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Data backup plans inadequate, data still at risk - study

Apricorn has announced new findings from the Apricorn 2022 Global IT Security Survey, which revealed that while the majority organisations have data backup plans in place, data for many are at risk.

Apricorn surveyed nearly 400 veteran IT security practitioners in industries such as healthcare, IT, education, financial services and manufacturing about security practices around remote and hybrid work. The survey had a specific focus on data resiliency and the availability to access and resuscitate corporate data in the event of a ransomware occurrence or other cybersecurity attack.

Most respondents (93%) say they have a ransomware readiness plan, but significant knowledge gaps exist with regard to adequate backup and cyber resilience practices.

A full 26% view the cloud as too risky for data backup, but only one in three back up to both the cloud and to encrypted hardware storage devices.

Overall, 82% want their organisations to require encrypted hardware USB usage, but only 34% have mandated such a policy. Additionally, only 20% back up in real time, and only 18% employ the long-established best practice for backup: the 3-2-1 method.

Apricorn managing director US Kurt Markley says, “Data loss events from natural disasters to technology failures to cyber attacks are an ever-present danger for organisations across all industries. Now, the increasing threat of cyber attacks underscores the need for increased data protection. If organisations do not have an adequate data backup strategy in place and have not been successfully attacked, they are lucky not secure or resilient.

"Having data backed up in only the cloud or only offline is not sufficient. Organisations should be following the 3-2-1 rule, in which they keep at least three copies of data stored on two different pieces of media, one of which is off-site. Following this rule with a combination of cloud and hardware encrypted storage gives organisations the best chance for full data recovery.

Two years into the pandemic, 81% of respondents agree that remote and hybrid work are now standard practices within their organisations, noting that all typical security policies are the same regardless of work locations.

However, 20% are not circling back to address security holes that exist as a result of the rapid changes made to accommodate work-from-home and remote work policies at the start of the pandemic. And, while many respondents noted that they have gone back to address their initial remote work security practices, there are still significant fixes that need to be addressed in order to truly consider their organisations and their data resilient.

Of the 80% that are going back to address pandemic-rushed policies, only 41% are addressing integration and enforcement of new technologies such as external USB storage devices, hardware storage and encryption. And only 34% have put a policy in place to mandate encrypted USB storage devices for protecting data on the move.

Markley adds, “Hybrid work environments are the new normal, and organisations must stress the importance of protecting data on the move.

"Data backups are not the sole responsibility of IT administrators. All employees need to take part in backing up data, and following policies to ensure its security. It's alarming that after two years, so many employees and organisations have yet to adopt adequate remote work security policies.

Among those surveyed, 25% of respondents noted that the strict hybrid work policies they put in place are not being adhered to by employees, despite 82% of them continually reinforcing those policies to employees.

Additionally, 60% of respondents do not back up their data or devices in advance of working remotely further weakening their organisations data resilience. While many organisations have considered backup and resiliency initiatives, as well as ransomware readiness, more needs to be done to strengthen them, Apricorn concludes.

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