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How can regional companies secure data through an endpoint data protection strategy

How can regional companies secure data through an endpoint data protection strategy

In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the world continues to operate remotely, a comprehensive endpoint data protection strategy is the need of the hour

We are in the midst one of the most uncertain times in human civilisation. The crisis has radically changed business processes and the way we work and live.

This situation could potentially lead to a personal and business data crisis, if not mitigated and planned for now.

Data protection has traditionally been a point of concern in the Middle East, with the region having reported the highest average number of data breaches, and the world’s second highest cost from data breaches in 2019, with losses at $6m per incident.

Given the short time-frame in which organisations were forced to completely shift to remote work, it is obvious that the IT teams didn’t have ample time to ensure endpoint hygiene and security checks across corporate devices.

With business continuity becoming the top most priority for CXOs across the world, data security became an afterthought – which can cost heavily to businesses in the long run.

Furthermore, the expansion of today’s mobile workforce has resulted in almost half of all corporate data residing outside the organisational network and in turn, outside of IT department’s control.

The proliferation of ransomware has added a potentially expensive level of complexity and risk to the organisational data scattered across all endpoints. The matter complicates further in those cases where employees are working on their personal devices or accidental data deletion happens by internal, external threats, either malicious or misguided.

While many companies have fallen prey to large data breaches due to an unprotected laptop in the past, endpoints continue to be one of the main sources of breached data even today.

So, how can you ensure that the critical data is well-protected during these times?

Today most organisations already have a practical understanding of how to manage their data center. However, they often decide not to focus on data that resides on endpoints. Infact, it is often seen that endpoints are not even fully backed up or secured, leaving the data on those machines vulnerable to loss. This is the data that is being accumulated across hundreds and millions of endpoint devices every single day.

Allowing unsecured endpoints to roam around could be putting your sensitive intellectual property at risk, and if lost or stolen, the cost can be high.

As the digital perimeter becomes highly porous and dangerous, implementing a holistic endpoint data protection strategy, that automates the backup of endpoint devices and real-time monitoring can help offer the right visibility and defend against remote threats.

With IT departments already over-stretched managing the data within their data centres, a powerful end point data protection solution can take the unnecessary strain off the IT team, letting them focus on essential business tasks to ensure business continuity.

Success is about doing the right preparation
The GCC is already one of the most vulnerable regions in terms of malware attacks, with close to 5.5 million cyber threat incidents recorded in 2019.

Saudi Arabia endured the most attacks in the region, having reported 2.4 million attacks in 2019. The UAE closely followed with 1.9 million attacks in the same year.

As somebody famously said: “Let’s hope for the best, but prepare for the worst” – in a world of ever-growing sophisticated cyberattacks, even the best of security measures can fail at some point.

Hence, implementing an excellent disaster recovery strategy is highly crucial in ensuring that business is up and running, in an event of a cyber attack.

An ideal disaster recovery plan empowers the IT team to remotely collect data from endpoints without causing any disruption and store across multiple clouds. Using a multi-cloud strategy for data protection will ensure you are NOT ‘putting all your eggs in one basket’, while giving the ability to back up one cloud to another, between clouds, across clouds or within clouds.

It is also important to consider that recovering data is not just about a ‘disaster’. From lost or accidentally deleted files to ransomware, natural disasters and even internal threat factors, there are many things that can happen to your data. What organisations need is granular recovery to the point that a single file can be recovered quickly and in isolation without the need to recover an entire system or virtual machine.

In today’s business environment where data is a mission critical asset, this flexibility has become a necessity to meet increasingly strict data compliance rules, combat ransomware and maintain business continuity.

Start small to finish big
Imagine the feeling of panic, if on a typical work-from-home day, you reach for your laptop only to find that your mission-critical project data is not where you expected it to be.

With our mobile workforces dealing with sensitive and valuable data every day, the risk of leaving endpoints unprotected is too high to ignore.

The exploitation of vulnerable data has gotten many companies into undesirable situations in the past, and it is for that reason why a comprehensive endpoint data protection strategy is the need of the hour.

While the future may seem uncertain, the first step in being future-ready is to tie up all the loose ends and get the endpoint security you need to mitigate risk from data breaches.

Wael Mustafa is the area vice president for MESAT at Commvault

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