World Password Day is coming up on May 6. It is a day designated to remind us of the importance of this first line of defense against ransomware, spyware, and other bad actors. This was especially true over this past year during which the World Health Organization reported a fivefold increase in cyber attacks.
Yet, contrary to prevailing advice on picking strong passwords, Security.org’s second annual report on America’s password habits and strategies revealed that 14 percent of us used “COVID” in our passwords; 21 percent used “Trump” or “Biden” and 20 percent used a curse word.
A global survey conducted by Gartner found that 88% of business organizations mandated or encouraged employees to work from home (WFH) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With millions of workers around the world now having to access their organization’s data remotely, data protection was put under increased pressure. For many, the answer was to employ a strong password — oftentimes, requesting that employees do so employing a random mix of no less than 15 characters. Undeniably, this was a step that could not be ignored. Unfortunately, many learned the hard way that this was not enough to stop today’s increasingly determined and aggressive cyber-criminals. And given that research, such as that from the Harvard Business School, shows that the WFH paradigm will likely endure, it is clear that stronger measures must also be taken.
The next step in the data protection and business continuity process for virtually any organization (or personally, for that matter) is an effective backup strategy. And the good news is that there is no need to reinvent the wheel here. A simple 3-2-1 backup strategy will do the trick. This means that data should be saved in at least three locations — one on the computer, one on easy-to-access local storage, and another on offsite storage. The options range from local disk to removable media, to the cloud and even tape. And, if at least one copy is “air-gapped” meaning completely unplugged from the network, all the better.
In 2021 and beyond, multi-layered data protection strategies – such as those employing strong passwords combined with thorough backup practices – will help to ensure you, your data, and your organization remains protected in the event of a simple accident, cyber-attack, or any other disaster.
But if your organization has data that is too important to lose, too private to be seen, and too critical to be tampered with then you must take the next step to thwart cyber-criminals. This can be accomplished by employing a strategy that enables you to unobtrusively offload data from what is likely expensive primary storage (cost savings is another bonus here) to a cost-effective storage solution that is engineered specifically to be regulatory compliant and tamper-proof from even the harshest ransomware attacks. And since backups have become the latest malware targets, the storage platform should include “unbreakable backup” meaning it includes an active data vault that creates an immutable copy, which makes recovery of unaltered files fast and easy – so there’s zero operations disruption and never any need to pay the ransom.