Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

4/16/2013
09:59 AM
50%
50%

Your Data Is Gone, Have A Nice Day

Complete data loss and theft remain all too common

A client called our office the other day, needing help with an emergency data restoration from the backup system it manages in-house. The main server had crashed and was unrecoverable. It happens.

The client's IT manager, who I'll call "Bob" for the sake of confidentiality, had used a reputable, commercial-grade off-site backup service. Bob told us the backup service had a courier deliver a hard drive containing the server's backup.

Problem 1: After reloading the operating system and server-based applications, the applications were unable to recognize their backup data for reload.

Problem 2: There were no local data backups. The off-site backup -- the unrecognizable one -- was also the only backup.

Problem 3: Despite strong advice to do so, the in-house IT staff had never performed a full-scale test of the backup-and-recovery system. There was no benchmark to suggest a recovery had ever even been possible.

Problem 4: By the time we were called, companywide email had been offline for five days. Employees were resorting to their personal email systems for business correspondence, creating a compliance, security, and reputation nightmare.

Problem 5: As time passed, the client grew understandably concerned about the time and money being spent attempting a data recovery that might not be possible. At what point do you accept the loss and start over your systems without restored data, even though the cost of doing so is also unknowable?

By now the company was facing an operational meltdown. Restoring the company's email became top priority, as in, "Just get it running, and we'll clean up later." With no documented, tested process for rebuilding the server, the approach could have best been described as "flying by the seat of the pants on fire," loading the applications first to restore the data, and worrying about updates and patches later. The data remained unrecovered.

Fortunately, we were able to diagnose the problem and help this story end on a happier note. The unpatched applications did not recognize backup data created by up-to-date, fully patched systems. The well-intentioned bypass of running updates before data restoration created a false, and actually very dangerous, belief that the data backups were corrupted. Once we updated the server applications, the backup data promptly and correctly loaded without any data loss.

Documented, tested methodology is essential for proper compliance and security. It's also the difference in a problem that can be solved in five hours and one that lasts for five anxiety-filled days. They are too often ignored, but effective compliance and security efforts are usually far less expensive than the disasters they can help prevent.

Glenn S. Phillips wants you to protect your data. He is the president of Forte' Incorporated where he works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand the often hidden risks awaiting them. Glenn is the author of the book Nerd-to-English and you can find him on twitter at @NerdToEnglish. Glenn works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand the often hidden risks awaiting them. The Founder and Sr. Consultant of Forte' Incorporated, Glenn and his team work with business leaders to support growth, increase profits, and address ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Lessons from the NSA: Know Your Assets
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  12/12/2019
4 Tips to Run Fast in the Face of Digital Transformation
Shane Buckley, President & Chief Operating Officer, Gigamon,  12/9/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19807
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
In the Linux kernel before 5.3.11, sound/core/timer.c has a use-after-free caused by erroneous code refactoring, aka CID-e7af6307a8a5. This is related to snd_timer_open and snd_timer_close_locked. The timeri variable was originally intended to be for a newly created timer instance, but was used for ...
CVE-2014-8650
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
python-requests-Kerberos through 0.5 does not handle mutual authentication
CVE-2014-3536
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
CFME (CloudForms Management Engine) 5: RHN account information is logged to top_output.log during registration
CVE-2014-3643
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
jersey: XXE via parameter entities not disabled by the jersey SAX parser
CVE-2014-3652
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
JBoss KeyCloak: Open redirect vulnerability via failure to validate the redirect URL.