Over the past few years, agencies within the public sector have worked diligently to minimize cyber threats from compromising data security. But with the start of the pandemic — and consequently, a rapid increase in hybrid work environments — the cybersecurity game has changed. With this amplified digital landscape, the need for a more robust data recovery strategy has emerged.
During an online webinar with GovLoop, Brian Gardner (Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for the City of Dallas, Texas) and I reviewed best practices government agencies can implement to build an effective data recovery plan and protect their critical assets against cyber threats.
As the workforce perimeter increases, the likelihood of cyber threat also multiplies. The first step in defending data is identifying your agency’s critical assets. For example, many government agencies recognize citizenry information as a critical data asset to the organization.
To discover which assets are most critical to your specific agency, ask questions like:
Once you have identified the assets most critical to your organization, you can start building out your strategy. Begin by applying a cybersecurity methodology to help you align your ideas to proven processes. The NIST Framework is a great example of a cybersecurity framework that helps your organization lay out procedures to protect, detect, respond, and recover from cyber threats.
When building out your data recovery strategy, ask questions like:
It is also important to include processes around backup data storage as a key element of your data recovery plan in the event that your original online storage mechanism is lost.
It’s great to have a plan, but does your agency have the resources to successfully execute your strategy? Many organizations may have the right procedures to launch a recovery initiative, but too late discover they lack the technical infrastructure to carry out the idea.
Do not wait for an emergency to find out if your recovery plan is effective. Public sector agencies deal with highly sensitive assets, and a failed recovery process can have long-term consequences to organization and state citizenry. Frequently testing the effectiveness of your data recovery plan is imperative to the full protection of your organization.
With cybersecurity, prevention is key. Data recovery strategies must exceed the increased risk that a hybrid workforce faces with employees working within extended cyber perimeters. Organizations that proactively strategize for cyberattacks mitigate the high consequences of losing critical assets and effectively defend their data from harm.