The Role of IT Support In A Data Loss Prevention Strategy

data loss prevention strategies

Data loss prevention strategies have become a critical component in the continuity of businesses. Given the majority of businesses rely on consumer data to understand markets, build relationships with customers and partners, and provide insights that enable executives to make informed decisions and deploy key strategic initiatives.

There is no doubt that data can help to fuel and grow your business. However, thanks to dodgy data protection laws, storing third-party data can wipe out your business.

Since the introduction of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), a significant number of SMEs are forced to close their doors following a data breach. ICO penalties, legal costs and the loss of customers due to reputational damage is a financial burden most UK businesses cannot carry.

The British Chambers of Commerce (allegedly) found that 93% of UK businesses file for bankruptcy within a year if they are unable to recover data within 10 days. 50% fold immediately.

It’s worth noting that data loss can be caused in a number of ways; power outage, employee error, cyberattack, flood, fire and more.

With this in mind, the sensible solution is to protect your data by preventing the potential loss of data. Some IT support firms say that data loss is inevitable. But we say, so is data protection.

If you do lose data, you can get it back!

Cloud Migration

Cloud storage is central to a data loss prevention strategy. Migrating data to the cloud ensures your data is recoverable, this significantly minimising the risk of a complete data wipeout.

Cloud servers distribute data across multiple geographically dispersed data centres. The redundancy of cloud architecture ensures that data is replicated across multiple locations, reducing the risk of data loss due to hardware failures, natural disasters, or other unforeseen events.

In addition, cloud platforms offer automated backup which involves snapshotting features. This enables IT support teams to schedule regular data backups and point-in-time snapshots of their cloud-based resources. These backups and snapshots provide a reliable mechanism for recovering data in the event of accidental deletion, corruption, or system failures.

Cloud migration

Cloud storage services often include versioning and revision history features, which track changes made to files and documents over time. This functionality allows users to revert to previous versions of their data, providing an additional layer of protection against data loss caused by accidental or malicious alterations.

Access to revision histories is even more critical now that productivity suites such as Microsoft Word, Apple Pages and Google Docs have autosave features and have dispensed with pop-up prompts confirming you want to save a document.

How many times have you absent-mindedly closed a document and immediately regretted it. The prompt feature was a useful tool that gave you a moment’s hesitation to consider whether you wanted to save changes.

Cloud infrastructure is also designed to deliver high availability and fault tolerance. Redundant networking, computing, and storage resources are built into the underlying architecture. This design ensures that cloud-based applications and data remain accessible even in the event of hardware failures or network disruptions

Monitoring and alerting tools built into cloud platforms also allow IT support teams to track the health and performance of their cloud-based resources in real-time. By monitoring key metrics such as storage utilisation, network latency, and system availability, organisations can identify potential issues early and take proactive measures to prevent data loss.

Regular Data Backups

Regular data backups play a crucial role in protecting against data loss by creating copies of important files and information that can be restored in the event of accidental deletion, corruption, or system failure.

Data backups involve creating redundant copies of critical data and storing them in separate locations from the original source. This redundancy ensures that even if the primary data is lost or compromised, a recent backup copy can be used to restore the information.

As mentioned above, cloud architecture is purposefully designed to facilitate data recovery by storing data in several locations that are independent of each other. Some companies also utilise hybrid cloud infrastructure to store information they prefer not to share with cloud providers.

The beauty of regular backups is they offer ‘point-in-time recovery’ by taking snapshots of data from a specific moment in time. This capability is valuable for recovering from data corruption or malicious attacks such as ransomware.

Ransomware attacks encrypt data and demand payment for decryption keys, often resulting in data loss if backups are not available. Regular backups can mitigate the impact of ransomware attacks by providing clean copies of data that can be restored without paying the ransom.

However, most business data is lost due to accidental deletion. Regular backups provide a safety net by allowing users to restore deleted files or recover previous versions of documents that may have been overwritten.

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Thus data backups are essential for maintaining business continuity. By restoring critical data from backups, organisations minimise downtime and resume normal operations much more quickly, and most times almost immediately.

To ensure the effectiveness of backup procedures, IT support professionals should regularly test and validate backup systems. This involves simulating data recovery scenarios and verifying that backups are successfully restoring data as expected.

Cybersecurity Strategies

Preventing data loss is not possible without a cybersecurity strategy. As you are aware, a data breach is punishable under GDPR and any data theft or accidental loss during a security breach has to be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office and affected parties within 72 hours.

Whereas most SMEs will be able to absorb a 2% financial penalty, the obligation to inform customers that you lost their data is the crippler. According to one report 66% of customers do not stay with a company following a data breach.

We’ve written about effective cybersecurity strategies on many occasions so won’t go over old ground again here. In brief, you can provide substantial protection for your data using data encryption protocols, endpoint security solutions, and implementing access controls and user permissions together with firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) to monitor and protect network traffic.

If you want to read more about this is detail, take a look at our article titled, Cybersecurity Strategies Don’t Have To Be Expensive and for the latest in advanced IT security technologies, Cybersecurity Strategies for 2023.

The most important strategy in any cybersecurity plan should be to educate employees about data security best practices identify where and how threat actors attack, and how to prevent downloading malware or sending sensitive data to unauthorised parties. Keep clued up on the latest hacking techniques threats use to trick unsuspecting employees.

Disaster Recovery Protocols

Disaster recovery protocols help to mitigate the number of lost hours or days you are without critical. An effective disaster recovery plan includes business continuity strategies that keep downtime to the bare minimum.

Disaster recovery protocols begin with a comprehensive risk assessment to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities that could lead to data loss. This assessment helps IT executives to understand where the company is exposed to various risks and prioritise mitigation efforts accordingly.

One of the primary components of disaster recovery protocols is the implementation of the backup and replication strategies mentioned above.  Regular backups of critical data and applications ensure that copies are available in the event of data loss or corruption. Replication ensures that data is duplicated across multiple locations or systems, providing redundancy and resilience.

One option to protect data in a disaster recovery plan is to utilise cloud-based backup solutions. The other option is to utilise offsite servers. This helps to protect against localised disasters such as fires, floods, or physical damage to on-premises infrastructure. However, there is no guarantee that offsite servers will not also be captured by ransomware hackers. Cloud storage is the best option to keep out bad actors.

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Cloud backup solutions also offer scalability, accessibility, and automated backup processes, simplifying data protection efforts. In addition to backups, cloud solutions can include provisions for failover and redundancy. Failover mechanisms automatically redirect traffic or workload to redundant systems or alternate data centres in the event of hardware failures, network outages, or other disruptions. Redundant systems provide resilience and ensure continuous availability of critical services and data.

We also recommend regular testing and validation of backup and recovery procedures. Conducting disaster recovery drills and simulations to assess the effectiveness of your protocols identifies potential gaps or weaknesses, and keeps you time to refine prevention and recovery strategies accordingly.

Managed IT Data Protection Software

The final option in a data loss prevention strategy is to deploy managed IT data protection (MDP) software to safeguard data and facilitate efficient recovery in case of unexpected events.

MDP utilises a blend of various tools, methodologies, and strategies to validate the successful execution of all data protection processes. Crucially, this software helps to meet regulatory compliance requirements by implementing data retention policies, audit trails, and reporting mechanisms. These features ensure that organisations can demonstrate compliance with industry-specific regulations and standards.

At its core, MDP embodies a mindset that embraces industry best practices to guarantee the comprehensive protection of all data assets. In the past, manual management methods may have sufficed for simple infrastructures and basic data protection solutions. However, as technology evolves, this approach is no longer adequate.

With the integration of cloud resources, infrastructures have grown increasingly intricate and diverse, posing challenges for manual management. Modern businesses grapple with the complexities of managing data silos, dispersed data, and decentralised systems. Given the paramount importance of enterprise data and the stringent regulatory compliance standards associated with handling sensitive information, efficient tools are indispensable for ensuring robust data protection.

data loss prevention strategies

Managed IT data loss prevention strategies continuously monitor the health and integrity of data storage systems and perform automated backups. This proactive monitoring allows IT professionals to identify and address potential issues before they escalate into data loss events, such as hardware failures or storage corruption.

Like cloud platforms, managed software solutions include encryption and other security measures to ensure that data backups prevent unauthorised access. Encryption techniques scramble data during transmission and storage, preventing sensitive information from being compromised in the event of a breach.

Most managed IT data protection solutions also offer versioning and point-in-time recovery capabilities, allowing companies to restore data to specific points in time. This feature is valuable for recovering from data corruption, accidental deletion, or ransomware attacks by providing access to clean copies of data from different time intervals.

MDP software can also help IT executives develop and implement comprehensive disaster recovery plans. These plans outline procedures for recovering data and restoring operations in the event of a disaster, such as natural disasters, cyberattacks, or hardware failures.

To ensure the effectiveness of data protection measures, managed IT solutions often include regular testing and validation procedures. IT professionals can simulate data loss scenarios and verify that backup systems are functioning as expected, allowing for prompt adjustments and improvements if necessary.

Managed IT Support in London

Data prevention loss strategies typically include solutions that require specialist knowledge, namely cloud configuration and cybersecurity strategies. It’s worth noting that a high percentage of data breaches are caused by misconfigured cloud applications.

Our experienced IT support professionals in London can help to formulate a data loss prevention strategy. With expertise in cloud architecture and cybersecurity, our specialists help to mitigate the risks associated with data loss and keep downtime to a minimum.

We work closely with our clients to determine your precise needs and customise a comprehensive data loss prevention strategy that works for you and is within your budgetary limits.

Data loss prevention strategies typically include automated data backups, regular security assessments, continuous monitoring, strong identity and access management practices, encryption of sensitive data, adherence to compliance standards, and cybersecurity awareness training for employees.

Additionally, we recommend your employees be periodically informed about evolving hacking techniques and deploy best practices for securing their personal devices and your business network.

For more information and support, contact Micro Pro today and speak with one of our cybersecurity specialists for a no-obligation consultation.

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