Three Industries That Can’t Survive Without Business Continuity

Healthcare, legal and agricultural farming are three industries acutely vulnerable to failure when business continuity is absent from their IT failure contingency planning.

November 14, 2018

4 Min Read

Access to systems, servers and storage holding the most valuable asset a business owns–its data–is critical in today’s digital age. Consequently, businesses are vulnerable to risk when their IT infrastructure fails. In addition to natural disasters, cyberattacks, including ransomware and malware strains, are complicating efforts to mitigate this risk and protect organizations.

While every business needs to backup its data, many need to consider the next level of protection: business continuity. Healthcare, legal and agricultural farming businesses are three key industries acutely vulnerable to failure when business continuity is absent from their IT failure contingency planning. Without access to critical systems, doctors lose access to patient records for treatment, attorneys can’t examine client correspondence, and farmers lose the ability to analyze data to make crop recommendations.

Healthcare Has a Cyber Bullseye on Its Back

Ransomware attacks have been terrorizing the healthcare industry. In January, news broke of an attack on Hancock Regional Hospital that affected the medical center’s email, electronic health records and other internal systems. HealthIT Security also reported on a breach of Adams Health Network, leaving three physicians in the network without access to patient history or appointment schedules the next day. 

The 2018 numbers suggest hackers will continue to disrupt the healthcare industry as nearly 5.6 million patient records were breached in 2017 alone. Even worse, their breaches may go unnoticed. On average, it took 308 days for an organization to discover it had suffered a breach last year. The undetected attacks pose a huge liability for healthcare organizations. If patient information is compromised, especially in a critical situation, organizations will suffer financial losses. But, more importantly, they also will lose their reputation as a trusted institution.

Downtime Costs the Legal World

Law firms globally recognize several risks associated when they cannot access their critical system and data. A recent survey conducted by Instagroup and Sandpiper Partners found revenue loss, inaccessible or lost data, and reputational impact top the list. Clearly, there is a price to pay when legal practitioners lose access. This is even more evident when a ransomware attack occurs.

Sheets and Crossfield, a small law firm based in Round Rock, Texas, that represents city governments, experienced this first hand. A ransomware strain combined with a server failure left the practice exposed, as employees could not access critical data and systems. This small legal practice calculated its lost revenue to total between $10,000 and -$5,000 thousand dollars per day, not accounting for salaries.

Agricultural Farming Is Too Big to Fail

Farmers are not exempt from the dangers posed by natural disasters and cyberattacks. Tornadoes threaten crop production and data storage facilities. And with the growing use of technology across key areas of this industry, hackers can disrupt farmers’ use of satellite-guided tractors and algorithm-driven planting services. As a critical infrastructure sector, it’s imperative farmers take precautions to protect themselves and the economy depending on them.

The issue with these industries, and many others, is they comprise mainly small and midsize businesses (SMBs) that do not typically have a technology department, or they are using less qualified tech resources (e.g., an employee’s college-age son or daughter) to maintain internal systems and infrastructure. It’s essential SMBs realize they need access to a higher level of technical expertise when it comes to securing critical systems and mitigating risk.

Fortunately, there is a solution for SMBs. Many SMBs turn to the expertise of a Managed Service Provider (MSP). MSPs enable SMBs to focus on their core business operations while the MSP takes care of their business technology infrastructure, securing critical systems and ensuring access to business data and systems. MSPs have the expertise to understand the needs of the business and to advise their SMB clients in any industry on the best action to take in proactively securing their data in the event of a disaster or cyber attack. More importantly, MSPs are well versed in business continuity solutions, which is critical to ensuring that access to critical systems continues uninterrupted and that the business stays in business!

Deploying a secure business continuity solution is the key to success for most SMBs and large businesses in the healthcare, legal and agricultural farming sectors, but also in other industries. Whether it is hiring the right internal technology resources or outsourcing to an MSP, it’s important that SMBs act proactively, rather than reactively. This will ensure their data is safe and critical systems are accessible, regardless of what disasters Mother Nature may bring or the nature of the next cyber attack. 

Len DiCostanzo, is SVP, Channel Development, Datto.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.




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