The Seven Stages of Cyber Resilience (and How a Service Provider Can Help You Survive and Thrive)

AUGUST 22ND, 2023

By Richard Massey, Vice President of Sales, Arcserve EMEA

Data is the beating heart of every modern-day enterprise, from large corporations to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). For many, data is by far the most valuable asset they own, with one survey finding that 99 percent of Fortune 1000 firms are investing in data and AI initiatives. If these companies lose access to their data due to a cyberattack or natural disaster, it can bring their operations to a screeching halt. The results aren’t any different for SMBs. That’s why data resilience is now a critical necessity for every business.

Resilient organizations implement processes that enable them to quickly bounce back from any situation in which their data is compromised. But only some organizations are resilient. Most SMBs aren’t. A recent global survey by Arcserve revealed that only 23 percent of small and midsize organizations have mature data resilience strategies with associated goals they can use to track progress.

That isn’t ideal, but it is understandable. As an SMB, you’ll likely be laser-focused on your day-to-day operations. Your team may well dedicate almost all its time to running the business, managing marketing and sales, serving customers, and staying on the right side of tax collectors. This focus works great for achieving your business goals but limits your ability to handle additional tasks like cybersecurity.

Keeping Your Business Running In Real-Time Should Always Be Your Top Priority

As an SMB, you already know about cyber threats. But you may think it’s just larger businesses in the crosshairs of attackers. The reality is that threat actors are not selective based on industry or company size. They target every potential victim, regardless of how small or large your company may be. No one is immune to the threat of cyberattacks—and the sooner you realize it, the better off you’ll be.

The Seven Stages of Cyber Resilience

The “seven stages of grief” refers to the psychological process individuals typically go through when experiencing profound loss or bereavement, including shock, denial, anger, bargaining, and depression.

Applying the “seven stages of grief” to SMBs dealing with data protection issues looks something like this:

1. Shock and Denial    

This is when an SMB first becomes aware of the potential risks to its data. The organization might be shocked to learn about the extent of the potential damage and the various threats. There might also be some denial, as the SMB may initially find it hard to believe such threats could impact their business so seriously.

2. Pain and Guilt    

As SMBs begin to understand the gravity of the situation, they may feel pain from potential losses or damage to their business. They may also feel guilt, particularly if they haven’t taken data protection seriously in the past, potentially exposing their business to unnecessary risk.

3. Anger and Bargaining

The SMB might feel anger toward the circumstances that have led to the data threats, such as cybercriminals or past negligence. The SMB may also start bargaining or looking for quick fixes to protect data, which might lead to ineffective strategies.

4. Depression

Realizing how much effort and resources are required to protect their data may lead to feelings of depression. The SMB may feel overwhelmed by the complexities of data protection and the potential impact of data loss on their business.

5. Upward Turn

As SMBs start to take concrete steps to improve their data resilience, things start to look up. They may begin to see that, although the process is complex, it is manageable and within their capabilities. The first step, for instance, is determining the critical operating systems. There are those that, if compromised, will cause a minor disruption. But some will stop the entire business in its tracks, perhaps even put them out of business. SMBs can start by determining where their critical data is stored and which systems are needed for their businesses to function effectively.

6. Reconstruction and Working Through

During this stage, the SMB is actively working on its data protection strategies. It is implementing new measures, improving its systems, training its staff, and generally doing the work needed to improve data resilience. For instance, the SMB can beef up its backup and recovery processes by storing data copies in separate locations to mitigate data loss from events like a cyberattack. Read up on this subject and the 3-2-1-1 backup strategy in this blog post

SMBs can also implement immutable data storage, which safeguards information by taking snapshots every 90 seconds. So even if ransomware does sneak through and data is overwritten, the information will still be easily recoverable to a recent point in time.

7. Acceptance and Hope

Finally, the SMB accepts the importance of data resilience and the effort required to achieve it. When the proper controls and alerts are in place, the SMB is in a much better position to prevent unauthorized access and remedy unexpected incidents. The SMB also has hope for the future, knowing it is better prepared to handle data threats and recover from potential data loss. 

The Value of a Service Provider

If you’re like many SMBs, your focus is almost entirely on your day-to-day operations. That’s frequently an absolute necessity. That’s why it makes sense for you to consider collaborating with a specialized service provider with expertise in data backup, cybersecurity, and data resilience. 

Partnering with a service provider that knows best practices and works with best-in-class vendors will complement your internal IT knowledge and ensure a solid and effective data resilience plan. This proactive approach is crucial, as you may only know some regulations you must follow.

Engaging a Service Provider Ensures That You’ll Be Informed and Compliant

Cost and affordability are, of course, among your most significant concerns. While Fortune 1000 organizations may be able to dedicate personnel or entire departments to cybersecurity and data backup roles, that may be out of the question for your company. 

But by working with a service provider, your SMB can cost-effectively access the best practices and expertise you need. And you can focus on your core operations and growth while entrusting resilience and recovery strategies to a knowledgeable professional.

Considering the stakes involved, allocating a budget to data resiliency is crucial, even if it’s a modest amount. That’s precisely what Fortune 1000 companies are doing. Service providers and specialized vendors now offer solutions that let you start small and scale as your business grows. You don’t necessarily need a massive upfront investment. With the right tools and practices, you can establish a solid and updated data resilience plan with a smaller footprint, ensuring you’re well-prepared for potential incidents at a price you can afford.

Arcserve Technology Partners: Expert Service Providers Ready to Help

Arcserve technology partners can remove the burden of ensuring cyber resilience from your internal teams and let you focus on success. You can find an Arcserve partner here. To learn more about Arcserve products, contact us.

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