Monthly Archives: February 2015

After banner year, DDoS attacks aren’t going anywhere

Cybersecurity is one of the main challenges with current business continuity and disaster recovery strategies. Distributed-Denial-of-Service attacks in particular test modern BC/DR initiatives, causing prolonged periods of downtime that make it difficult for organizations to restore operations.

In 2014, DDoS attacks experienced a successful year, according to a recent SmartData Collective report by Kelvin Smith. The writer noted companies worldwide came under fire from these threats, including Sony Entertainment and Sony PlayStation.

If some of the world's largest conglomerates can experience DDoS attacks, then smaller organizations with limited resources can surely fall victim as well.

What can be done to stop DDoS?
DDoS attacks may not result in the theft of sensitive data, but they can still be a nuisance, especially for businesses heavily reliant on the Internet to conduct operations. Smith suggested firms can invest in more bandwidth to minimize clogged server traffic. However, this may be an expensive proposition.

"DDoS attacks are difficult to stop, which why they are so successful."

A distributed data movement strategy may prove more effective.

"Appoint different data centers that respond to requests in slices instead of a single server. Today, it is easy to manage data centers as those can be applied on cloud that leads to reduction of load and distributes it from across servers instead of a single server," Smith suggested.

Server mirroring is another way to combat DDoS attacks. Smith wrote this strategy copies items from the main server, using the mirrors to alleviate traffic congestion and, hopefully, prevent the threat from succeeding.

Businesses struggling managing and protecting their IT infrastructures should contact a recovery specialist today. Businesses struggling managing and protecting their IT infrastructures should contact a recovery specialist today.

Bring in some outside eyes
In addition to keeping IT infrastructures safe from natural disasters, power outages and human errors, DDoS and cybersecurity attacks cannot be overlooked with current BC/DR initiatives. Focusing on all of these incidents at once, however, can be difficult, especially for companies with limited resources.

Third-party recovery specialists make great partners, helping clients shore up their IT systems, implement the best possible data backups, outline cohesive response plans and address any security vulnerabilities that may make it easy for malicious cybercriminals to negatively impact operational efficiency.

With DDoS attacks showing no signs of dissipating, the time is now for organizations to make sure their BC/DR strategies account for these threats. Every hour or day servers cannot function means companies are losing money. Recovery specialists are available now to help businesses prepare for any situation.

Disaster preparedness includes safeguards for all types of situations

A lot of attention and planning are needed to establish comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery strategies. Unfortunately, some organizations overlook smaller details that may make it challenging to fully respond to disruptions, whether these incidents are caused by Mother Nature, human error or cyberattacks.

Disasters include variety of incidents
Information Age's Chloe Green recently detailed some of the results of disasters that are not so clear to unsuspecting companies. The very word "disaster" has different meanings. For example, an organization's main office could be functional, but it could be challenging to send critical sales material to an important meeting or employee who is traveling, resulting in a lost opportunity to close an important contract. Alternatively, a field service engineer could lack the ability to order spare keys because of the operational disruption.

"Business continuity plans cover factors such as mapping your locations, assets and operations, and identifying the critical processes you need to operate and what minimum resources are needed," Green wrote. "Staff need to be covered for emergencies – for example, do your salespeople or other mobile professionals have an emergency kit in their cars?"

With so much to account for, firms may need some help
The days of just focusing on mission-critical data and IT systems in terms of developing BC/DR strategies are over. Firms undoubtedly have to devote time, energy and resources toward safeguarding these important assets, but thorough BC/DR initiatives clearly demand far more attention to help in all phases of the organization.

"Successful BC/DR strategies must account for their fair share of scenarios."

What's more is that some companies' bread and butter are earned in markets far removed from managing IT departments. These businesses in particular may be overwhelmed when trying to focus on BC/DR when there are other matters to attend to, including generating sales, addressing customer service concerns and developing marketing initiatives.

Firms in this position should not hesitate to seek assistance from outside of their walls. Recovery specialists are available that help clients update their BC/DR strategies to make sure all systems and data are protected from disruptions. Should these incidents occur, service providers are available to get customers back on their feet to restore operations as quickly as possible.

Organizations may be unable to know exactly when and where inclement weather will strike, human errors will occur or power outages happen, but they can at least be ready to react during these events so sales opportunities are not lost for hours, days or longer.

Don’t fall for the ‘it won’t happen to me’ line of thinking with disasters

Not every organization has experienced a debilitating disaster that resulted in prolonged downtime. These firms should consider themselves lucky. Some of these companies may also believe they do not have to focus as much on business continuity and disaster recovery as much as they should because these events have not happened to them. But Mother Nature and other disruptions can strike in an instant, leaving unprepared employees struggling to restore operations and critical data that is the lifeblood of the affected brands.

Depending on the severity of the flood, fire, snowstorm, hurricane, earthquake, tornado, power outage, human error or other scenario, firms may require days to fully respond to the incident. Companies in this position will be unable to serve their main clients and customers, losing revenue and goodwill at the same time.

"Depending on the severity of the disaster, firms may needs days to fully recover."

It is early in 2015, so businesses can still rethink their BC/DR strategies for the rest of the year and beyond. Companies that have yet to really delve into such initiatives themselves can bring in recovery specialists for guidance.

Let the professionals answer the call
Much like how firms outsource IT solutions to third-party vendors, organizations can take a similar approach to their BC/DR. Service providers help customers shore up any vulnerabilities that may harm their ability to respond to disruptions, whether this involves addressing internal policies or directly overseeing data backups so mission-critical content is readily available following an incident.

Plenty of organizations are turning to outside help to address internal needs. A new TechNavio report detailed the growing Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service market – which includes solutions offered that enable the backup of data, recovery of assets and the retrieval of these resources – is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of roughly 52.1 percent between 2014 and 2019.

DRaaS vendors not only help clients with these processes, according to TechNavio. Service providers also secure data, which is essential to corporate operations. Such assistance is important for safeguarding information in the event of both natural disasters and sudden system failures.

There is no telling when or where the next disaster may strike, which is why organizations cannot think they are safe from future disruptions. Downtime can occur at any company, regardless of size or industry. Businesses that want to make sure their employees and infrastructure are ready for any situation should not hesitate to contact recovery specialists today.

Business continuity, disaster recovery among top 2015 IT investments

Organizations are expected to devote resources toward mission-critical IT areas in 2015, including business continuity and disaster recovery initiatives. Firms clearly understand they must not only safeguard their most important resources from potential disruptions, they also realize they need agile processes to restore operations following such incidents.

CIO Magazine's latest Tech Poll: Tech Priorities survey of IT-level executives discovered 57 percent expect budget increases in 2015, the highest percentage measured in six years. The average spending growth for 2015 stands at 6.2 percent, up from less than 4 percent analyzed in November 2012.

Enterprises in particular are expected to devote significant resources toward key IT verticals this year. Nearly two-thirds of these companies anticipate spending more in 2015, compared to 48 percent of small and medium-sized businesses. Roughly half of participants are focused on BI and analytics suites.

"Firms clearly understand the significance of proper BC/DR strategies."

Overall, 55 percent of respondents plan to allocate more resources toward cloud and Software-as-a-Service applications, while 52 percent who said the same regarding BC/DR. The same percentage – 52 percent – also expect budget increases of mobile apps, security apps and enterprise mobility management strategies in 2015. 

Adam Dennison, senior vice president and publisher of CIO Magazine, explained that the survey highlights the trends influencing the market, how organizations are implementing technologies and ways in which firms are approaching budgetary planning.

"Enterprises are continuing strong investments in edge technologies in order to revolutionize their business and provide cutting edge products and services to customers, ultimately creating additional revenue channels. Aligning priorities and investments around business intelligence and analytics is a smart way to drive new innovation," Dennison said.

Don't let spending go to waste
As much as it is a positive sign that companies of all sizes are looking to improve their BC/DR strategies, simply throwing more money at these initiatives will not necessarily yield results. Attention to detail also matters when determining the best way to safeguard resources, communicating with employees about their roles following disruptions and how systems knocked offline are restored.

Firms that experience prolonged periods of downtime due to inadequate recovery methods will lose more than just operation time. If businesses serve clients and customers, they will have to explain the situation to these parties. Should disruptions become a standard occurrence, organizations and consumers may not hesitate to seek assistance from brands that are available on a more consistent basis.

BC and DR professionals are valuable resources for unprepared clients. BC and DR professionals are valuable resources for unprepared clients.

Make the money count
Decision-makers who realize their companies need some extra help to improve their BC/DR strategies in 2015 and beyond should not hesitate to contact third-party partners for support. These service providers can be clients' backbone for shoring up infrastructures, data backup systems and response plans, ensuring customers can be proactive following disruptions, not reactive.

Leading BC/DR partners also offer 24/7 troubleshooting, so if power outages, cyberattacks or Mother Nature negatively impacts clients' IT systems, organizations can receive ongoing support to bring their tech departments back online.

DDoS attacks just another threat to BC/DR strategies

Organizations have to contend with all types of incidents that test their business continuity and disaster recovery strategies. In addition to the typical Mother Nature-related events, firms have to deal with Distributed Denial-of-Service threats that result in similar outcomes of power outages and storms.

TechTarget recently detailed the importance of thorough DDoS defenses to avoid downtime caused by these incidents. The news source noted traditional defenses – networks, load balancers, routers and firewalls – are not always effective at combating DDoS events. Unfortunately, smaller organizations with limited resources may not have any other options available.

"Investing in services from trusted vendors can help these small companies shore up critical infrastructure from minimizing the harmful effects of DDoS events."

Investing in services from trusted vendors can help these small companies shore up critical infrastructure from minimizing the harmful effects of DDoS events. If more firms take this approach, it will buck the trend in 2014 in which a SANS survey in 2014 discovered 63 percent of respondents did not devote any funding toward DDoS defenses or IT partners, TechTarget reported.

The costs of successful DDoS attacks are immense
The SANS study indicated organizations experienced an average DDoS attack time of 8.7 hours in 2014. A Prolexic report found the average duration of these threats was much higher, lasting 17 hours, the news source reported.

TechTarget cited two other industry reports highlighting the losses associated with operational downtime to gauge the financial impact of these threats. Analysis by the Ponemon Institute suggested data center outages cost businesses an average of $474,000 per hour, while Gartner noted such incidents are lower at $336,000 per hour.

Regardless, these potential losses are too great for organizations to endure. Mitigating DDoS attacks in any capacity, while employing comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery strategies, can amount to significant savings for the company.

DDoS can cost firms more than just money
A Kaspersky Lab report was much in line with other studies regarding the financial losses of DDoS attacks. The organization suggested these threats can cost companies more than $400,000. More than 60 percent of affected businesses lose access to critical data during these incidents, while 38 percent are unable to employ core functions necessary for their brands.

DDoS threats also result in other negative outcomes for companies. Kaspersky found one-third of organizations have lost corporate contracts and business opportunities because of these events. Nearly 30 percent of firms have dealt with negative credit ratings following these incidents, while 26 percent have had to pay increased insurance premiums.

Eugene Vigovsky, head of DDoS protection at Kaspersky, asserted successful attacks can lead to severe consequences for the affected company.

"That's why companies today must consider DDoS protection as an integral part of their overall IT security policy. It's just as important as protecting against malware, targeted attacks, data leak and the like," Vigovsky added.

The right business continuity and disaster recovery partner can make a world of difference for companies avoiding extended periods of downtime. The right business continuity and disaster recovery partner can make a world of difference for companies avoiding extended periods of downtime.

Let the pros worry about downtime
Whether companies face downtime stemming from storms, power outages or DDoS attacks, firms must possess the right business continuity and disaster recovery strategy to restore operational efficiency as quickly as possible. Organizations that need some assistance in this area should not hesitate to contact a trusted BC and DR partner to shore up vulnerabilities and make sure all employees are ready to respond following disruptions.

Businesses with such service providers in their corner no longer have to fret over whether their critical infrastructure can withstand storms, outages and DDoS attacks, receiving 24/7 troubleshooting for any and all incidents. Instead, companies can focus on more core areas of their operations, leaving the professionals to do what they do best.

Mother Nature isn’t all businesses have to fear regarding DR

The recent East Coast snowstorm that blanketed plenty of states recently is another example of how organizations cannot overlook their business continuity and disaster recovery strategies for an instant. In addition to blizzards, floods, fires, hurricanes and tornadoes, firms can deal with outages on a daily basis not caused by Mother Nature. A comprehensive BC/DR strategy accounts for all events.

With so much attention required to maintain operational efficiency at all times, some businesses may need assistance in achieving this goal. This is why so many companies are looking to third-party professionals to help with their disaster recovery needs. A TechNavio report suggested the DR services industry will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 12.5 percent between 2015 and 2019.

The research firm explained disaster recovery services include the backup, recovery and retrieval of data. These capabilities are essential for combating Mother Nature-related incidents and unexpected system failures.

Downtime can cost businesses dearly. Downtime can cost businesses dearly.

Downtime can be a company's demise
Organizations that have yet to experience a debilitating disaster should not rely on this good fortune forever. Firms must devote resources toward business continuity and disaster recovery if they are to avoid prolonged periods of downtime following the next major disruption.

A Ponemon Institute study conducted on behalf of Emerson Network Power found unplanned outages cost businesses $7,900 per minute in 2013, up 41 percent from 2010. The average disruption lasted 86 minutes, amounting to almost $680,000.

"Firms must devote resources toward BC/DR strategies if they are to avoid prolonged periods of downtime following the next major disruption."

"Given the fact that today's data centers support more critical, interdependent devices and IT systems than ever before, most would expect a rise in the cost of an unplanned data center outage compared to 2010," said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. "However, the 41 percent increase in costs was higher than expected and underscores the importance for companies to prioritize risk mitigation."

A vast majority of organizations – 91 percent – reported experiencing unplanned outages at some point during a two-year period. Respondents dealt with an average of two complete data center outages during that time frame. These incidents lasted 119 minutes, costing businesses roughly $901,500 – far more than the $680,700 from 2010.

The study also discovered companies experienced an average of six partial outages during the same two-year period. These events lasted 56 minutes totaling $350,400 in losses, up from $258,000 from the previous survey.

Partner with the pros for continuous support
Comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery strategies demand continuous support to remain successful. Corporate decision-makers who are worried their companies lack the internal resources and expertise to accomplish this goal should not hesitate to contact industry continuity partners. These service providers handle not only the technical aspects of BC/DR, but also the human elements required to create holistic support systems needed to address any crisis, Mother Natured-related or not, to ensure operations are restored quickly, efficiently and securely.