Are CIOs ready to protect their business from cyber attacks?

Ripu Bajwa, country manager – Data Protection Solutions, India at Dell EMC, says enterprises are grappling with change. Evolving market disruption from agile new entrants and shifting consumer behavior boosted by mobile and online apps aren’t making the task easy.

Amid this backdrop, our enterprises continue to be vulnerable to dynamic challenges in our environment, such as a cyber-attack. A prime example of the hefty impact of a data breach was seen in the case of Sony Corp.’s $8 million settlement charges over the theft of employees’ personal information.

Closer to home in Asia, hacking of IT systems and data breaches have emerged among the top business risks. In February this year the world’s attention zoomed  in on  the startling case of $81million vanishing in a cyber-heist from Bangladesh Central Bank’s account at the New York Federal Reserve.

Fortifying your enterprise against a breach is critical to survive and sustain.  Protecting your data is a vital first step towards this goal.

As a leader in developing modern business infrastructure, EMC sponsored a study to determine the state of data protection preparedness globally including the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ). We surveyed 2,200 respondents across 18 countries as part of the EMC Global Data Protection Index 2016 and measured the impact of data disruption and confidence levels among enterprises to meet current and future challenges.

Alarmingly, businesses in APJ recorded unplanned data losses and downtime in excess of US$2 million in the last 12 months our study found. It is also equally worrying that over 75 percent of APJ organizations surveyed stated they were not fully confident of their ability to recover after a disruption.

Given the increasingly complex threats to data, and the resultant high cost of data loss, what can businesses do to protect their data and the bottom line? Here are three ways:

Protect your cloud, as you do to your on premise IT

As enterprises across the Asia Pacific move forward on their digital transformation journeys, cloud technologies will be a key element in their business strategy.  In fact, 47 percent of APJ organizations we surveyed are currently using cloud technology for long term retention of data.

Yet currently just less than 50 percent of our respondents said they protect cloud data against corruption and again less than 50 percent are protecting against deletion. Why? Because these businesses believe that their cloud provider protects their data for them. However this is a fallacy. Truth is, if an employee accidentally deletes files or introduces a virus, that’s generally not covered by a cloud provider.

To avoid these issues, it is just as important to plan your data protection strategy in cloud IT environments as you do for your on premise

Software defined backup solutions will enable you to take scheduled backups of your in-app data, both on and off-premise, to ensure you always have a fall-back version of your files if one is required. It also gives you the flexibility to provide cloud-cloud and on premise-to-cloud data protection, while driving down costs.

Prepare for the worst

Business continuity planning has become ever more critical, particularly with rising threats – not just to primary data, but also to backup and protection data. 33 percent of APJ organizations we surveyed have lost data as the result of an external or internal security breach.

One way to prepare for accidental data loss is to create protection copies. But the problem is that when hackers deliberately try to take down a business, they can attack those protection copies too.

To address these rapidly changing threats, using a solution that will create a virtual panic room for your most valuable data will isolate it from networked systems that could be compromised in a cyber-attack. This will also make sure data can be restored even from the most extensive attack.

Whether combating cyber extortionists demanding cash to unlock data encrypted by ransomware, or other risks posed to backup and protection data, be prepared so that your ‘data of last resort’ is beyond harm’s reach.

Plan for the future

Over 88 percent of APJ organizations in our study said their data protection solutions will not be able to meet all their future business challenges. If you’re struggling with low confidence levels, it’s time to relook at your infrastructure and invest in technologies that combine disaster recovery with business continuity and data protection. By cutting backup times and restore times, these solutions will ensure mission-critical applications are always available and responsive, letting your business focus on innovation instead of infrastructure.

As you embark on your next phase of business growth and as you continue to transform the enterprise, it is time to prepare for newer challenges in cyber threats by planning your data protection strategy. Are you ready to face the forces of change?
Ripu Bajwa of Dell EMC
By Ripu Bajwa, country manager – Data Protection Solutions, India at Dell EMC

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