause, there are steps that your business can take to prevent data loss and reduce the length and overall cost of damages. The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) notes data loss prevention as a critical area in their report on Cybersecurity and Resilience Observations.

What is Data Loss Prevention?

Data loss prevention involves having systems, tools, policies, and training to prevent data from being misused, lost, or accessed by unauthorized users. Preventing data loss is especially crucial for businesses that handle sensitive information like personally identifiable information (PII), intellectual property (IP), and personal health information (PHI). IBM’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report found that PII was compromised more than any other data type. PII also cost businesses more, up to $175 per record.

For those in highly regulated industries, like financial services and life sciences, data loss prevention is required. Data management and security are crucial elements in FDA Title 21, CFR Part 11, HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), FINRA, and SEC rule 17a-4. Keep in mind that many of these regulations require preventative measures, specific actions, and documentation in the event of a data breach.

The Cost of Data Loss

Whether you experience data leakage from an inside user or permanent data loss from a malicious attack, there are long term consequences. Decreased productivity, tarnished reputation, legal fees, and remediation expenses are only a few of the costs. For many organizations, it can take years to recover from the damage. Unfortunately, some businesses don’t survive and are forced to close.

Even if you experience a breach, having a data loss prevention strategy can reduce the costs. The average cost of a breach is $3.86 million. Data loss prevention can reduce the overall cost of a breach by $164,386, according to IBM’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report.

Developing a Strategy

To meet compliance standards and secure your data, your organization needs to have a comprehensive security plan that includes preventative and responsive actions.

Develop Comprehensive Policies

When we think about cybersecurity and data protection, we often think of technology. Although technology is a significant factor in security, policies set the tone for the organization and provide guidance on which technology solutions are needed. A lack of policies and procedures can undermine even the best technologies.

Create an Asset Inventory

You can’t protect your data if you don’t know where it is. Develop an asset inventory that lists all of your data, where it lives, and how it’s being protected. Be sure to note your critical assets and systems that would affect your business operations.

Assess and Treat Vulnerabilities

To understand how your organization could experience data loss, you need to be aware of what vulnerabilities exist in your environment. Run regular vulnerability assessments and penetration tests to stay on top of your current weaknesses.

Create and implement treatment plans for discovered vulnerabilities, e.g., patch management schedule, awareness training, and comprehensive policies.

Implement Access Control

Determine paths of ingress and egress for sensitive information. Determine who has access to sensitive data and implement the principal of least privilege to ensure that access is restricted to only those that should have it. Ensure access and usage are audited. Implement appropriate restrictions and logging at all points of egress. This may include digital rights management to protect sensitive documents even if they are distributed.

Conduct Security Awareness Training

Since risky human behaviors are among the top causes of data breaches, it’s essential to conduct quarterly or semi-annual security awareness training. Training raises awareness and provides users with the skills to identify malicious emails and phishing tactics. It also teaches them what steps to take if they have received this type of content.

Implement Perimeter and Endpoint Security

Remote work isn’t going away anytime soon. The perimeter of your network is no longer limited to the boundaries your office or datacenter. You need to ensure that you have total visibility into all incoming and outgoing network traffic, including your endpoints. Implement firewalls, endpoint protection platforms, and email security. These tools will give your IT team or MSP the visibility they need and the ability to respond to threats quickly.

Having a dedicated security team to actively monitor your environment around the clock allows them to respond quickly to suspicious activities occurring on your network.

Properly Dispose of Legacy Systems

Remove software that is no longer receiving security patching from the vendor. Ensure that all sensitive data is removed when disposing of outdated software and hardware. Use disposal or recycling vendors that provide a certificate of destruction.

Create a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan

Unfortunately, even with the best security measures in place, data loss can be inevitable. That’s why you need to have regular and tested backups along with a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. A plan will help your organization maintain business continuity and compliance while addressing a disaster or breach.

Staying Compliant and Protecting Your Data

Data loss can have a significant and irreversible impact on your business. Data loss prevention is an essential component of your overall security posture. To be compliant, you must secure and monitor your data continuously. New threats and vulnerabilities exist every day. It can be challenging to balance security, compliance, and day-to-day support. Coretelligent can help you whether you need a strategic partner to co-manage IT, fully managed IT support or comprehensive security solutions. We understand the unique needs of organizations in highly regulated industries like financial services and life sciences. Do you need help strengthening your security or have questions around IT compliance? We are here to help. Call us at 855-841-5888 or contact us.

Read our white paper to learn how you can maintain IT compliance in a digital enterprise.