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Data Protection and Recovery in The Cloud: How to prepare for risks to your business data

Is your business prepared for a worst-case scenario? In today’s digital-first world, cloud-based solutions have become a crucial part of business operations, saving costs, while providing increased flexibility, scalability, and security. However, many organizations overlook the importance of data backup and recovery processes, assuming that the cloud is inherently more secure than on-premises solutions.

For medium-sized companies that rely on cloud-based ERP or CRM solutions, the need for enterprise cloud data protection and recovery has never been more critical. In this blog post, we explore the key challenges of cloud data protection and recovery, and how organizations can ensure the safety and accessibility of their critical business data.

Understanding Data Security for Cloud Solutions

Firstly, it needs to be noted that simply utilizing cloud-based business solutions does offer significant benefits from a data security perspective. When compared to traditional on-premise solutions, cloud providers have eliminated many of the most common risks associated with data loss.

Common On-Premise Risks

Hardware Failure:
Redundant hardware and backups with teams of IT professionals responsible for managing them have effectively eliminated this risk for cloud services.

Software Corruption:
Carefully crafted security measures and software patches prevent cloud software corruption, along with technologies that isolate different applications from each other.

Natural Disasters:
Cloud providers utilize multiple data centers in different geographic locations to significantly limit this risk.

Theft or Sabotage:
Robust enterprise level security measures have been put in place to protect against theft and sabotage.

Power Outages:
Cloud providers use redundant power sources, backup generators, and uninterrupted power supplies (UPS), making this risk extremely unlikely.

But even with these additional security features in place, cloud-based solutions are not immune to the potential for data loss. While cloud service providers do their best to limit the potential for security breaches, no system is risk free.

Common risks to Cloud-based business solution data

Cybersecurity Threats:
Cyber-attacks such as data breaches, ransomware, and other forms of malware have become more commonplace than ever. Most businesses encounter Phishing Schemes on a regular basis, and while some are comically easy to spot, others can be quite sophisticated and require real user training and awareness by employees to avoid falling victim to. According to Statistics Canada, 25% of medium sized businesses in Canada were impacted Cybercrime in some form in 2021.

Human Error:
Human error is likely the most common cause for data loss in enterprise cloud software. According to a recent report from Verizon, 82% of data breaches involved human errors in 2022. The simple act or a user accidentally deleting data or misconfiguring cloud infrastructure can easily lead to the permanent loss of data.

Insider Threats:
Insider threats are a significant risk to enterprise cloud software. Malicious insiders, either intentionally or unintentionally, can cause data loss by stealing data, misusing access privileges, or accidentally deleting records.

Service Provider Failure and Outages:
While they are not as common, cloud service providers can experience outages or disruptions that can result in data loss and business downtime. In fact, in early 2023 Oracle NetSuite data centres experienced an outage that left many businesses paralyzed and likely resulted in data loss during their recovery process.

How Microsoft Can Help you stay prepared

As we’ve said, no enterprise solutions come without some level of risks, but Dynamics 365 users can rest a bit easier knowing that Microsoft has prioritized data security with a variety of enhancements aimed at preventing its customers from experiencing data loss. These measures include;

  • Robust data center architecture with redundancy and geo-replication
  • Automatic data backup and recovery
  • Options for long-term retention of backups
  • Granular access controls and permissions management that enable organizations to restrict access to authorized users.
  • Encryption protects data both in transit and at rest, reducing the risk of data loss due to security breaches or unauthorized access.
  • Monitoring and Alerting help organizations identify and respond to potential data loss risks in real-time.

Protecting your data with a disaster recovery plan

While those using Dynamics 365 can trust that Microsoft is working to protect their critical data, we still recommend that our customers take a proactive approach when it comes to data security. That involves regularly monitoring and testing your cloud-infrastructure, implementing strict access controls for your users and, above all else, creating and implementing well defined plan to restore data and resume operations in the event or a security incident.

A well thought out Disaster Recovery Plan is crucial for any business and can be the difference between a minor disruption and catastrophic failure.  Your plan should include specific steps to be taken in the event of cloud data loss along with relevant contact information for key personnel. Of course, just having a plan is not enough. You need a strong foundation of proactive strategies, policies and procedures that include;

Data Backup and Recovery Strategies:
Ensure that recovery is possible with robust protections and recovering capabilities in place in the event of a cloud data loss event. This will involve backing up data to multiple locations, using automated backup and recovery tools, and regularly testing backup and recovery procedures.

Regularly Monitoring and Testing Cloud Infrastructure:
Your business should regularly monitor and test your cloud infrastructure to identify potential vulnerabilities and proactively address them before they can lead to a data loss event.

Regularly Reviewing and Updating Security Policies:
Regularly review and updating security policies or certifications is important to ensure your business remains up-to-date and prepared for the latest threats and vulnerabilities.

How Catapult can help with your data security

As a certified Microsoft partner with over a decade of experience, we know the importance of having a strong data loss prevention strategy in place. If your business is looking to put together recovery plan for your Dynamics 365 cloud data, we’re here to help with managed service offerings that include:

Rapid Response Data Recovery
This Point in Time Recovery (PITR) service will restore solutions and databases to a point in time before the loss event occurred.

Partial Data Recovery
An extremely beneficial solution for accidental data deletion scenarios, this service can restore missing records or data sets without taking your system offline or reverting to a backup.

Solution monitoring and early detection
Our team will configure and monitor alerts related to unusual system activity or events as well as perform regular testing to ensure your business is never caught off guard.

Permission management
Our security team will work with your organization to set up and mange security permissions for end users and leverage Audit Trails to pinpoint when actions that lead to issues occurred. This can help with point in time recovery and potentially identify malicious actors, limiting the risk of human error or insider threats.

Long-term back-up management
Microsoft offers 30-day cloud backup retentions, but many businesses are looking for added protection. Our team can configure and manage the retention of longer-term off-cloud (or alternative cloud) database backups to further limit your risk.

At Catapult, we’re big believers in the benefits of cloud-based ERP and CRM solutions and the added data security they provide. Far too often though, we see businesses disregard the very real security risks that are still present. While moving to the cloud will mitigate many common threats to your data, it’s important that businesses fully understand and have plans in place to address the threats that remain. If your business is interested in more robust data security and implementing an effective Disaster Recovery Plan, get in touch today to find out how we can help.

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