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DC Police and Colonial Pipeline Hack: 10 Questions to Ask Your Data Security and Backup Provider

By Mark Chinsky
20 Questions to Ask Your Data Backup Provider_Header_1

Cyberattacks are in the ultimate spotlight right now. If you’re like any other business in the US, you’re probably taking an alarming note of your security – with good reason. The Washington DC police April ransomware attacks are reaching a dead end on negotiations, and gas prices are shooting up while supply in the southeast US draws scarce as Colonial Pipeline still works out its multi-million-dollar extortion from Russian hackers.  

The recent news makes you wonder – if the nation’s government and the largest pipeline system for refined oil products in the U.S. can’t protect themselves from malware, ransomware, and cyberattacks, then who can?  

You can if you start building a comprehensive security plan and leverage an experienced partner to assist you.   

At Clients First, we specialize in proactive security, backup, and disaster recovery solutions. Our number one goal is to make sure our clients don’t end up a growing statistic in businesses of all sizes who experience the intense consequences of a cyberattack, including but not limited to expensive ransoms, legal implications, lost integrity with customers, and in too many cases, the cost of the business itself.  

Over 90% of businesses that have lost their data for more than ten consecutive days were out of business within one year. This is a prime example of why having a business continuity plan is so important.  

For more information read: The True Cost of IT Downtime now. 

With compromised cybersecurity becoming so pervasive, you should be doing one of these two things starting yesterday: looking to expand your protection with a new data backup partner or evaluate the effectiveness and coverage with the one you have.  

Here, we are providing you with the detailed information about data backup and security you need, along with the top 10 questions you need to ask your current or prospective provider to ensure your guarded (or at least you are taking the right steps to get there as quickly as possible).  

Importance of Disaster Recovery Plans and Business Continuity Solutions 

Regardless of the business you have, if you have any IT downtime, it comes at a cost to your business. In some cases, like that of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attacks, it also comes at a cost to your consumers and shines a big unwelcome spotlight on your own vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, many people associate IT downtime strictly with IT, but it’s about the business as a whole. Recent news is opening people’s eyes to this pretty quickly. 

Rule of thumb is that if you go more than ten days without access to your data, it has a larger chance of being the end of your business. The potential loss of your business is why backing up your data and having a disaster recovery plan are so important.  

A business continuity solution can help your business get back on track almost immediately in the event of any data loss, cyberattack, ransomware attack, or malware invasion. 

What is Backup As A Service (BaaS)? 

The concept of Backup as a service (BaaS) is when a business purchases cloud-based hosting, storage, recovery, and backup services from an provider. Many small and medium businesses utilize these services to keep their data protected and allow their business to grow. BaaS offerings can include everything from database management, cloud storage, user access, remote updates, and any other services that allow the business to focus on the front-end user piece of the application and process without having to worry about the more technical aspects of maintenance and management.    

What is the Difference Between True Disaster Recovery Plan and Cloud Data Backup Services? 

Cloud data backup services simply make duplicates of all critical data that your business has. Disaster recovery plans are in place so that if something happens, you have a plan to reassess your information and systems.  

What is the Difference Between Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud Solutions? 

When you’re using public cloud solutions, you’re using a web-based service where a third party manages services on a shared, secured internet where you’re allowed to pay based on the amount of bandwidth your business personally consumes.  

A private cloud consists of cloud resources used by and dedicate to one business exclusively. Private cloud environments can be located on-site at the company or hosted by a third-party – the services and infrastructure are always maintained on a private network and dedicated to the organization. With a private cloud service, you’re able to build, develop, and manage your own cloud service. Unlike a public cloud solution, you’re in full control. 

Hybrid cloud solutions combine the best of both public and private cloud solutions. Your data will be backed up with both an internal and external cloud system. This way, you have some control over the protection and a third-party provider to keep your data secure.  

To learn more read: 5 Essential Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Disaster Recovery 

Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Data Backup Server Provider 

Once you understand the layout and importance of the components above, you’ll want to make sure you’re asking the right questions before committing to a provider who should be protecting you from the growing cybersecurity threats to businesses today.  

Here are the top 10 questions you should be asking your data backup provider. Your data backup provider should be able to answer these quickly and supply you with supporting documentation. 

  1. How Can We Be Certain  Our Data is Properly Backed Up? 
    How your data is backed up depends on the data backup provider that you choose. With a failsafe hybrid solution like EverSafe, your information is backed up through a private and public cloud model to ensure complete protection and recoverability. 

    Through our time providing backup services to small and medium businesses, we’ve found that a hybrid cloud platform is the most beneficial during any disaster.  
  1. Where and How is Our Data Stored and What Are the Risks? 
    You can store your data in a variety of ways, it all depends on your provider. Dig into where the data is physically stored and why the provider has chosen that location.  

    Private cloud storage allows you to have your data secured via an internal server. Many of these are on the premises of your business. Public cloud storage is going to be stored offsite in an external server. When you utilize a hybrid cloud solution, you get the best of both worlds. 
  1. What Assurance Can You Provide That Our Data Secure?  
    Your provider should be able to articulate this with incredible detail and ease.  
    With EverSafe, you can rest assured that your data is adequately secured using the highest level of encryption possible. By utilizing both private and public cloud platforms, we’re able to keep your privileged information safe from cybercrime because we have fail safes for recovery. 
  1. What is the Process for Recovering Our Data?  
    Once you’ve got your important data secured, you’ll need to know how to recover it. Backing up your data won’t do you any good if you can’t access it.  

    Be sure to ask your backup provider how you can recover your data to ensure that this provider is the right one for you.  
  1. How Soon After a Breach Can Our Data Be Recovered? 

    This is a biggie – the speed at which you can recover your data can be the difference between your business’s downfall or success.  

    With EverSafe, you’re able to recover your data within seconds of requesting it. This way, you can decrease your IT downtime and keep everything running smoothly. The goal is to have a recovery time of fewer than ten seconds.  
  1. What Data Backup Verification Assurances Do You Provide? 
    When searching for a backup provider, you’ll want one that not only keeps your information safe but can provide verification of the backup.  

    Every time a backup occurs with EverSafe, you’ll receive a screenshot to verify the backup.  
  1. How Do We Choose the Best Storage Size for our Business? 
    How much storage you need is going to be dependent on your business and its needs. When your business grows, you may find that your storage requirements also increase. You want to ensure that the solution you have or are looking at can scale with you easily and without holding you over a ransom of its own.   
  1. How Do You Guarantee Negligible IT Downtime in the Event of a Breach?  
    IT downtime is the amount of time your systems and data are inaccessible. How your data security and backup service provider answers this, and how quickly they can, will be tell-tale on the drive behind the product and services they offer.  
  1. Can You Outline Your Support Process and Response Times?  
    You want to know that your data is being secured by a provider that is there for you. Having access to technical support is a crucial factor for this. 

    A 24-hour turnaround promise should be the goal here. You’ll be able to reach infrastructure experts in less than day when you utilize EverSafe’s hybrid cloud solution whenever you have an issue or a simple question.  
  1. What Is the Schedule and Process for ERP System Monitoring? 
    Your ERP system serves as the hub for your business processes, finances, and operational health. It’s likely your ERP system holds everything from your financial details, to customer information and transactions, sensitive vendor history, and even more as you look at inventory, manufacturing, and distribution management. 

    It’s imperative you ask these questions directly to ensure your ERP in particular is covered completely with a backup and disaster recovery plan. With EverSafe, your ERP (enterprise resource planning) system is regularly monitored. Our experts are monitoring for any bugs and providing any updates to the system to keep your business running smoothly.  

Final Thoughts 

With the increased risks of cyberattacks, having a disaster recovery plan in place to recover that information will keep your business running and protect you from the catastrophic outcomes that these assaults can cause should be at the top of the priority list. The choice is clear: delay and pay, or plan and prosper.  

Clients First offers different storage size and performance options to make it easy to match the right solution to your needs. Should your storage or feature requirements change, we offer a riskfree upgrade program that allows your security and backup solution to grow at the speed of your business. For more information on EverSafecontact our infrastructure experts today! 

Mark Chinsky

Mark Chinsky

Partner, Clients First Business Solutions New Jersey

Mark Chinsky is a highly skilled and highly passionate ERP consultant and partner at Clients First. With over 30 years’ experience working with a wide range of ERP solutions, he’s on a mission to help businesses understand the software selection process and how ERP software can benefit them. If you’re looking for trustworthy and transparent content on software implementation, technology deployment strategy, and business process improvement for distribution, manufacturing, and professional services businesses, Mark is your guy.