Last week we dove deeper into your next steps to building your IT department structure. Now that you have completed the bulk of your IT department structure planning, we are going to wrap up our One-Person IT Department series with this final edition. You’ve come this far and put a large amount of time and energy into this project. So what’s the next step? Incident response, monitoring, and data backup and recovery.
Incident Response, Monitoring, and Data Backup and Recovery
Step 1: Responding to an Incident Properly
Yes, implementing the steps in our previous guides are key to protecting your database and heightening your security, but at the end of the day, nothing is guaranteed. Being as prepared as possible up front will greatly reduce your risk of being breached, but an Incident Response process is imperative just in case. The good news is, several credible organizations provide thorough Incident Response plans online, so you are sure to cover your bases and not skip a step in a stressful situation. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has a very comprehensive guide on how to handle an incident along with the SANS Institute’s Incident Handler’s Handbook.
Step 2: Backup and Recovery
We touched on this a bit in the first edition of our series as something to keep in mind as you work through this project. If an incident does occur, you not only need a plan to handle it, but also a plan for recovery. Twinstate Technologies®, a Datto partner for data backup and recovery, offers customers a secure cloud service. With this service, you can back up your applications and data and later retrieve it if it is gone. However, it will only help you if you utilize the services before an incident occurs, not after. Aligning your business with a Datto provider like Twinstate can allow you better backup and disaster recovery without the worry of how to go about it.
The Datto solution will help you through the recovery process and restore your network like nothing ever happened. Another benefit to Datto is that it leaves the recovery work to them and your local IT professionals, not you. In the event of an incident, you only have to worry about logging on and following a short process to get the recovery process started. Twinstate will do the backup and recovery for you using Datto.
On the other hand, you may have chosen to subscribe to your own cloud service, which is not the best option for those who aren't well-versed in IT. However, it's still an option. Popular cloud storage providers include Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. But beware, unlike Datto who makes the recovery process easy and restores your data for you, these systems only store your data and leave the recovery entirely up to you. Recovering data properly is not an easy task and takes a lot of time and skill.
Step 3: Monitoring and Management
Once you have your backup, it isn’t exactly “set it and forget it”. Asset Management is needed to always maintain the architecture that you’ve worked so hard to create. Imagine if you went through the effort to formulate a system that secures your company in the best way possible, but then it goes unattended for a length of time. In a company, suddenly having employees adding programs, and installing and uninstalling software without you knowing could potentially get out of hand fast. You also might not remember the infrustructure changes you made over the years. Having this constant management process is a nice check and balance to ensure your network meets basic housekeeping and helps you complete necessary updates promptly to stay current.
Employees also need to understand that there are certain guidelines that they need to abide by to help maintain the integrity of the network. With the time and money that you spent putting the architecture together, the last thing that you would want to happen is for an employee to compromise the system accidentally. Putting a basic acceptable use policy in place will help guide your staff. Policies like this are a standard practice and don’t have to be overcomplicated. Typical policies can include the necessary do’s and don’ts that are acceptable on the network along with security tips regarding employee passwords and other components that go into keeping their workstation, and therefore, the network safe.
Going almost hand in hand with policy development is awareness training. Having your entire staff aware of not only the measures you’ve taken to improve security but educated on what to look for and ways to keep their immediate workspace safe is just an extra layer of protection for your business.
Lastly, the most important thing to remember is to run trials on this final process on a scheduled basis. In the case of an emergency, an Incident Response plan is only useful if you and your team have worked out possible kinks ahead of time and are clear on what to do. Ensure that you understand how to backup and recover your application and data properly. The last thing you want to do is worry about whether or not your system works correctly after an incident. Finally, having frequent monitoring and management is key to making sure that the system is not only running properly as a whole but a nice way to get your employees to participate in maintaining the network integrity, as well.