Benefits of a Disaster Recovery Plan for Fort Lauderdale Businesses

Every business that operates in Fort Lauderdale has become all too familiar with the various disasters that befall the region. For example, hurricanes are a very common and potent problem in this area. The loss of valuable information compounded with physical destruction results in between 40 and 60% of small businesses never reopening after a hurricane. Hurricanes combined with hardware system failures, cyberattacks, and human error are all reasons to examine the benefits of a disaster recovery plan for Fort Lauderdale businesses.

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

In terms of business, a disaster recovery plan is a documented, systematic means of restoring a company’s operating capabilities and/or data after a disaster has damaged the physical or digital aspects of the business.

Disaster Recovery Plans Instill Confidence in Customers

Any company will (rightfully) lose customers if they are unable to protect their data. When securing clients for your business in Fort Lauderdale, a disaster recovery plan could be framed as a measure to reduce their risk by choosing to work with you. The ability to securely back up and maintain customer data off-site or using secure Cloud systems will bolster a client’s confidence in your business. They’ll understand that storms, fires, or cyberattacks will not prevent you from keeping their information safe

Off-Site Backup Facilities Restore Processes Almost Immediately

Hardware losses are a gut-punch to many businesses. Depending on a company’s needs, a disaster recovery plan could simply back up data from hard drives. That allows the business to get their data back as a minimum standard of safety. However, more critical, driven businesses can consider hot and cold sites for their needs. A hot site is a secure, off-site location that has all the hardware and software that a business needs to step into the area and get back to work immediately. A cold site facility is secure and can be stocked with hardware, but it requires further setup before business can resume. These different levels of preparedness provide companies with several options for maintaining their business and getting started after a disaster. At the minimum, this protection will restore lost data, but the full coverage allows workers to get back to business as usual as soon as possible.

Next-Generation Cyber Security Ends Threats Before They Start

Unless a business is specifically positioned to provide unique and valuable information, the chances are good that it won’t be directly targeted by cybercriminals. The best thing to do is make the company the least viable target for hackers and corporate espionage so that it will be passed over for more opportune targets. Furthermore, implementing physical security measures and industry-specific cybersecurity suites can cut down on the potential for loss in your business and maintain backups of valuable data in storage not connected to the original source.

Preparing your business for a loss requires thinking about the unthinkable. Unfortunately, Fort Lauderdale has a seemingly omnipresent threat of damaging hurricanes along with the typical threats to a business. Fortunately, working with local businesses like Bluwater Technologies, a Wheelhouse IT company, to put a disaster recovery plan in place can prevent the worst from happening after a catastrophe. Using this local company that understands the difficulties of operating in this market, any small or medium-sized business can prepare for the worst and customize their plan to suit their specific needs.

Call us at (954) 474-2204 or click here to request a quote.

The RobbinHood Attack Could Cost of Baltimore $18 Million

the-robbinhood-attack-could-cost-of-baltimore-18-million

In May 2019, the city of Baltimore found itself in major IT trouble.

A crippling ransomware attack took down systems in almost every department of the government. Files were encrypted and couldn’t be recovered. The perpetrators demanded 13 Bitcoin — about $76,000 — to restore the files.

To its credit, the city refused to pay the criminals. To its discredit, the city’s IT management was in such bad shape that fixing the damage cost the city millions. It was completely unprepared for any large-scale data disaster. Other IT operations should learn from Baltimore’s example and avoid its mistakes.

The Attack

The ransomware that hit Baltimore goes by the name of RobbinHood. It’s an aggressive piece of malware that attacks Windows computers. It starts by stopping services that could interfere with encryption, including security software. It disables Windows automatic repair. Only then does it encrypt the documents on the computer and display a message demanding payment.

Currently there’s no known way to recover the files without paying.

The attack on Baltimore’s systems disabled email and other services. Large numbers of important records were lost. The city’s emergency services, including the police and fire departments, withstood the attack apart from losing email access. Few other systems did as well.

Email and payment processing systems remained down for weeks. People were unable to pay taxes and fines. Lack of access to data held up real estate transactions.

According to current estimates, recovery has cost the city $18.2 million, including lost revenue. It could be even more. Money was diverted from services to pay the costs, and taxpayers will certainly feel the pain. The good news is that it will pay for major improvements in IT security.

Baltimore’s Mistakes

No network on the Internet is 100% immune to ransomware. It’s necessary to be prepared for the worst. Baltimore’s IT setup wasn’t prepared at all. Some of the problems were so plain that city councilors called them “mind-boggling.” Critical data was stored on desktop machines, with no systematic backup.

The city had no IT disaster recovery plan. It had no insurance against data disasters. Ransomware insurance is a growing business, but the city of Baltimore hadn’t taken advantage of it.

Computers weren’t regularly patched to remove Windows vulnerabilities. The systems were full of weaknesses just waiting to be exploited.

The blame fell on the city’s CIO, who has been suspended from his job. He faced criticism for poor communication after the attack. He had taken measures to improve security after a 2018 ransomware incident, but they proved to be insufficient.

How to Avoid a Ransomware Disaster

Every IT department should assume a ransomware attack can happen. Being prepared requires two things. The first is to make the systems as resistant to harm as possible. The second is to be able to recover quickly and without permanent data loss.

All important data needs to be kept on well-protected servers and backed up. Desktop machines are highly exposed to the Internet and run all kinds of software. Their users mostly aren’t skilled in data management. Entrusting important data to those machines is an invitation to disaster.

Cloud storage is the best choice in many cases. It’s stored off the premises, and it’s professionally managed for the best protection against failure of all kinds.

A network should have a disaster recovery plan in place. It protects not only against ransomware but against natural disasters and physical theft. Disaster recovery requires offsite backup and a way to get systems running again quickly. The plan should be periodically tested to make sure it works.

Is Your Security Up to Par?

Security plans need to be multi-layered and regularly updated. You can’t just throw something together and hope it’s good enough. Bluwater understands ransomware, hardware failure, human error, and other threats to data. We can provide assistance ranging from consultation to full security management.

Contact us to learn how we can help you to avoid scenarios like the one Baltimore faced.

A ‘Disaster Recovery’ Plan Begins with a ‘Risk Assessment’.

A 'Disaster Recovery' Plan Begins with a 'Risk Assessment'.

Forbes in a recent overview of business emergency/contingency plans, challenged stakeholders with this question “Is your business prepared for the worst?”

Prepare for ‘Disaster Recovery’

For companies operating without a written Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity Plan (BCP), a disruption caused by hardware failures, building fire or flooding can greatly impact efforts to promptly resuming ‘business as usual.

While such strategies may be more commonplace in big business, DR plans are often overlooked by smaller companies. Unfortunately, without a written plan in place a small—or even temporary—disruption can delay recovery.

Getting operational quickly and efficiently requires the strategic planning and foresight of a BCP (Disaster Recovery Plan)…to improve responsiveness by the organization, minimize confusion, and ensure clear decisions are made during a time of crisis.

Getting the C-Level Suite On-board!

Today, more companies are creating DR plans to make sure their operations return to full operational-mode quickly. Notably, and in what could be a clarion call to begin the process, IT folks are turning more-and-more to their ‘C-level’ stakeholders for the ultimate buy-in. As Information Age noted: 

It is therefore vital that IT leaders effectively communicate the latent threats to the ‘C-Suite’ – the top executives at that organisation – to successfully address the weaknesses that may exist and be fully prepared to respond when they happen.

The ‘Business Impact Analysis’

The first step toward establishing a DR plan is to audit the company’s vulnerable assets. This ‘Risk Assessment’ ( ‘Business Impact Analysis‘) generally will include the network’s hardware, all programs, and applications critical to maintaining the business.

Most importantly, the plan should assign specific roles for team members; also, who would have the go-ahead to spend if equipment needs replacement. Moreover, everyone should be on board with the assigned authority throughout the recovery process.

Contact us to learn how our proactive, Backup & Recovery services can bring the continuity you need to keep your organization up and running in during small or large emergencies.

How To Develop A Disaster Recovery Plan: Six Key Tips

How To Develop A Disaster Recovery Plan: Six Key Tips

IT disasters are inevitable. They range from cyber attacks to power outages, and if they occur when you’re unprepared, they may cause severe losses. The best way to safeguard your business and sustain its success is to develop a strong disaster recovery plan.

disaster recovery plan

To develop a disaster recovery plan, consider the following tips:

  1. Map out your responses to different risks. Disaster recovery following a network equipment outage will look different than the responses called for after a ransomware attack. (There are also combinations of disasters to account for, such as hackers who deploy malware and launch DDoS attacks simultaneously.)
  2. Be as specific as possible. For example, name the employees in charge of different aspects of disaster recovery (such as notifying the public or overseeing data restoration). Come up with clear, measurable goals, such as the maximum allowable downtime for certain critical applications and the frequency with which you’re performing data backups. When planning how you’ll recover from a cyber attack, differentiate between different kinds of attack and their likely effects.
  3. Conduct a thorough company review. Do you know where you’re storing all your data (the cloud, on-premises backup drives, etc.)? Are you aware of the vulnerabilities in your network? What major weather phenomena are likely to affect you? You can’t plan without this kind of detailed knowledge. You’ll also need to update your plan as your company undergoes changes.
  4. Prioritize your data and other assets. What’s your most critical, sensitive data? Which other IT assets do you need to protect most strongly? This information will shape your disaster recovery plan.
  5. Make sure you’re always ready to respond. If a disaster strikes, designated employees will quickly issue communications, retrieve and restore data backups, etc. Even when disaster isn’t imminent, you should remain on the alert – for example, by monitoring your network round-the-clock and regularly backing up your data. Disaster recovery depends on extensive preparations.
  6. Test your plan. Run drills or exercises to ensure that your employees know what to do and that your disaster recovery measures work as you expect them to.

For further questions, please contact us. A well-developed disaster recovery plan protects you against severe financial losses and even the possibility of going out of business. We can help you draw up your disaster recovery plan and implement it successfully.

The Crucial Elements of a Managed Services Provider

The Crucial Elements of a Managed Services Provider

What are the crucial elements of a managed services provider? What should be included in your services provider package? Will it offer security in times of a disaster, or anytime?

Here are some ways an effective MSP can help your business thrive and take the worry out of networking and security issues.

  1. Staff and Talent Acquisition– An MSP takes current staff and has them do what they do best, while combining it with the best outsourced agents for specific IT tasks. These can come from a variety of sources. But it still keeps the process under the same roof by calling on specialists from within or without, whenever they are needed the most.
  2. Handles networking and security issues– The complications of networking and keeping your network and servers secure can be immense. Having a managed services provider that takes time and care to ensure it all runs efficiently and limits down time is essential to the smooth operation of a business.
  3. Cloud service solutions– A good MSP also provides the best cloud service and integrates all your systems to work with your cloud servers. Cloud storage and maintenance is one of the most important things a business can do to allow for natural disasters, have a reliable backup system, and be able to access files from any location. Choose a managed services provider who understand how things work in the cloud.
  4. IT support and management– It is important to be able to get in touch with someone in the event of a crisis. Having all your systems in one place often makes this process simpler and easier to manage. If you do not have to call different places to get the job done, it will also happen faster.
  5. Disaster recovery plans– Having a disaster recovery plan is essential to the smooth continuity of your business in the event of a disaster. Plan today by having an MSP who knows how to handle this, and how to design a plan that will work in the event of a crisis.

When looking for the best managed services provider (MSP), it is important that you find one that can handle the above elements when you need them. Networking, security, and cloud-based services, as well as disaster and recovery plans are all essential to the smooth operation of a business. Having local IT representatives, or at least ones who can respond quickly to any breaches in security or other issues, will help provide a sense of security in the day-to-day routines of your business.

If you need advice on how this applies to your business, or want to consult with us about what we can offer as a managed services provider, contact us.