How to Create an Effective Data Recovery Strategy

Hackers compromise data daily, with more creative efforts testing the limits of analysts beyond modern capabilities. New strategies are needed to keep up with ramping technology and contemporary threat actors.

Though cybersecurity resilience involves myriad obstacles, like two-factor authentication, a modern priority should be data recovery. Breaches from massive to seemingly minor scales could happen, and responders need multiple plans for getting information back. 

What Is Data Recovery and Why Is It Essential?

Data is delicate, and countless unfortunate mishaps can happen, including corruption, misplacement and theft. Recovery restores information from external storage facilities to increase resilience against human error and cyberattacks. It protects data from environmental or unexpected circumstances like fire or system failure.

For example, if a ransomware attack happens and the hacker threatens double extortion — making a company pay for an encryption key on top of the data — the victim may not need to pay if they can reclaim the information from another place. Law enforcement may still need to act upon the criminal to stop the malicious spread of data, but at least nothing is lost.

Data recovery has always been essential, but it took a backseat to other cybersecurity priorities like reinforcing firewalls and decreasing remediation times. Cybercriminals know how recovery is rising in importance, molding new ways to circumvent firewalls and achieve their goals. Therefore, making a comprehensive data recovery plan that covers every circumstance will fortify everyone for the future.

How Can Companies Create a Solid Strategy?

Forging a data recovery plan is multifaceted and time-consuming, so plan appropriately and have reasonable expectations as planners navigate these critical steps.

Consider Every Influence

First, assume all information can be erased or corrupted. Though natural disasters don’t cause power outages often in particular locations, data recovery considers this as if it were a certainty. Of course, there will always be a threat from cybercriminals, but knowing that isn’t enough when outlining a holistic strategy. Does a company understand what attacks are more common now and how hackers innovate old ideas to permeate previously secure systems?

Another direct threat is human error. There has to be a way to recover data if employees accidentally delete it or drop files in forgotten folders.

Visualize Priorities

You might have more information than you know, and it doesn’t all have equal significance. Because data recovery implementation takes time, it’s vital to consider potential threats during the process. Therefore, the highest priority data should get backed up and secure first.

Outline all data silos and what information and software are pillars to survival, including backing up Active Directory among critical personally identifying information. Plan where mission-critical data will go and envision how it will stay secure while managing subsequent data pockets.

Delegate Responsibilities

Assign a team and distribute permissions to these storage centers. They can set reasonable expectations by outlining the following:

  • Recovery time objective: RTO answers two questions — how long necessary data, like software, could be unavailable during recovery and how long the process could take.
  • Recovery point objective: You probably aren’t backing up data continuously. Therefore, there is a window where systems aren’t saving information. This is the RPO, and it’s vital to know how large of a gap a company could sustain if threats compromise access.
  • Version retention objective: VRO helps companies know what versions of data need to stay secure and how long they will protect older ones.
  • Geographical redundancy objective: This indicator outlines where data is, how often it’s backed up and how it will be replicated in a disaster scenario.

Designate who is responsible for what resources and get second opinions from other industry experts before investing in the total plan execution.

Spread Out

Data recovery is about having multiple venues for data storage. They must be independent and not localized to one host or provider. Connectivity through servers or networks could compromise all hubs if hackers find their way into an opening. Isolating some is an intensely powerful move for defense.

Everyone has relied on tangible storage devices like external hard drives or data centers for years. However, these technologies get more antiquated by the day. They are susceptible to theft, obsolescence eliminating access or environmental stressors damaging the products. Innovations like modular data centers are reviving these storage bins into more resilient and cost-effective locations, but it doesn’t mean a company should rely on them wholly.

Diversifying digital storage portfolios will improve processes, so seek cloud providers in addition to physical storage to enhance data recovery strategies. It adds to other security measures like layered security and immutable data protection.

Performing Regular Testing and Upkeep

Maintaining a consistent backup schedule, alongside analyzing data to ensure companies aren’t storing already-corrupted information, will increase digital trust among customers, employees and stakeholders. These processes should be as automated as possible to improve recovery times, using updated software that employs additional cybersecurity measures outside internal teams. Testing simulations or analyzing individual components of the data recovery plan should be a constant discussion.

What Are the Consequences of Poor Data Recovery?

Poor data recovery includes numerous oversights, including an initial dismissal of the importance of cybersecurity altogether. Everyone has witnessed a seemingly impenetrable Fortune 500 company become subject to a hacker’s whims.

Companies lose millions to fight the threat and react by investing more in strengthening cybersecurity after the fact. Instilling a proactive strategy instead of a reactive one is another step in effective data recovery.

Suppose a company already has this mindset and a data recovery strategy — it should still evaluate and update it. Neglecting to analyze modern methods could be the death blow during an attack. Legacy recovery methods take time, sometimes weeks, depending on how much information is lost.

Plus, companies that use older software that has gone defunct but is still operable could have countless vulnerabilities from lack of patching.

Data Recovery Becomes More Relevant

Data loss could be impossible to recover from — or it can be streamlined and methodical with a well-tested process. Everyone, from companies to individuals, should consider how they store their information and if it’s easily accessible to the owner and incoming threats. An attentive recovery plan could be how a company stays in business because it chose prevention instead of battling an active threat.