As we bid one final farewell to winter and officially step into spring, small businesses should take a moment to commemorate one of our favorite holidays. While it may not be as much fun as St. Patrick’s Day or as widely celebrated as Easter Sunday, it’s one that could mean the difference between shutting your doors for good, or remaining a functioning business long after a cyber attack or natural disaster strikes. We’re talking about World Backup Day.
Since its inception in 2011, World Backup Day, celebrated annually on March 31, aims to educate small businesses on the importance of backing up and protecting pertinent corporate data. However, despite the influx of cyber attacks and stories of data loss that flooded headlines last year, only a handful of small businesses are actually taking the necessary precautions to avoid data loss
In fact, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the number of data breaches in the United States increased 27.5 percent in 2014 alone. Even scarier yet – research conducted by the Contingency Planning and Strategic Research Corporation shows that about 96 percent of all business workstations are currently not being backed up. President Obama even spoke up on the heels of escalating cybersecurity concerns, calling for improved cybersecurity efforts in his State of the Union Address this January.
So, what are SMBs waiting for? With this year’s World Backup Day fast approaching, it’s time for small business owners to start thinking seriously about data backup, keeping the following important points top of mind:
Realize it can happen to you
The myth that large enterprise organizations are more susceptible to cyber crime is just that – a myth. Additionally, the impact of cyber attacks can actually be more profound on small businesses than large companies because viruses, hackers, malware, etc. can not only shut SMB operations down for a period of time but also be extremely damaging to a business’ reputation.
This shortcoming in terms of data protection can often be attributed to SMBs’ lack of IT staff and security infrastructure to protect them, but many small business owners also tend to operate under a “it could never happen to me” mindset. The reality of the situation, though, is this: It most certainly can happen to you, and the likelihood is higher than you think.
There are a number of simple precautions that small businesses can employ to ward off cyber attacks and protect critical data in the event of a cybersecurity breach, such as deploying firewall protection or other antivirus software. Small business owners should, at minimum, consider employing this type of safeguard.
Have an offsite backup plan
When it comes to data protection, local on-site backup is a great start, but there are a number of risks to relying solely on physical backup drives. Cryptolocker and other ransomware, the most recent threat to business security, are proof of malware’s ability to infiltrate backup devices that are connected to targeted computers. Having an offsite backup plan in place helps ensure that data is safe from the threat of malware.
Turn to the cloud
Cloud-based backup solutions can better protect data in the face of viruses and malware, as well as other types of data-destroying disasters including fires, floods, and theft. These incidents can easily destroy all of the equipment in a given location – including physical backup devices – making cloud a safer option for small business backup.
It’s important for small business owners to jump on the World Backup Day bandwagon and pause to commemorate the important holiday. Become educated on the risks posed to SMBs, as well as the methods of defense available to protect critical data, in order to plan for the worst and remain standing and ready for business if disaster strikes.