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Cybersecurity Tips For Preventing Costly Downtime

Cybersecurity Tips For Preventing Costly Downtime

These days, it feels like it’s a nonstop war against bad actors looking to force their way into your system; that we can research cybersecurity tips endlessly and put all kinds of protocols into place to ward off their attacks and limit downtime—but with little to show for it. And it seems to only be getting worse. According to Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC):

  • Approximately 50 percent of businesses experienced 24+ hours of downtime between 2014 and 2019.
  • Over 80 percent of manufacturing companies experienced similar downtimes between 2020 and 2023.
  • Today, around 40 percent of organizations that power their operations via cloud-based solutions experience attacks or attempted attacks every week.

But cyberattacks, and the resulting downtime, can halt everything and cut into your billable hours, eating away at your revenue and impacting your reputation and potentially even your viability as a company.

Of course, you can create cybersecurity plans and find ways to reduce your cyber risk—and while this is incredibly important for any business that relies on staying connected, you also need a strategy in place to recover when outages happen to prevent downtime. 

When disaster strikes, minimizing downtime is crucial. But how do you make it happen? Here are cybersecurity tips designed to get you back up and running in an era when cyber resilience is everything.

The Value of Preventing Downtime

Cybersecurity Tips - Value of Preventing Downtime - 376x281pxDowntime can be a somewhat slippery term—as it can mean lots of different things to different people. Today, we view downtime as productive time lost because of a cyber attack, impacting any IT professionals you have on staff and the other members of your team as well, possibly bleeding into every facet of your operations. 

Here are the facts on downtime today: The majority of the downtimes (and data loss) businesses experience today are the direct result of a cyber attack. Even more shocking, 78 percent of organizations shared that data incidents were the main cause of their downtime.

Sure, downtime can also happen when your business needs to perform maintenance or take time to train your team. And downtime can also be caused by internal errors or misconfigurations, equipment or system failures, natural disasters, or power outages. But today, the majority of downtime happens as a result of cyber attacks, data incidents, or other related actions of cyber criminals.

What does all this downtime cost? In terms of billable hours, a lot.

For the IT and cybersecurity professionals on your team, downtime related to a cyber incident is spent containing the leak and recovering from the fallout—and even a minor incident of this sort can take as long as eight hours to respond.

It’s not just the IT professionals who are impacted, though. The rest of your team is affected by downtime, too. You may lose time connecting with clients, making sales, or managing your operations—and your entire business may come to a standstill until the downtime is addressed, especially if your payment systems or any solutions necessary to your operations are affected. In one such example, a small manufacturer of cranes experienced a downtime caused by a spear phishing campaign that took down their email and payment systems. This manufacturer lost a reported quarter million dollars. And when the brewery Molson Coors fell prey to an attack that caused downtime in 2021, their operations were put on pause for weeks.

In 2022, attacks on critical cyber infrastructures increased by a jaw-dropping 2,000 percent, most often doing major damage to critical operations. Having a business continuity plan with backup protocols can keep you from scrambling when a cybersecurity attack results in downtime—but even so, only half of companies polled in 2021 reported that they had a disaster recovery plan in place.

Cybersecurity Tips for Minimizing Downtime

When bad actors attack and shut down even part of your operations, you lose billable time every minute—and it becomes a situation where disaster recovery is essential, not just for minimizing the time you’re down, but the impact as well. Having a plan can make all the difference in how well you rebound and get back in gear. Here are a few considerations to add to your disaster recovery strategy.

  1. Conduct Routine Data Backups: One of the most significant ways you can prepare for downtime is to ensure you have reliable, updated backups of your data by copying and storing this information off-site or at a separate location like an external hard drive or a cloud-based backup service. This way, if data is lost, corrupted, held for ransom, deleted, or damaged as the result of a natural disaster, you can restore your operations quickly and fully. Automated, incremental backups are the easiest way to achieve this—you don’t have to worry about whether or not your data is backed up, and only changes from the last backups are saved. And don’t forget to test your backups regularly to make sure you can restore from the data you have available.

  2. Consider Your Redundancy and Failover Practices: Another strategy for minimizing downtime after an attack, security incident, or disaster is implementing redundancy and failover protocols to maintain operational continuity when things go wrong. What does this mean? Redundancy refers to the concept of having more than one copy or version of a system or solution—that way if a failure happens, your operations can continue by switching to another version. This might look like having redundant servers, routers, power supplies, or internet connections to power your business. Failover is the process of switching to this alternative solution when your primary system or solution fails—like operating from a backup server if your first server goes down.

  3. Evaluate and Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan Regularly: Performing regular backups and ensuring you have redundancy and failover protocols in place are two essential components in any robust disaster recovery plan—but your disaster recovery plan is only effective if it works. This written document details all the steps your organization should take when an incident stalls your operations, and includes each team member’s roles and responsibilities. It also includes your business’s primary goals and objectives when your system goes down and how you plan to execute your recovery process. It has every component of your IT infrastructure, from your equipment and software to your sensitive and operational data, and additional resources or solutions you rely on to do what you do. As your network and solutions evolve, so should your disaster recovery plan. Be sure to test this plan routinely, as well as each time you make changes to your infrastructure in some way.

  4. Examine Your Business’s Cybersecurity Practices: The adage about an ounce of prevention and a pound of cure has a lot of merit in the world of cybersecurity. While a fast, effective response to downtime is important, limiting or preventing downtime is equally valuable. Data protection services like data encryption, access management, and endpoint protection can help you defend your data, keep bad actors out of your networks, and identify threats faster. Additionally, educating your team on best practices for internet security (like securing devices, practicing good password hygiene, keeping current with all software updates, and employing two- or multi-factor authentication) can ensure you are defending your system against threats business-wide. Just as important is assessing your current cyber risk to identify and address any potential vulnerabilities.

Philadelphia's Trusted Cybersecurity Partner

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When it comes to cybersecurity and minimizing downtime, one of the most significant ways you can maximize your billable minutes is to enlist the support and services of seasoned IT professionals. Not only does this put experts in the driver’s seat to recover after an attack or outage, but it also means you have the ongoing support of experienced engineers working to strengthen your cybersecurity strategies to prevent or limit these incidents from happening. And ultimately, that also translates into less time spent managing your IT, creating more time for billable work.

At Christo IT, we’ll conduct a deep assessment of your current infrastructure, protocols, and practices to help fortify your security posture—and our tailored, managed IT services offer the support you need to keep your systems running smoothly, defend against attacks, plan for the unexpected, and recover when disaster strikes. Run by Level II Engineers, we help busy professionals across industries, addressing many issues in mere minutes—and often over the phone. 

Ready to hear what we can do for you? Contact us today!