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When you look at all the ways that your data can be placed at risk, it can be pretty discouraging. As discussed in our last two blogs, data is at risk from bad actors, failed hardware, human error and external events largely beyond anyone’s control. However, there are a range of solutions, some of which can be money-saving, that can help mitigate risk. Here are four key areas on which to focus.

 

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Aside from human error and the work of bad actors, our data faces others risks. In particular, the failure of your hardware and software to protect as designed, and the numerous external threats that exist, largely beyond anyone’s control.

 

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With the news cycle dominated by data that has been stolen by cybercriminals, it is easier to overlook the other, sometimes benign ways your data may be placed at risk and become inaccessible to your employees and customers.

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Disaster recovery is a basic element of good business continuity planning. Business continuity planning refers to the broad range of plans created so that a business–that includes veterinary practices–can continue to be operational no matter what negative event might occur. Business continuity planning addresses severe, catastrophic events, loss of the lead doctor, director, or other principals in the organization, severe natural disasters that incapacitate a physical location, etc. Disaster recovery planning is one piece of this broad planning. Specifically, disaster recovery plans refer to how to quickly recover from some event that compromises your IT infrastructure.

 

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We hear routinely in the news that a major corporation or government agency has had its data integrity compromised, with millions of pieces of personal data accessed. In these cases the criminals behind the attack hope to get money by selling that data to other criminals. In the case of ransomware, the criminals want your money, and try to get it by holding your data hostage. Plain, old fashioned kidnapping with a hi-tech spin.

What can you do to avoid falling victim?

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There are many threats to the integrity of a small business, and not all of them are as dramatic as a cyberattack or a hurricane. Every small business needs to do a risk assessment to determine all the threats that exist that could bring harm. External threats are the ones that get the the most attention. These can be big snowstorms or hurricanes that bring down power lines and network connections. They can also be man-made. A power outage due to a grid failure, or an act of terror. Also in this category are phishing scams, cyber attacks and data theft from external sources.

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BYOD refers to a firm’s policy of allowing employees to use their own personal phones, tablets and laptops for all their work applications.This is a pretty common policy, and it has many benefits, but it brings along risks. How are you addressing these risks?

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Disaster recovery and business continuity plans are issues that almost all small businesses fail to think about. More frequently, they decide they haven’t the resources to address such “unthinkables.”

If your business was down for 1-2 days or more, what costs would you incur?

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You use the cloud and don’t even know it. Do you go to Amazon and create a wishlist? Do you have an email account on Yahoo? That is cloud computing. All your emails are stored on Yahoo servers somewhere. They are on physical servers, of course, but they aren’t on your laptop. The advantage is that when you spill your coffee onto the laptop keyboard, you haven’t lost all your emails even if you never backed up your hard drive. (If you haven’t, shame on you, by the way.)

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Most businesses are now technology dependent. This means security concerns aren’t just worrisome to large corporate enterprises anymore, but also the neighborhood sandwich shop, the main street tax advisor, and the local non-profit. Regardless of size or type, practically any organization has valuable digital assets and data that should not be breached under any circumstances.

This makes it the responsibility of every business, especially those collecting and storing customer/client information, to implement a multi-pronged approach to safeguard such information.

Yes, we’re looking at you, Mr. Pizza Shop Owner who has our names, addresses, phone numbers, and credit card information stored to make future ordering easier and hassle free.

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