You survive only when you store…data!

There was a time when the concept of robbery meant that whatever could be seen could be stolen. This made the world happy when things moved into the digital domain which later morphed into the cloud. Yes, the world was truly happy in that there was no need to worry about the physical upkeep of assets and the very issue of being robbed was all but over.

But trust the dark-side to be two steps ahead! The moment things went into cyber-space, there was a whole host of those who wanted to get there first in the form of viruses, malicious apps, ransomware and now data theft and even the theft of money and resources!

The latter has some seriously awful implication in that increasingly we have turned to the cloud as a repository of all manner of data, be it about financial dealings, ownership records and other similarly place highly-sensitive information which if it fell into the wrong hands could make our lives and interest as also of those around us very, very unsafe.

They say a chain is as strong as its weakest link(s). In the case of India, in an unfortunate way, the weakest links are those which ought to be the strongest. Government offices, Municipalities, PSUs, Banks, Government-funded projects etc have some of the weakest cyber-security systems despite the fact that most have adequate budgets and also the right manpower.

Two cases, in particular, stand out and tell us where we stand vis-a-vis issues relating to data security. The first is the recent COOPERATIVE Bank heist where close to an INR 100 crores were cooly and unhurriedly siphoned off from the Bank’s servers to various grey institutions abroad with seemingly no chances of a recovery ever. Authorities now blame nameless and faceless North Korean hackers for the same. The second pertains to Pune’s famed Municipal Corporation, the PMC whose vital data for 2017-2018 got corrupted due to unnamed reason. And best of all, the Municipal Corporation DID NOT HAVE A BACK-UP OF THIS DATA! YES, NO BACK-UP!

These examples, the more known ones, just seem to be the proverbial tip of the iceberg but are potent example of what can happen in the dark and not-so-visible world of data storage (especially related to money transactions worldwide where cybercriminals seem to have easy accesses to anyone’s pockets) where adequate care and caution does not seem to have been displayed.

Continuing from the above (though without examples as of now), this phenomenon does not seem to have affected only government and apathetic bodies. This unenviable list surely has private enterprises too who are either behind times or do not have resources to implement the best of security systems. Thus, a big chunk of very important data which ought to be secured using the best of systems (including old-world things such as DVDs, tapes & lately SSD drive besides today’s Cloud shared drives, DR aspect to name a few) is lying open waiting for the right & resourceful robber to make off with the booty!

In such circumstances, what is it that an enterprise can do to secure its interests with respect to data-security? There are actually quite a few steps that can be taken such as:

Have a dedicated department within the organization tasked with the duty of taking care of back-ups using the latest technology, systems, and equipment. No doubt there is the IT department which takes care of all these issues but security being primary, there ought to be a separate cell within the IT department which does this job.
When using a cloud-server, try to go with those considered the best. Cost could be a consideration but weigh it against the likely loses that may take place due to theft. Where would it take you? And how much would you lose??
Use multiple options to store and backup data and see to it that these mediums are not bunched in one place which increases the likelihood of losses in case of an incident. These should be stored in various locations spread-out across multiple regions & availability zones in the case of the cloud. Like we mentioned earlier in this article, a lot of options exist such as DVDs, tapes & lately SSD drives, Cloud shared drives, DR aspect to name a few.
A system of coding within the program’s architecture which aids in storing and routing information to a different location such that even if one office/ location is affected, the others perform as usual.
Check backup data frequently. Nasty surprises are reserved for those who do not look back after performing an act. It’s like buying a lock and never, ever maintaining it and getting a shock of your life finding that the thief had nothing much to do given that your lock had all but disintegrated with time and lack of maintenance! It is thus advisable to check and double check all that you have stored to see if everything is in order and tie-up all the possible lose-ends which come about with time.
These steps are but some of the likely steps one can take to safeguard against attempts at data theft. With time threats will increase and so shall the technology to safeguard against it. We shall then make another attempt and keep you informed!

Till then be safe and very secure. It’s any day better than being truly sorry!

Leave a Reply