In September, Australian telecoms giant Optus said hackers accessed current and former customer data following a cyberattack on its systems. Optus said in a press release that an unspecified number of customer names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, home addresses, and identity document numbers, such as driver’s licenses or passport numbers, were taken in the breach.
Optus is far from being the only telecoms victim. In the United States, T-Mobile disclosed its seventh network breach earlier this year after hackers with the Lapsus$ cybercrime group stole the telco’s source code. Last year, the second largest cell carrier in the U.S. said at least 47 million customers had personal information stolen by hackers.
The threat of ransomware is keeping many telecom company execs up at night. In our digitalised world, cyber-attacks are the weapon of choice in bringing down companies, and cyber-criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated. For example, criminals spreading the Noberus ransomware are adding weapons to their malware to steal data and credentials from compromised networks.
Historically, telecom security officers have focused on building a moat around the castle through firewalls, antivirus solutions, multifactor authentication, intrusion detection and prevention, and more. But these barriers are no longer good enough because most organisational data now resides outside the castle. Even after deploying layers and layers of defence, organisations are finding that they are still vulnerable to cyberattacks and that their data is still getting compromised.
A 360-degree view of IT security is required to help telecom companies protect their data. That means expanding the focus to include data backup and recovery solutions and immutable storage that, until now, have not been a key focus. Companies can no longer afford to treat these solutions as an afterthought. Instead, they must be a critical component of every cybersecurity strategy. Backup and recovery, together with immutable storage, are the last critical line of defence. Indeed, a solid data protection plan can safeguard an organisation’s mission-critical data and help secure it against disruptions and cyberattacks, thus minimising damage to operations.
That’s why there is a need to rebalance the overall approach to data security. There needs to be a better way to manage risk while at the same time optimising the ability to recover data in the event of a disaster. Here are the top three steps to balance the equation and integrate data protection into your cybersecurity plans.
1: Make sure you have a recovery plan
The first step in any cybersecurity strategy should be backing up critical data. But data backup alone is not enough. It would be best if you also had a robust plan to recover your data quickly and cost-effectively in the event of a cyberattack. The truth is that without a well-thought-out recovery plan in place, you may be unable to properly restore the exact version of a file or folder following a data loss.
Here’s one way to think about data backup and recovery. Attempting to restore data without a solid recovery plan is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle after half the pieces have gone missing. It’s a recipe for disaster, especially during a crisis when you’re scrambling to save your data now—because tomorrow could be too late. A good recovery plan can help you locate all the pieces and swiftly put them together at a time when every minute is vital, and you don’t have a moment to lose.
2: Choose an immutable storage solution
A robust and reliable backup and recovery plan allow you to safeguard your data even if a cyberattack victimises you. A vital component of any such strategy is a storage solution that continually protects your data by taking snapshots every 90 seconds. These snapshots make it possible for you to go back to specific points in time before an attack and recover entire file systems in a matter of minutes. As a result, even if a cyberattack is successful, your information will be quickly and easily recoverable to a very recent point in time.
Because your backup data is immutable—your data can’t be altered in any way, not by your administrators and not by ransomware — there will always be a series of recovery points, ensuring your data remains protected. This immutability can also bridge the security and the operational infrastructure teams, which have traditionally been siloed. That means these two groups can speak the same language and work together in the face of cyber threats.
3. Get a one-click recovery
It would help if you did everything possible to minimise downtime in a cyberattack. That’s why looking for a data protection system that is easy to deploy, simple to manage, and rocksteady even under the most harrowing circumstances is imperative. Your data protection system should also deliver orchestrated recovery with a single click.
In a cyberattack, you should be able to recover confidently by safely spinning up copies of physical and virtual systems onsite and offsite in minutes—not hours or days. An ideal data protection system will also use analytics to identify frequently used data that a business should always back up and less vital data that doesn’t have to be. This system gives you an intelligent, tiered data architecture that provides rapid access to mission-critical information. It also saves you money on data storage while keeping essential data safe from catastrophe.
With cyber-attacks showing no sign of abating, telecom companies must adopt a robust cybersecurity plan – their lifesaver when an attack strikes. Backup and recovery are a critical part of a cybersecurity plan – and the only reliable way to reverse or mitigate the damage of a cyber-attack.
Your data is your most important asset. If compromised by ransomware, you’re dead in the water. That’s why you need to make data protection a crucial part of any cybersecurity strategy. With the right approach, your data will be quickly and easily recoverable even after an attack, and you’ll be able to survive anything the bad guys throw at you.