Tag Archives: IT Professional

Winter 2017: Disaster For Your Data?

26 Oct 16
lverbik
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With winter just around the corner, everyone around you may be getting “all wrapped up” in the upcoming holiday season…

But you’ve got a business to run, customers to keep happy and mission-critical data to keep safe, even if a major blizzard, lightning strike, windstorm or epic flood is taking place right outside your door.

Here are 5 easy steps you can take this holiday season to get your office prepared for this winter’s worst, without seeming like Mr. Grinch.

Be ready for power outages. A power outage can hurt your business in more ways than you think. Besides employee downtime, it takes time to safely get everything back up and running. Then you need to make sure no critical files have been damaged or lost.

Autosave features can help minimize lost files in a sudden power outage. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can give your team anywhere from ten minutes to an hour to back up files and properly shut down equipment. If you need longer power durability during an outage, you might want to look into a backup generator.

Keep lines of communication open. Customer frustration due to production delays and not being able to reach key people at your company can be very costly in terms of both revenues and your company’s reputation. Here are three ways to make sure calls to your office don’t get bobbled when a storm rolls in:
1. Create a new automated greeting to let callers know about changes in hours or closings.
2. Set up an emergency override that automatically reroutes key phone lines to one or more numbers that can be reached during an outage.
3. Make sure you and your staff can access voice mail remotely – from a smartphone, by e-mail as an attached sound file or transcribed message, or as a text notification.

Manage employees working from home. Many of your employees can work from home if need be. But you’ll need to prepare in advance if it’s not the norm at your company. Have your IT specialist check with employees who could work from home during rough weather. They’ll need a virtual private network (VPN) to safely access the company network. Be sure it’s set up well in advance to avoid any glitches when that winter storm hits and you need it most.

Have a disaster recovery plan (DRP) ready to go. Unless you can afford to shut down for days at a time, or even just a few hours, it’s absolutely critical to keep a written DRP on hand. Write out step-by-step details of who does what in every type of winter disruption – from simple power outages to blizzards, flooding or building damage caused by heavy winds or lightning. A downed network can cost your company big-time every minute it’s offline. Make sure your plan includes one or more ways to get it back up and running ASAP. Consider virtualizing key parts or all of your network so your team can access it remotely. Once you’ve written out your plan, keep one copy at your office, one at home and one with your IT specialist.

Get help from a professional you can trust. Trying to recover your data after a sudden or serious outage without professional help is business suicide. One misstep can result in losing critical files forever, or weeks of downtime. Make sure you’re working with a pro who will not only help set up a recovery plan, but has experience in data recovery. The old adage about an ounce of prevention applies doubly when it comes to working with the right people who can help you prepare for – and recover from – whatever winter throws your way.

DON’T OPEN THAT RÉSUMÉ SO FAST: THE LATEST SCARY TREND IN RANSOMWARE

23 Jun 15
lverbik
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YOUR COMPUTER HAS BEEN LOCKED. Now you must pay ransom to an unidentified thief in order to unlock your computer system and gain access to your own data or lose it forever. This might be the worst message to ever have come across your computer screen. If you become its victim, the only way around it is either, 1) pay them, or 2) reformat your computer, and restore data from a backup (if you have it). There’s no easy way out—they lock your drive so you won’t be able to “hack” your way back in, and this is not only local drives, but they can affect mapped drives as well, so if you have a data drive on a company server that everyone uses, that one can be hijacked too.

You’ve just experienced CryptoWall, a new and highly destructive variant of ransomware—a malicious software that infects your computer and holds hostage something of value to you in exchange for money. With CryptoWall, thieves use asymmetric encryption, where the decryption key is different from the encryption key and is not stored next to the encrypted data. This forces victims to pay the thief a ransom for the decryption key to unlock the data. It is so insidious as to encrypt your data with RSA-2048 standard, which makes decryption just about impossible within the given timeframe the infection hobbles you with—usually 48 hours.

And now criminals have refined their malware yet again through the use of exploit kits to spread their poison deeper and wider. This time, with seemingly innocent looking résumés.

How it works:

A hacker sends a zipped file or corrupted word document appearing to be a résumé of a potential hire. When opened, it encrypts the entire contents of the computer and possibly network drives. Information on how to pay a “fee” to decrypt your files is then presented on the screen. After some time, the “fee” may double or you cannot retrieve the files at all. Criminals may demand $500 or more to lift the restrictions on your hostage data.

What can you do to prevent an attack?

  • First, be aware and help spread the word. Our best line of defense against this type of crime is to prevent its occurrence in the first place, and help as many people as possible be aware of the threat and how to avoid it. Share this blog post.
  • Second, train your staff not to open any résumés that come as zipped files—delete the emails immediately. Make sure anyone who hires people knows not to open these emails. Continue to make intelligent decisions about which email attachments you open. If you have an email that you question, contact an IT manager.

Prepare for the worst

  • Always back up your files. There are many excellent and reliable backup services out there. There are similarities and differences so it’s important to find the one that best suits your business’s needs. Compare costs, performance and security levels, among other things, and of course, how they do with disaster recovery. 

What can you do if you become a victim?

  • If you ever think you have clicked on one of these emails, shut down your computer immediately (hold the power button for 6 seconds) or unplug from the network immediately and contact your IT manager.

 

Be informed and share!

The team at Techno Advantage will help you select the right cloud-based or on-premise backup and storage solutions.  Give us a call to discuss which option is right for you. We also offer a backup software option for businesses. Need more help deciding how to protect your business from a malware attack? Contact a Techno Pro today!  And watch this blog for updates on any new malware. We want to keep you informed.