The phrase “disaster preparedness” typically conjures up the image of escape plans, first aid kits, bug-out bags, and hoarding bathroom supplies. There is even an entire subculture and industry built around preparing to survive all manner of cataclysms, from natural disasters to fantastical doomsday scenarios.  But in the digital era, disasters don’t just come in the form of physical carnage. In fact, a disaster does not need to involve any real-world destruction. Unfortunately, with so much medical and commercial data stored digitally, digital disasters can be absolutely devastating. Thankfully, choosing the right computer can help you protect your data from a worst-case scenario.

How Digital Disaster Can Strike

When it comes to digital disaster preparedness, much of the focus is devoted to manmade disasters in the form of malware and cyberattacks. And certainly, such breaches deserve attention. After all, ransomware attacks alone cost US businesses $590,000,000 in 2021. The threat is even more acute when people’s sensitive Personal Healthcare Information, or PHI, is at stake.

However, it is essential not to lose sight of the fact that many digital disasters are not caused by bad actors. Everything from power outages, to hardware failure, to human error, and even natural disasters can result in catastrophic data loss. And because so much attention is focused on the numerous software and cloud-based services available to help mitigate such losses, it is easy to overlook the difference hardware can make in the face of disaster.

With strategic planning and by fostering a culture of preparedness, you can keep your data safe in the face of whatever fate throws at it.

Securing Data from Bad Actors

Traditional notions of cybersecurity are all about protecting your data from bad actors.  Unfortunately, people are all too often unaware of the sheer number of ways people with malicious intent can gain access to valuable digital information.  While the software and cloud backups can protect you from viruses and ransomware attacks, they can’t protect you if one of your employees falls for a phishing attack. Or worse, when someone inside your operation is themselves the bad actor. 

And it’s not just big, deep-pocketed companies who are at risk.  Small businesses, local and state governments, hospitals, and even mobile clinics are in danger of cyber attacks. So what are institutions to do to protect themselves?

TPM, or Trusted Platform Module, should be the first line of defense against bad actors. A computer with a TPM has an encrypted boot drive that will not boot without the cryptographic key present on the TPM, which hackers cannot access.  If a hacker tries to clone the disk image from a Medical PC or Industrial Panel PC with a TPM, they would be unable to access any of the data on it. Combined with RFID and facial recognition, you can make sure that only authorized personnel access your sensitive data.

Of course, as long as your data is online, it is vulnerable to threats, as no security system is 100% perfect. Thankfully, hackers cannot access that which is not connected to anything. Rugged Industrial PCs with locking removable drive bays allow you to physically remove the entire data drive from the computer itself and store it in a safe location, completely disconnected from any network.

Natural Disasters, Accidents, and Rugged Design

Not all data disasters are the result of people’s deliberate malicious actions. Although digital data is electronic, computers and data drives are physical machines that can break, melt, get waterlogged, etc. And while an earthquake, a fire, or a hurricane could certainly get the job done, it doesn’t have to take a dramatic act of nature to destroy a computer and all the data on it. All it takes is someone dropping a tablet or tripping on a power chord and knocking a computer off a desk. 

That’s why it’s important to have hardware that can withstand physical abuse. For example, Rugged Industrial Tablets are designed to handle drops from up to four feet without breaking.  They are designed with a built-in ergonomic handle so they’re easier to carry than their non-rugged counterparts.  Of course, tablets aren’t the only digital devices that can break on physical impact. That’s why Medical Cart Computers and Industrial Panel PCs are VESA mountable.  It allows them to be securely mounted to a cart or workstation, reducing the chance they will fall and break during an earthquake or accident. 

With the advent of solid-state drives, which, unlike hard disk drives, contain no moving parts, your data has never been safer in the face of physical impacts. With hard disk drives, a physical impact or fall could break the actuator arm, and scratch or shatter the magnetic disk, completely destroying the data on the drive. Not so with solid-state drives.

Of course, physical impacts aren’t the only thing that can destroy a computer and cause you to lose the data contained within. Extremes of temperature, like those caused by fires or winter storms, can do severe damage to a computer’s internal components. Mini Rugged PCs are designed to withstand a wide range of temperatures, meaning they are more likely to survive should the worst happen. 

On the medical side, Medical Panel PCs that are IP-65 certified are designed to protect their internal components from outside elements like water and dust.  Let’s say there’s a small electrical fire in part of a medical facility that is quickly put out by the building’s sprinkler system.  In normal circumstances, the water from the sprinklers poses more of a threat to your computers than the fire would. However, with a water-resistant IP-65 certified Medical Computer, there is nothing to worry about.

Final Thought

With the myriad of man-made and natural threats to digital data out there, it is important to have hardware that is up to the task. If you’re interested in learning how to keep your data safe and prepare for a digital disaster, contact the experts at Cybernet today.