How Technology Downtime Can Harm Your Company | #CyberSentinel EP011

 

Are there any tools that I can use to calculate the cost of downtime for my organization?

So there's a lot of different methods that have been used to calculate downtime for different organizations. You'll have to pick the one that works best for your organization. Some organizations, are primarily office workers, so you use different calculations would be used for those, versus say a manufacturing plant, which is gonna to be a very different calculation. So, from a very basic standpoint, if you just want to get a ballpark, one method is for just a revenue calculation. If you take your annual revenue divided by 2,080, you'll get roughly what your revenue per hour is for that organization. So as just a very rough starting point, that's what you can look at from a downtime calculation. What's that gonna cost you if you're down for eight hours, 16 hours, couple of days, what's that look like? So that's gonna to be a very rough calculation. Another way to do it is based on salary. Oftentimes office type environments will look at their cost of having their own staff there, so if that staff can't work, that becomes part of that calculation. So you take your payroll, and divide that by that 2,080 calculation number. They're both, obviously, very rough estimates of what that downtime is gonna cost your organization. And, obviously, there is some times that are more critical than others. And as we all know, you know, some kind of a downtime is never gonna happen at your lowest point in the year, your least busy point, it's always gonna to be at the worst time. I encourage you to go look at a tool that's available for free online from one of our partners called Dato. It is a web-based form where you input all kinds of different metrics for your organization. The metrics range from the size of your organization, all those kind of financial figures, as well as how you backup the data currently, what kind of data windows you have, we're gonna look at the restore times, and it's gonna help us to calculate in a much more rigorous way what downtime is actually gonna cost your organization. So we'll put a link to that tool here. Again, it's a free tool. You can put your information in there and play with that tool to figure out what that downtime really is gonna look like for your organization. -

What factors do I need to consider in calculating the costs of a cyber breach? -

The costs that an organization needs to consider in the days after a cyber breach are many. So, the first costs are hard costs. You know, system recovery costs, IT staff people are gonna have to come in and clean all the servers and workstations, laptops in that organization to make sure that whatever that attack was has been removed from the system. Once those systems are clean, then your gonna have to do data recovery. So we're gonna have to restore all the data from your backups, or re-create data that wasn't able to be restored. This is a long and time-consuming, and therefore costly process. While these two things are goin on, you're gonna have downtime. So, your system, you know, what's the system downtime costs for your organization? Different states have different breach notification laws, so you may have costs associated with notifying all your clients or customers that their data has been breached. So, again, if you don't have a highly managed system where you have good telemetry data on data passing in and out of the network, then you're gonna have to do those breach notifications. There's cost associated with that. Once you've notified all those clients or customers, obviously there is a loss of reputation which is gonna impact future sales, potentially, and, depending upon what industry you're in, you're also gonna to be looking at regulatory fines handed out by different government agencies. So, this is big in medical through HIPPA laws, the HITECH Act, where those kind of things are gonna come into play. So there's a lot to consider in those costs after a security breach, beyond just how do we get the network fixed and the data recovered. -

What are some ways for my company to limit downtime?

 When we look at downtime, we want to plan for that in every organization. So that there's a lot of ways that downtime can occur, so we definitely want to have a plan for when it does so that we're not caught off guard. Every organization of any size needs to have some plans around downtime. The first thing we can do to limit downtime is to try to avoid those factors that can contribute to downtime in the beginning. So, we want to look at how much redundancy is on the computer network. A lot of organizations can't afford to have fully redundant infrastructure, but there're certain areas that we can affordably put in redundancy. If the internet is critical to your organization, and it's growing in criticality for most organizations through the deployment of cloud applications, we would look at having multiple internet connections. So there's technologies, the new technology around that is called SD WAN where, which stands for Software Defined Wide Area Networking, where we use equipment on the edge of the network to control where, which internet connection that traffic goes over for web-based applications that your staff uses for critical business functions. The other things we want to look at are, are there applications that run on the local area network that should be run in the cloud. So there's a big movement to the cloud for a lot of different applications. Some stuff we like to see on site, some stuff we put in the cloud, I think there's a mix for every organization. No organization is gonna be fully cloud-based or fully on premise at this point in time. How are your backups configured? So, if we have a failure on a critical server can we pull that server up in a virtual environment on site quickly? So we can take what would be a major downtime event where a server has gone offline, and we have to order in parts, and we have to wait to get that thing back up and running, it's gonna be a major downtime event for most organizations of days, potentially a week, depending upon what's wrong with it. There's technologies now that we're deploying through business continuity that allow us to pull that server up in a matter of as little as 15 minutes on a standby piece of equipment as part of the backup solution so we can spin that environment up. Your staff is working, maybe it's a little slower than it normally is, but you're accessing that data, it's all running, and we're remediating whatever caused that downtime on the back end, but your staff is still functional during that time period. So, and those systems are really nice in that most of them now integrate off-site disaster recovery functionality that includes the ability to spin up those workloads in a cloud environment in the event that you have no office or are not able to go in to that office space and work, so we would be able to stand up a scenario where workers could work from home in an emergency type situation. So there's a lot of things we can do nowadays on the technology side to limit the effect of downtime in the little amount of time that that network is offline and your worker's can't produce, but it's all part of that plan, so you gotta have that planning in place at the beginning so we know what those plans, remediation events are gonna be.

Well, that's all we have for today on this episode of Cyber Sentinel. If you have questions you want us to address on a future episode, reach out to us on social media at #cybersentinel and we'll do our best to get those questions answered in a future episode.