Estonia has a history of being the target of cyber-warfare. In 2007, a denial of service attacks crippled the country’s online banking system and almost disabled the country’s emergency services.
As current political instability over the world and military actions cross into informational and digital wars, Estonia, a pioneer in the use of strong digital identity for every resident, is working on the country-wide digital continuity plan. Its goal is to provide Estonian government with a disaster recovery plan, an ability to continuously function, providing services to its citizens in case disruption and, more specifically, in cases of online terrorism and sabotage.
As The Economist puts it, “How to back up a country“.
Together with Microsoft, Estonia had the first test of the digital continuity in September 2014, with the goal of maintaining e-government services by using local back-up, and if it was to fail, the abroad-based services would take over. That presented some challenges.
Legal challenges stem from personal data laws being very strict in Europe. Not just back-up services for computers, but users data must be securely protected, and when sent in diplomatic missions abroad internet laws can be unclear.
Technical challenges have several aspects:
- The way the internet deals with addresses—the Domain Name System (DNS)
- For complex services, the software that processes certain data also needs to be exported and backed up.
- Variety of software, its versions, and its freshness presents difficulty in replicating the system in the cloud
- Lack of documentation: rules for classification of data as sensitive, personal, secret or public are not suitable for digital continuity
Estonia, fearing a possible Russian cyber attack is working on organizing and standardizing the data and the networks, and improving the system documentation.
A whole country is taking digital security seriously. If you haven’t yet, you must.
If your business does not have a disaster recovery and business continuity plan, or if you feel what you have now may be inadequate, the time is now to take control. If you are not sure where to start – give us a call.