Data Backups: The Ultimate Line of Defense for Non-Profits Against Cyberattacks

Key takeaways:
  1. According to a recent study, 50% of non-profits will face a cyberattack. So, it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” your organization will be hit.
  2. All organizations need a disaster recovery plan. Part of that plan should include data backup and restoration.
  3. Backing up your data acts as an “insurance policy” against cyberattacks like ransomware.
  4. It’s not enough to have a backup plan in place, and the backups must be verified, including timing how long it takes to recover as part of a disaster recovery plan.
  5. Storing data in the Cloud does not mean it’s backed up and recoverable if disaster strikes.

In today’s digital age, non-profits face a myriad of cyber threats. From ransomware to phishing scams, the risk is real and often underestimated. Alarmingly, recent studies indicate that 50% of non-profits will be hit by a cyberattack. In this context, it’s no longer a question of “if” but “when” an organization will become a cyberattack victim. As this reality sinks in, it becomes crystal clear that data backups are not a mere precautionary measure but the ultimate line of defense against cyberattacks and even natural disasters.

There’s no time to waste when implementing a disaster recovery plan at your organization. The process isn’t instantaneous; it requires thoughtful planning, execution, and verification. Developing a plan involves thoroughly evaluating the organization’s current systems and data to identify which elements are critical and need to be restored first in a disaster. This involves cataloging and prioritizing all data sources and their importance to the organization’s operation.

Developing a plan of action for recovering lost files and what to do while recovering can take a significant amount of time as well. The volume of data your organization handles alone will significantly influence the timeline. For instance, It could take a week or more just to create backup files and another week or longer to verify the recovery process.

Considering the inevitability of cyber threats, and the potentially catastrophic impact of data loss, time is of the essence. It’s imperative to start your backup and recovery process today. Don’t wait until disaster strikes; the time to act is now.

The Importance of a Disaster Recovery Plan

Being prepared is key to mitigating the impact of a cyberattack or any other event leading to potential data loss. A comprehensive disaster recovery plan is a crucial part of this preparedness.

Timing the recovery process is not just a crucial component of disaster management—it also becomes a significant factor for compliance and cyber insurance policies. It’s essential to understand the volume of data your organization holds and estimate how long it would take to restore the system fully in the event of a disaster like fire, flood, tornado, ransomware, or accidental deletion.

For example, depending on how much data your organization has, it could take a day or up to a couple of weeks to recover. So, knowing how much backup data there are and how long it will take to recover is an important metric for your disaster recovery plan. Do you have to plan for a day or a week of downtime? It could be detrimental if you are surprised by how long it takes to recover while in the midst of a disaster.

A disaster recovery plan outlines the procedures to follow when disaster strikes, including the method and time frame for data restoration. In essence, a thorough disaster recovery plan enables an organization to navigate through a cyber crisis with less disruption and uncertainty.

The Necessity of Backing up Data

Data is the lifeblood of any organization, and protecting it from loss or corruption is paramount. Data backups act as an “insurance policy,” providing a safeguard against cyber threats like ransomware and facilitating recovery in the face of accidental deletion, hardware failure, or natural disaster.

This measure has saved numerous organizations from significant data loss, highlighting its importance as a proactive step in any disaster recovery plan. Recently, companies like Gitlab and even the U.S. Consulate have averted potential devastation by turning to data backups after a disaster.

Data backups safeguard against multiple threats, from cyberattacks such as ransomware to more mundane issues like accidental data deletion or corruption. However, it’s not enough to simply back up data; those backups and the restoration processes must be tested and verified.

The Critical Need for Backup Verification

However, merely backing up your data isn’t enough. It’s crucial to ensure that these backups are viable and can be restored in a recovery scenario. This process involves verifying the integrity of backups and timing the recovery process. This is essential information when planning disaster recovery procedures.

Moreover, it’s vital to time the recovery process to ensure it aligns with your disaster recovery plan, as this is becoming a requirement for compliance and maintaining cyber insurance. Regular audits of backups should be performed to maintain their reliability and readiness for any data recovery needs.

Common Misconceptions about Cloud Services and Storage

A common misunderstanding is that data stored in the Cloud is automatically backed up by the Cloud provider. However, this is far from the truth. Cloud providers, like Microsoft, focus on the security and functionality of their services, not specifically on your data.

Cloud provider agreements clearly state their lack of responsibility in data recovery. Therefore, relying solely on cloud storage for your data backup needs can leave your organization vulnerable.

The Role of tca SynerTech in Data Backup and Recovery

At tca SynerTech, we offer an entire team of professionals qualified to tailor backup and recovery solutions to fit your non-profit’s specific needs. We can assist in backup verification, timing your recovery process, and crafting a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. Our goal is to provide you with peace of mind, knowing your data is safe and your organization is prepared for any eventuality.

The threat of cyberattacks on non-profits is substantial, and the importance of data backups cannot be overstated. It’s not just about having a backup strategy in place but ensuring it is robust, verified, and effective. For starting at less than the cost of a low-level employee, TCA offers an entire team of experts armed with the tools and knowledge of the best backup and recovery processes. We encourage non-profits to reach out to tca SynerTech to discuss how we can help secure your valuable data against the “when,” not “if” of cyberattack.