Is Your City Preparing to get Hacked?

In cities across the country, officials are debating how toAdobeStock_207438043    handle the inevitable: getting hacked. It appears that these days it’s not if, but rather when you will come under attack. With massive cities like Atlanta and San Francisco having already been hit by ransomware, it has many others preparing before it’s too late.

What are Cities Doing?

With ransomware expected to surpass $8 billion this year, and an attack striking a business every 14 seconds, cities and organizations should be, and are, worried. Many cities like Boston, Nashville, and Washington D.C., are now looking to add cyber insurance to their coverage. Some cities like San Diego, Detroit and Houston are already prepared with cyber-policies in place. Atlanta, who was notoriously attacked by the hacker group SamSam in early 2018, employed a cyber policy less than three months before that attack. Even though the ransom was for $51,000 -they didn’t pay it- and it ended up costing them roughly $20 million dollars and left the city paralyzed for nearly one week.

“On an average day, Los Angeles sees 45 million unauthorized access attempts that are blocked automatically by firewalls,” said Reuben Wilson, General Counsel for Public Safety in the Mayor’s Office. L.A. doesn’t hold a cyber-insurance policy but has spent a lot of time working on an “aggressive strategy” to improve security. With that many daily attempts, it’s only a matter of time before a hacker makes it through, and then they will be looking for a disaster recovery plan (after the fact).

What Should Your City Do?

So, how should your city handle this new landscape? For starters, it is wise to invest in cyber insurance. With the rise of ransomware attacks on cities, being protected is important. Beyond cyber insurance it is critical to invest in Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). Disasters can strike at any moment. From ransomware, to Mother Nature (power outages cost more than $150 billion annually to the United States economy), to employee mistakes (humans are not infallible), it’s important to be ready for any situation. When partnering with a reputable DRaaS provider, organizations and cities alike can gain peace of mind knowing that their data is safe. When choosing a provider, the following topics should be considered:

  1. Support: Some providers set you up and leave you on your own; while this may be acceptable for larger organizations with a full-time IT staff, smaller organizations will benefit more from a provider that offers technical assistance and advice as needed.
  1. Recovery Speeds: How quickly can your provider get you back in business? This is determined by the following:

Recovery Time Objective (RTO), how much time can pass during a disaster before it affects your Businesses Continuity Plan (or BCP; if you don’t have one, the right provider will help you put one in place).

Recovery Point Objective (RPO), the amount of time in which a business function must be restored to avoid negative consequences or business continuity breaks.

  1. Compliance: When considering DRaaS providers, make sure they meet the compliance requirements needed for your organization. Three of the most important to look for include: HIPAA, CJIS, and SSAE Type II.
  1. Location: Ensure that your data is secured in a hurricane rated structure, equipped with fire suppression systems, environmental controls, raised flooring, biometric scanning, backup power supplies, and 24/7 surveillance.

Cities know that “hoping for the best” is not a long-term solution for Disaster Recovery, which is why many are turning to DRaaS solutions. With ransomware, disasters are happening at a rate like never before; being caught off-guard and without a plan leaves data vulnerable to hackers, which can result in cities being down for weeks, potentially costing millions of dollars.

Are you looking to protect critical data? At DSM, Florida’s preferred cloud provider, we can take care of all your data protection needs. Remember, ransomware is anticipated to be an $8 billion business this year, make sure your data isn’t part of that number by employing a Disaster Recovery solution from DSM. Reach out, we’ll be here.

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