This article focuses on the specific requirements for "risk management measures in the area of cybersecurity" (Article 21): Paragraph 2 C specifies the concrete requirements for a cross-hazard approach to "business continuity, such as backup management and disaster recovery, and crisis management". In the following, the individual components of this requirement will be analysed in more detail in order to understand what the implications are.

Backup management

Backup management refers to the process of planning, implementing, monitoring and maintaining backups in an information system or IT infrastructure. It involves the development and implementation of policies, procedures and technologies to ensure that data is regularly backed up and can be restored in the event of data loss or corruption.

The tasks of backup management include

  • Planning: establishing backup policies, including the frequency of backups, the selection of data to be backed up and the type of backup media.
  • Implementation: Deploying backup systems and software, configuring backup jobs and setting up backup storage media.
  • Monitoring: Monitoring the backup process to ensure that backups are performed as planned and resolving problems.
  • Maintenance: Updating backup systems and software, testing and validating backups to ensure they can be successfully restored, and adapting the backup strategy as requirements change.

Effective backup management is critical to data security and business continuity as it helps organisations protect against data loss due to factors such as hardware failure, software failure, human error, security breaches or natural disasters.

Recovery after an emergency

Disaster recovery refers to the process of restoring data, systems and infrastructure following an unforeseen event or disaster that affects the normal operation of an organisation. These events can take various forms, such as natural disasters (floods, fires, earthquakes, etc.), human error, cyber-attacks, hardware or software failures, or other unexpected occurrences.

Disaster recovery is an important part of business continuity management (BCM) and disaster recovery planning (DRP). The aim is to resume business operations as quickly as possible and ensure that critical data and systems can be restored to minimise the damage to the organisation.

In the context of backup management, disaster recovery involves accessing the backed up data and restoring systems and applications from the backups. This can mean restoring data from backup servers, cloud storage or other backup solutions to restore normal operations. The efficiency of disaster recovery depends heavily on the quality of backup management and the implementation of disaster recovery plans.

Crisis management

In the context of backup management and disaster recovery, crisis management is an organisation's coordinated approach to managing and recovering from a crisis or emergency that threatens normal operations. Crisis management includes planning, preparation, response and recovery to unexpected events that may jeopardise the continuity of business activities.

In terms of backup management and disaster recovery, crisis management includes

  • Planning: Developing disaster recovery plans that define how to handle different types of crisis situations, including restoring data and systems from backups.
  • Preparation: Provision of resources, training of staff and implementation of technologies to respond effectively in the event of an emergency, including preparation of backup systems and media.
  • Response: Immediate response to an emergency, including activating contingency plans, identifying priorities and taking action to restore data and systems from backups.
  • Recovery: Restoration of normal operations after an emergency, including continued monitoring of recovery processes, assessment of damage and implementation of measures to minimise future risks.

Crisis management is critical to minimising the impact of emergencies and crises and ensuring business continuity. Effective coordination and communication during an emergency is essential to optimise the response to the crisis and make the recovery as smooth as possible.

Implementation of a risk-orientated approach for backup management

Once the importance of the individual components of the specification has been understood, the implementation can be analysed. The first step is to analyse the risks that need to be addressed in the backup management approach:

  1. Insufficient backups: if backups are not performed regularly or not all important data is covered, this can lead to serious problems in the event of data loss.
  2. Faulty backup technologies: Outdated or faulty backup software or hardware can mean that backups cannot be created or restored properly.
  3. Human error: Misconfigurations, accidental deletion of backups or failure to follow backup guidelines can lead to data loss.
  4. Security risks: Inadequately protected backup data can be compromised by cyberattacks, leading to data loss or data breaches.
  5. Hardware or storage failures: Failures of backup storage media such as hard drives or tape drives can cause backups to become corrupted or inaccessible.
  6. Lack of monitoring and testing: If backups are not regularly monitored and tested, there is a risk that problems will not be recognised in time, which will affect the effectiveness of the backup strategy.
  7. Lack of disaster preparedness: If there are no clear disaster recovery plans in place or they are not regularly updated and practised, the response time in the event of an emergency can be extended, leading to longer downtimes.

The approach must therefore take the aforementioned risks into account and minimise them as far as possible. The individual backup management phases will now be used to illustrate risk-minimising measures: Sure, here is the translated table formatted in Markdown:

Phase Risk Risk Minimization Measures
1 - Planning Insufficient backups Definition of a backup policy
2 - Implementation Human errors, security risks Employee training, backup automation, redundant backups, encryption
3 - Monitoring Faulty backup technology, hardware or storage errors, lack of monitoring and testing Active monitoring, defined and automated tests, regular updating of backup technology
4 - Maintenance Lack of emergency preparedness Definition of a disaster recovery plan

Based on the risk minimization measures, a hazard-oriented approach for backup management can be derived. This consists of at least the following parts:

  • Definition of organization-relevant hazards for backup management, including an assessment of the specific hazard potential.
  • Derivation of risk-minimizing measures for the previously defined hazards and planning of their implementation.
  • Development of a backup policy that at least defines the frequency of backups, type of backup, selection of data to be backed up, and type of backup media.
  • Implementation of an automated process for creating backups in line with the developed backup policy.
  • Implementation of common standards and security measures for the automated backup process (e.g., encryption and redundancy of backups).
  • Active monitoring of the created backups (e.g., through suitable tools).
  • Automation of tests for backup integrity and regular updates to the backup technology.
  • Definition of a disaster recovery plan.

Info: For the third phase (monitoring) of backup management, we have developed backmon, which takes over the active monitoring of backups and their integrity monitoring. backmon is our open source solution and is available free of charge via GitHub. We strongly recommend the use of a tool for this phase in order to reduce manual effort as much as possible and avoid human error.