Staying Resilient Over the Holidays

black_friday_blogsizedDid you ever wonder why it’s called “Black Friday”? The official answer is that it’s the day when many retailers traditionally go “into the black” in financial terms, but the day’s name has an unmistakably sinister connotation. It conjures up images of dark clouds gathering, doors slamming shut and people wearing grim expressions. Yes, Black Friday can be a tense experience for both shoppers and retailers despite the happy activity of shopping for holiday gifts.

How can you keep your company out of the headlines this holiday season? A security incident is always a problem, but having one disrupt your business or damage your brand during the holiday season can be especially painful. It’s one thing to get hacked. It’s another when your hack becomes known as The [Insert your business name here] Great Christmas Hacking Catastrophe of 2015.

There are plenty of security risks that drop by for the holidays like oddball relatives you force you to re-enact AM talk radio political conversations over the turkey and cranberry sauce. For example, phony charity phishing scams escalate during the season, exposing your employees’ devices to malware that can lead to data breaches. All of your systems are also under stress during this time, from point of sale to logistics and e-commerce. Load is unpredictable, particularly as consumers move to newer technologies, such as mobile apps, for browsing the merchandise and shopping. Even a minor outage, such as a failed application programming interface (API) that connects a mobile app to your backend systems, can ruin holiday shopping for huge groups of customers.

What can you do to reduce holiday-related security risks? A great place to start is with the financial essence of the day itself: Black Friday.  The day is about making money even though you’re selling products at reduced prices.  How can you profitably secure your most important IT assets against holiday mayhem? Think about how you can make your business resilient to security issues at the right price. You want a business resiliency strategy, backed by resiliency services, which help you mitigate security risks while keeping total cost of ownership (TCO) low enough to ensure that Black Friday stays in the black.

The current environment poses a higher probability of having a security incident than ever before. You can’t assume you’ll avoid any sort of security episode.  However, a resilient company can bounce back from an incident, even a bad one. For instance, if your e-commerce engine is taken down by a denial of service (DoS) attack, how long do you want it to be out? Ten seconds? Ten minutes? Two hours?

Without putting yourself in the red on Black Friday, can you afford to establish a recovery time objective (RTO) for that system that will keep customers engaged and not drive them to competitors? Effective business resiliency services will give you an RTO that keeps your business in the black.

CenturyLink offers an approach to keeping businesses resilient in the face of security threats that can take critical systems offline on the busiest day of the year. Our business resiliency services combine disaster recovery, managed security services, data replication and professional services that help you develop and then implement an optimal resiliency plan. We work with you to identify points of vulnerability and protect them in ways that align with events that can potentially affect your business. The IT assets that expose the most severe impact on your business are where we focus our efforts. Our goals are always the same: Mitigate your risks; Ensure resiliency; Keep the TCO manageable.

Let’s keep Black Friday in the black. Give yourself the gift of resiliency and keep your business out of the headlines – Contact CenturyLink.

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