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5 questions to be asking in the wake of a global cyber attack

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global-cyber-attack.pngBy now you are most likely aware of the aptly named "WannaCry" ransomware attack that wreaked havoc in over 150 countries across the globe over the weekend of May 13th 2017.  This global cyber attack highlighted the major shortcomings of global organisations and has seriously put their IT security capabilities into question and into the spotlight.

We live in a digital world so we need to accept the fact that these types of global cyber attacks will happen again. This most recent attack should serve as a wake-up call for those organisations who are yet to start devising and testing their backup solutions and security processes.

With all this in mind, here are 5 questions that you should start asking in the wake of a global cyber attack:

Question #1: What future prevention techniques are we teaching employees?

It’s not safe to assume that your employees on the ground are equipped with the necessary knowledge surrounding IT cyber security. This is why training is imperative. The more trained your employees are, the more aware and informed they will become, and therefore less likely to fall victim to attacks. Employee lack of awareness can act as an easy gateway for attackers; for instance, sending fake links to their company email address is a common method that we have seen time and time again.

So what should the training entail? They need to be taught about the internal systems, processes, and IT policies that the organisation relies on day in and day out; how to manage them; and then recognise when something has gone wrong. Furthering from this, the training should encourage employees to become more concerned with the overall security and protection of their organisation, and to also be more open to the idea of learning new systems and processes that will help strengthen enterprise security and data backup.

Question #2: Whose head should be on the chopping block?

We can only expect after a global cyber attack that the blame game starts to be played. Who should be responsible for ensuring organisational security? Whose remit does it fall under? Is it the CIO or the CEO that should be held accountable? All these questions are being asked, and it is no surprise that both sides are pointing fingers at one another.

Since the WannaCry attack, we have witnessed a vast amount of the blame fall into the lap of the head honchos, with many stating that as leaders of an organisation, they need to possess the competency to invest in risk aversion solutions that are best suited to their business’s requirements, and therefore must be able to securely lead the company forward into this digital world.

Whoever you believe to be personally responsible, it is imperative that an organisation decides who they trust to be in charge and stick to that, to ensure the longevity of the organisation's security.

Question #3: What are the core actions that an organisation should put in place?

The first core action is altering the way in which an organisation views IT cyber security and data backup. They must start viewing it in a holistic manner, whereby IT security should be considered in every corner of the company, with training and structured processes being in place for all of those inside of the organisation, and for third parties who interact with the organisation.

A cultural change must begin to start seeing cyber attacks not only as a technical threat, but also start thinking about them in the context of wider organisational implications (for example their reputation, PR, customer service etc.) This will involve going from the top down and ensuring leaders can appreciate how technology impacts the way in the which the business operates.

Organisations are under the spotlight no so they need to stop operating with a ‘if it works we don’t need to fix it’ attitude. Efficient processes must be put in place and best practices must be followed across the organisation. Those actively following and promoting best practices should be rewarded for their efforts, and for those disregarding it, there needs to be repercussions.

Question #4: Are we just playing a losing game?

The more organisations strive to innovate new cyber threat security solutions, the more the attackers also innovate and learn new loop holes and work arounds to get past their security measures. It can feel like we are playing a losing game, but it is important that we keep playing.  

One of the biggest issues in relation to innovation is that large multinationals are often too scared to try out new emerging solutions that have been developed by smaller tech start-ups. Although their technologies may be young, their ideas advanced, and these new innovations could really play a central role in preventing future ransomware disasters. These start-ups are struggling to fight their way into organisation's security infrastructures, and all the while we remain stuck with older technologies that are not cutting edge.

Question #5: What is the backup and disaster recovery solution for the entire organisation?

If WannaCry highlighted anything, it was that every organisation needs a data backup strategy against ransomware - and a good one. When all files are backed up and you are held for ransom, all you will need to do is restore all systems and simply carry on. You cannot predict when your system may be comprised, so do not risk it- back up your organisational data.

When you have chosen the best back up and disaster recovery solution for your requirements, it is imperative your organisation starts regularly testing the power of the solution through different attack simulations and role plays to ensure all processes are robust, and that all employees have the experience to efficiently react.

Keeping in mind that it is extremely unlikely that we have seen the last of these global cyber attacks, it is not enough to for organisations to just go on the defence: they must be arming themselves with the essential security and data backup solutions to take a proactive approach that anticipates cyber attacks.

At Backup Systems, we recognise the need to test our data backup solutions and have undergone an independent review of current internal security measures and have since been awarded the Cyber Essentials certification. 



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Topics: Backup Strategy, Backup as a Cyber Security Defence