What Does Disaster Preparedness Mean for Your Company’s Security and Technology?

Written by Emily Jones, PMP, CABM, MCITP, Warren Averett Technology Group Director of Operations on May 31, 2019

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At its core, cybersecurity is the plan for and anticipation of your business’s technology needs and protecting against its threats. While many rightly associate cybersecurity with malware and hackers, an equally important component of an effective cybersecurity plan is your business’s IT disaster protection and recovery systems.

It can be difficult to know where to begin when considering your business’s disaster preparedness, especially when it comes to your cybersecurity and information technology. That’s why we have outlined the top things to consider when evaluating your technology’s preparedness for a natural disaster so that your cybersecurity plan minimizes both risk from human threat vectors and natural disasters.

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Understand the Basic Principles of Information Security to Guide Your Plan

Before creating a plan to prepare your business’s technology for a natural disaster, it’s important to have a fundamental understanding of the most valuable principles so that your plan is grounded in the most beneficial strategy. When considering how to prepare your business’s technology for a natural disaster, properly securing information requires an understanding of three related principles: accessibility, confidentiality and integrity.

  1. Accessibility – In disaster recovery, businesses need to plan how they will get access to information from backup systems.
  2. Confidentiality – Proper backups and other systems are important, but so is securing the information so that only authorized users are able to access the unencrypted information.
  3. Integrity – Ensuring business continuity in IT requires that you think through how to maintain the integrity of your business’s IT systems throughout a natural disaster or a cybersecurity breach.

Effective cybersecurity seeks to actively and passively manage your IT to reduce the risk of a significant problem and have an action plan in place when a disaster or breach happens. As you move forward with creating a plan, these three principles can help to inform the decisions you make for your business concerning disaster preparedness. Once you’ve considered how the above principles apply to your business and its technology, you’re ready to begin assessing how to prepare for and protect against a natural disaster.

1.     Protect Your Information through Cloud Services and Information Redundancy

One of the most effective ways to ensure that your information is protected is through cloud services. Many businesses use cloud services to duplicate their information, infrastructure or software at different sites to reduce the risk of a regional disaster, like a hurricane, causing irretrievable information loss.

The Cloud describes the digital space that can be used to store information. Cloud-based infrastructure services are designed to be scalable and secure with adequate redundancy and regular backups. So, businesses will often use cloud services for their infrastructure or information so that their cloud backup will keep them from losing information and may even handle software, online services and other key business activities during the disaster and the time of recovery to follow.

2.     Evaluate Your Datacenter’s Security

Whether your business builds its own data center (the nerve center for any IT system which carries the hardware that makes the IT run), collocates in another datacenter or uses cloud services, it is important to consider the risks a datacenter faces.

Whether you are collocating your servers in a datacenter or building your own, there are specific disaster preparedness questions to consider. Where does power come from in the case the grid goes down? How many fiber connections does the datacenter have, and do they have enough diversity to keep the information flowing if there is a major outage?

Answering these questions for your servers and other mission-critical IT assets will help create a better system onsite and a stronger disaster plan.

3.     Consider Disaster Recovery in Addition to Disaster Preparedness

Having a disaster recovery plan is an essential part of having a disaster preparedness plan. Your company’s employees and customers may be significantly impacted by any event that shuts down the redundant and secure system you have put in place, so, in addition to a disaster preparedness plan, businesses should consider a disaster recovery plan to implement if a hurricane or other natural disaster strikes.

Equip your team, and ensure that your employees understand the proper protocol for a natural disaster—both before and after one may occur. Proper backups need to be offsite, accessible by authorized personnel, and in a format that can be used to quickly get a business running again if the live data is compromised by a natural disaster. Depending on your business’s needs and preferences, you may also consider electing to use a live duplicate of the system that can take over within seconds if the primary IT is compromised by a disaster. Regardless, it’s important to set forth a recovery plan in conjunction with the precautions that you set to prevent a situation that would require recovery in the first place.

Moving Forward with a Cybersecurity Disaster Plan

Considering these elements can help pave the way to effectively prepare your business for a natural disaster and protect your information. Understand the fundamentals, consider your options and make decisions based on what’s best for your business and your people.

For more information about how to mitigate risk and protect your business’s technology, click here.

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