IT disaster recovery, cloud computing and information security news

Most organizations have data backup plans but many don’t follow best practices: creating unnecessary risks

Apricorn has announced findings from the Apricorn 2022 Global IT Security Survey, which revealed that, while the majority of organizations have data backup plans in place, data remains at risk due to inadequacies.

Apricorn surveyed nearly 400 IT security practitioners about security practices around remote and hybrid work, focusing on data resiliency — the ‘availability to access and resuscitate corporate data in the event of a ransomware occurrence or other cyber attack’.

Most respondents (93 percent) say they have a ransomware readiness plan, but significant knowledge gaps exist with regard to adequate backup and cyber resilience practices. 26 percent view the cloud as too risky for data backup, but only one in three back up to both the cloud and to encrypted hardware storage devices. 82 percent want their organizations to require encrypted hardware USB usage, but only 34 percent have mandated such a policy. Additionally, only 20 percent backup in real time, and only 18 percent employ the long-established best practice for backup: the 3-2-1 method.

“Data loss events are an ever-present danger for organizations across all industries,” said Kurt Markley, US Managing Director, Apricorn. “Now, the increasing threat of cyber attacks underscores the need for increased data protection. If organizations do not have an adequate data backup strategy in place and have not been successfully attacked, they are lucky - not secure or resilient. Having data backed up in only the cloud or only offline is not sufficient. Organizations should be following the 3-2-1 rule, in which they keep at least three copies of data stored on two different pieces of media, one of which is off-site. Following this rule with a combination of cloud and hardware encrypted storage gives organizations the best chance for full data recovery.”

Two years into the pandemic, 81 percent of respondents agree that remote and hybrid work are now standard practices within their organizations, noting that all typical security policies are the same regardless of work locations. However, 20 percent are not circling back to address security holes that exist as a result of the rapid changes made to accommodate work-from-home and remote work policies at the start of the pandemic. And, while many respondents noted that they have gone back to address their initial remote work security practices, there are still significant fixes that need to be addressed in order to truly consider their organizations – and their data – resilient. Of the 80 percent that are going back to address pandemic-rushed policies, only 41 percent are addressing integration and enforcement of new technologies such as external USB storage devices, hardware storage and encryption. And only 34 percent have put a policy in place to mandate encrypted USB storage devices for protecting data on the move.

“Hybrid work environments are the new normal, and organizations must stress the importance of protecting data on the move,” added Markley. “Data backups are not the sole responsibility of IT administrators. All employees need to take part in backing up data, and following policies to ensure its security. It’s alarming that after two years, so many employees and organizations have yet to adopt adequate remote work security policies.”

Among those surveyed, 25 percent of respondents noted that the strict hybrid work policies they put in place are not being adhered to by employees, despite 82 percent of them continually reinforcing those policies to employees. Additionally, 60 percent of respondents do not back up their data or devices in advance of working remotely – further weakening their organization’s data resilience. While many organizations have considered backup and resiliency initiatives, as well as ransomware readiness, more needs to be done to strengthen them.

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