Wednesday, May 21, 2014
The hidden cost of downtime: Security threats
In addition to expensive productivity loss, downtime can create security risks. Here's how to prevent these damages from burdening your organization.
Secure File Transfer
When your core systems fail, your business operations can come to a halt until you get your resources up and running again. Not only does this downtime impact your employees' productivity, it can also damage your relationship with your customers, cause data loss, and prevent your company from taking advantage of time-sensitive opportunities.
However, there's another side effect of downtime that might not be as obvious: security. With corporate tools and resources inaccessible, workers may resort to consumer-grade alternatives that put data at risk.
The heavy costs of downtime
According to a recent Globalscape study, downtime can cost as much as $1 million per hour by the time you account for all of the consequences of being offline for a period. Survey respondents indicated that these incidents impact their customers, resources, and operations. 76 percent referred to end user frustration, 43 percent discussed data loss, and 52 percent revealed they were unable to send or receive time-sensitive materials.
These heavy costs come in addition to another concerning consequence - the security aspect. Unable to complete their professional activities by the normal means, such as a secure file sharing solution, employees might utilize their own email or other programs that do not have the appropriate protections in place. They might not even be aware that this behavior could be putting your organization's mission-critical resources at risk for corruption and cybercrime.
Preventing security risks
How can you avoid these damages? For starters, implementing a secure file transfer solution that minimizes the chance of experiencing a downtime will help you to avoid the consequences altogether. High availability solutions that make use of active-active configurations offer the greatest degree of protection, since they utilize multiple servers that are always running and ready to take on the extra load should one server fail.
Additionally, as with any security initiative, it's essential to educate workers about the importance of protecting data and the dangers of using outside programs for corporate resources. As a foundation, your security policy should be clear, well-known, and enforced. Finance & Commerce recently offered a number of suggestions to increase the effectiveness of your policy, including:
- Don't use pre-made templates, because employees might be more likely to sign without reading.
- Avoid technical jargon - use language that's easy to read and understand.
- Clarify password management and training expectations.
- Provide protocol for actions should a disaster or system incident occur.
With the right technology as a foundation, the appropriate policies, training, and ongoing vigilance, you can protect your organization from excessive downtime damages.