2018 Business Continuity Trends to Watch
Where is business continuity headed in 2018-2019? A quick look at today’s trends provides a glimpse of how companies’ priorities may be changing in the months ahead.
In a recent post, we discussed how the industry is constantly evolving. But you don’t need a crystal ball to figure out where things are going. Rising threats are already leading to new technologies and protocols at organizations around the globe.
Here are some key trends to keep an eye on this year and beyond.
1) Ransomware Defense (Yes, AGAIN)
Not to beat a dead horse, but: ransomware is not going away anytime soon. And while there are some encouraging signs that businesses are working harder to protect themselves, many companies are still unprepared for an attack.
Even after the disastrous global attacks of WannaCry and NotPetya in 2017, companies are still falling victim to ransomware every day. High-profile attacks in 2018 so far include Boeing, the City of Atlanta and the Colorado Department of transportation. Likely hundreds more successful infections have gone unreported at organizations of all sizes.
As businesses continue to learn (the hard way) how serious this threat is, they are increasingly implementing new solutions for preventing and responding to such attacks in the future. Emerging trends include:
- Stronger anti-malware solutions, including software designed exclusively for identifying suspected ransomware footprints before they become widespread infections
- More dependable backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solutions, like those from Datto, which have built-in ransomware detection and also enable faster recovery after an attack
- Expanded employee training programs that educate staff on the risks of ransomware and how to avoid it
- Stricter network/access controls to prevent the spread of ransomware from one machine to another
2) BC management: in-house vs. outsourced
With the rise of DRaaS (disaster recovery as a service), more companies are discovering the financial benefit to outsourcing their business continuity management.
We all know that BC management is costly and time-consuming, especially for small to medium businesses (SMBs). Simply keeping up with changes in the industry is a full-time job. And if a company’s in-house teams don’t have the right experience, they could be unknowingly putting the business at risk.
By outsourcing this role to qualified providers, an increasing number of companies are:
- Reducing the cost of maintaining continuity, while also enhancing their defenses
- Implementing stronger, more dependable BC/DR technologies
- Gaining better insight into potential risks and weaknesses within their existing continuity planning
For smaller businesses, it’s nearly impossible to manage business continuity effectively. Keep an eye on this trend in the months ahead as more companies seek external contractors to fill these critical gaps.
3) Network & internet continuity
Cyberattacks like ransomware have gained a lot of national attention in recent years. That’s partly because of the eye-popping sums being paid to hackers, which can sometimes be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
But here’s what you don’t hear about: countless companies losing money, every day, because of a simple Internet outage or because their network went down. Disruptions to network continuity may be too “boring” to get the big headlines. But make no mistake, these disruptions are becoming increasingly costly for businesses. When a network goes down—whether due to natural disaster, cyberattack, failing hardware or something else—production screeches to a halt.
Here are some trending solutions that businesses are implementing in 2018:
- Internet failover in the form of backup wireless connectivity. Just as one example, Datto has introduced 4G LTE failover in its DNA networking appliance, ensuring that businesses remain connected even if the primary connection is down
- Self-healing mesh WiFi networks to provide greater wireless coverage across physical spaces and more effectively troubleshoot connectivity issues
- Network upgrades/investments to account for the increasing number of bandwidth-hogging applications in the workplace
- Software-defined networking (SDN) to automatically optimize network speed and bandwidth controls with software, thus reducing bottlenecks and outages
4) Cloud-to-Cloud Backup
Business-critical applications are increasingly SaaS-based, with data stored in the cloud, rather than on-site. Unfortunately, this means it’s out of your control. So what happens if that data is lost or accidentally deleted by a user? It could be gone for good. This kind of data loss, even on a small scale, can be extremely costly for businesses.
Solutions like Backupify from Datto already offer cloud data backup for common services, including:
- G-Suite, Gmail, calendars, Google Drive, etc.
- Office 365, Microsoft Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, calendar, contacts, etc.
- Salesforce customer data, leads, order verifications, etc.
But that’s only a handful of cloud-based software solutions in use today. Countless other SaaS-based applications are used by companies around the world every day. Often, those applications are an essential component of businesses’ operations. So if data is lost, it can spell disaster.
In the months ahead, look for more cloud-to-cloud backup offerings that can be seamlessly integrated with other SaaS applications, so that companies retain more control over the critical data being stored in the cloud.
5) New or Expanded BC Software
In a recent survey of businesses across the globe, 1 in 10 said they “are planning to implement new or updated business continuity software” by the end 2018 – a nine percent increase in such responses over 2017.
That’s a sizeable enough change that’s worth looking into. But the problem is that “business continuity software” can mean many things. And it’s unlikely that all of these companies are looking for the same exact type of solution. What it does illustrate, however, is that organizations are actively seeking newer, better, more efficient ways to manage and maintain continuity.
Various types of BC software rising in use include:
- Backup and disaster recovery solutions for managing the entire data-backup process
- Risk assessment and impact analysis software, which can also support the business continuity plan
- Risk and asset management applications to keep track of company assets, values and potential losses
- Cloud-based data backup solutions
- Platforms for managing emergency communications, protocols and alert systems
Each type of software has its own unique benefits. It’s important to remember that, only a few years ago, business continuity planning was a highly manual process. New technologies and tools make this process infinitely easier, so it’s a good sign that more businesses are planning to adopt the latest software solutions.
6) Virtualized Hybrid Data Backups
We’ve already touched a little bit on the trend toward stronger BDR solutions above. But since data protection is virtually synonymous with business continuity, we need to dig a little deeper to see where things are moving in BDR.
One key rising trend is virtualized data backups, replicated both onsite and in the cloud—sometimes called hybrid virtualization. Datto is one of the biggest names in virtualized data protection, with BDRs creating image-based backups that are fully bootable virtual machines. But Datto isn’t the only player in this space. Several BDR providers now offer their own virtualized backup solutions.
What’s the benefit of virtualized backups?
- The ability to spin up a backup in seconds, rather than waiting hours or even days for a full recovery
- The ability to virtualize applications instantly, so users can continue performing business-critical tasks during the recovery
- The ability to access backup data and applications from anywhere
Additionally, the hybrid factor provides the benefit of being able to boot the backups locally or in the cloud if on-site systems have been compromised.
At a time when downtime is costing businesses an average of $8,581 an hour, hybrid virtualization is rapidly becoming an indispensable option for data recovery.
7) IoT Security
The Internet of Things is still in a Wild West stage. An exciting proliferation of smart devices is changing the workplace as we know it. But, as with all new technologies, IoT comes with a lot of security risks.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen more businesses installing a wide range of IoT devices, from Smartboards to security cameras, and we expect this trend to continue. The problem is that many of these devices are vulnerable to cyberattack. In some cases, the devices can be completely taken over and controlled by hackers. In others, the devices are used as a proxy to entering the company network.
So it’s no surprise that a rising trend in IoT (and business continuity) is security solutions aimed at safeguarding those devices.
Microsoft is one of several technology companies that has taken a step toward solving IoT’s security problems. The company has plans to work with IoT manufacturers to install a tiny microcontroller chip into devices, which will fend off hacking attempts.
Other trending IoT security solutions to watch include:
- Comprehensive IoT management software to monitor and control all connected devices from a single screen
- Third-party testing and assessment tools to periodically test the security of IoT devices deployed on the network and identify potential weaknesses
- Intrusion detection and threat analysis tools that inspect the data packets traveling to/from deployed IoT devices
Get a free demo of rising business continuity trends
See for yourself where business continuity is heading in 2018 and beyond. Request a free demo of today’s leading data protection solutions, or contact our experts at Invenio IT. Call (646) 395-1170 or email us at [email protected].