Are You Ready for the Unexpected?

Warning sign that says crisis just ahead
In our highly connected world, IT disasters can strike without even a moment’s notice. Whether through a cyber attack, a power outage that damages mission-critical equipment, or a natural disaster, such disruptions can bring operations to a standstill, potentially leading to substantial financial consequences and damage to customer relationships. As a Managed Service Provider, we are often confronted with questions about risk mitigation in IT, its implications, the importance thereof and how businesses can ready themselves for unforeseen circumstances.

The Imperative of Thinking Ahead

Many businesses only start to take risk mitigation in IT seriously after they’ve suffered a catastrophic event. A common misconception is that having a single backup solution, or even none at all if the organization’s content is primarily stored in the cloud, is sufficient. But the reality is, an all-encompassing risk mitigation strategy in IT goes far beyond these basics or misguided assumptions. True preparedness requires proactive and forward-thinking measures. For example, it’s surprising how often we encounter clients who are reluctant to participate in even basic backup processes, such as cycling air-gapped external hard drives on an on-premise server that used as part of a comprehensive risk mitigation plan in IT.

The Intersection of Risk Mitigation in IT and Insurance

Cyber Insurance has been increasingly of interest to business owners. As most organizations are required to carry many other lines of insurance, adding on cyber insurance seems easy – just one more line of insurance. While we absolutely recommend having it, the primary purpose of cyber insurance is to provide a financial safety net that is hopefully large enough to keep your business funded while recovering from a catastrophe. A good risk mitigation strategy in IT could have you back up and running in a matter of hours. A lack of one could find you trying to re-create every digital asset your company has…by hand. Regardless of funding, we wouldn’t wish re-creating multiple years of transactions and re-creating intellectual property from memory on anyone. One silver lining for us is that the standards for obtaining cyber insurance coverage have become increasingly stringent each year, necessitating our clients to significantly enhance their cybersecurity measures. We’re, of course, excited to have those conversations.

Building Blocks of an Effective Risk Mitigation Plan in IT

A resilient risk mitigation strategy in IT comprises several components. At its heart, a diverse backup strategy incorporates a multi-approach solution. For us, we typically recommend a mix of the following: Using a backup appliance to back up all mission critical equipment and cloud services (primarily Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace), implementing an “air-gapped” backup (usually to removable storage media like external hard drives that can then be fully taken offline). Additionally, we like to see a local to cloud solution. Each medium protects against different scenarios, such as ransomware, physical compromise, malicious employees, etc. Of course, having some level of documentation in an easily accessible off-network location is warranted.

Overhauling Your Risk Mitigation in IT Approach

So, how can you ensure you’re adequately prepared? Here are some key questions you should ask to evaluate your organization’s readiness:

  • What are the potential risks or disasters that could disrupt our IT operations, and how likely are they to occur?
  • Do we have a comprehensive risk mitigation plan in IT, and if so, when was it last updated and tested?
  • How quickly could we recover our systems and data after a major incident?
  • Do we have a multi-tiered backup system in place?
  • How often are backups made, and where are they stored?
  • In the case of a major cyber-attack, such as ransomware, how would we respond and what steps would we take to restore services?
  • What role does cybersecurity insurance play in our risk mitigation and recovery strategy?
    How are we mitigating the risk of human error leading to a disaster?
  • In a worst-case scenario, how much data could we stand to lose, and what would be the implications for our business operations and our customers?
Risk mitigation in IT is not an option – it’s a necessity. As an MSP, we’re investing an increasing amount of resources and energy into cybersecurity elements that might not be in the daily purview of our clients, but which play a make-or-break role in safeguarding their operations. If someone were to ask us what most keeps us up at night, being adequately prepared for a disaster situation is at the top of our list.

So, ask yourself – is your company truly ready for the unexpected? As you consider the potential risks, your current preparedness level and the impact of a disaster, you’ll realize the absolute necessity of proactive planning. Risk mitigation in IT is not just about managing potential threats; it is about ensuring your organization’s survival and continued success.

Protect Your Business with Proactive Planning

Ensure business continuity even in the face of unexpected IT disasters. Let us help you mitigate risks and safeguard your operations.

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