Cyber Security Challenges

In his guest blog, Jason Cobine talks about cyber risks and how businesses should protect themselves through an awareness of the threats for their corporate data. He also helps you to recognise some of the possible exposures of your business to internet risks whose consequences are sometimes not recognised or underestimated.

We don’t tell all of our clients that they are all at risk and going to be targeted by cyber criminals. Anyone that tells you that is either lying to force their own agenda or doesn’t understand cyber risk at all. People usually ask us how to keep their data safe but not how to keep thieving hands of it. One very important thing is that clouds are porous, especially the much-vaunted cloud that IT people want everyone to use. And it’s not going to be people breaking into your cloud that is the biggest risk. It’s human error. Losing files, pressing the wrong buttons, failing to back things up are the real risks. Yet, that seems to fall on deaf ears.

So it was no surprise to me when I received a “round robin” email from a contact telling his database that his website had “gone” due to a problem with his hosting company. You might think that a hosting company is different to the Cloud. It doesn’t really matter, if you don’t have a server for your website to sit on, you will be using somebody else’s server. And if that isn’t kept safe, your website, database or whatever you store elsewhere is at risk.

Website Fell Down – minor technical problem or a bigger threat?

This might seem a short term problem – ‘’My website’s down so I’ll put it back up again’’. You could, if the hosting company hadn’t lost 18 months work when they had their problem. Which is exactly what happened here. All their blogs, articles, new pages were gone! Go to their LinkedIn, Twitter, Hootsuite or other feeds and you’ll find that none of the links work simply because the pages the links took you to no longer exist.

The next email I received from this contact said ‘’please don’t try and visit our website, it’s still down and going to take a month to get back up’’. In fact, it will take 18 more months to reproduce the pages that are missing. You might not want to reproduce the same pages yet it will still take as long to have as many pages as they had previously.

In case like this one, I suggest a meeting with an expert to determine not only the technical issue but also its real cause, which will help to recognise and therefore prevent future more serious cyber security threats.

Top Tip: My contact did well to keep his audience engaged throughout the mini fiasco. If you have an issue with data, keep communication channels open to keep people informed. Find out what happened as soon as you can and tell the relevant parties what happened, how you’re recovering and what you’ve done to prevent a recurrence.

This type of issue will only befall a tiny percentage of our readers… unless they have accumulated under the same cloud. Look up “SPP outage” because for a real example of how 25% of an entire UK business sector was affected when someone stored the main database and the backup in the same building. One power cut was all it took to take everyone’s database out of action.

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