Tag Archives: recovery

Your #1 MUST-DO Resolution For 2017

28 Dec 16
lverbik
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With every New Year comes the chance to reset priorities. Unfortunately, when the topic of implementing a data recovery plan comes up, the comment we most often hear is “I know I should, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet…”

So…what if the pilot on the next flight you’re on announces right after takeoff, “I know we should have run through our preflight checklist, but we haven’t gotten around to it yet…???”

Without a solid backup and recovery plan in place, just one mission-critical file that gets lost or stolen could put your company in a world of serious hurt. When you compare the high cost of replacement, repair and recovery to the relatively trivial price of keeping good backups, the choice is an absolute no-brainer.

Why disaster recovery planning matters more than you think

Let’s face it, data is the nucleus of your business. That means that a single ransomware attack could wipe you out in a matter of minutes. Today’s cybercriminals are raking in literally billions of dollars (yes, billions) preying on the unwary, the poorly protected and those who “haven’t gotten around to it yet.” Let’s consider the facts…

Ninety-seven percent of IT services providers surveyed by Datto, a data protection company, report that ransomware attacks on small businesses are becoming more frequent, and they expect that trend to continue. These attacks are taking place despite anti-virus and anti-malware measures in effect at the time of the attack.

Windows operating systems are most often infected, followed by OS X. Cloud-based applications, particularly Dropbox, Office 365 and Google Apps, are also being targeted.

Ransom demands typically run between $500 and $2,000. About 10%, however, exceed $5,000. And even at that, paying a ransom demand is no guarantee that encrypted files will be released.

For a typical SMB, downtime from ransomware can cost around $8,500 per hour, and will take an average of 18.5 hours of the company’s time. That’s a hit to your bottom line somewhere in the neighborhood of $157,250. Yet in many cases the ultimate cost has reached into multiple hundreds of thousands.

In a recent survey of 6,000 IT professionals by the Ponemon Institute, 86% of companies had one or more incidents causing downtime in the past 12 months. Typical downtime was 2.2 days, with an average cost of $366,363. And that’s just the average. Could your company survive that kind of hit? It’s no wonder that 81% of smaller businesses suffering such an attack close their doors within three years.

It’s tragic. And yet the solution is so simple…

The #1 antidote for a data disaster

What’s behind these costly incidents? Here’s the breakdown of contributing factors:

  • Human error: 60%
  • Unexpected updates and patches: 56%
  • Server room environment issues: 44%
  • Power outages: 29%
  • Fire or explosion: 26%
  • Natural disasters: 10%

Note that human error accounts for 60% of the breaches. It’s no wonder then that ransomware attacks are on the rise, since they can be triggered by just one employee inadvertently clicking a bad link in an e-mail or social media site. Human behavior is hard to control. However, the #1 antidote for a ransomware attack is having a secure backup ready and waiting to replace encrypted files.

And when you scan through the rest of the list above, it becomes clear that, while you need to implement a comprehensive set of data security measures, having a solid and reliable data recovery plan in place and ready to go the moment disaster strikes is still your best defense.

 

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 Let a Power Outage Take You Out

15 Feb 16
lverbik
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Dealing with a natural (or unnatural) disaster can have devastating effects on your work and business. There’s one you can prepare for that will give you peace of mind in one major area and that is a power outage. Power outages can be caused by a number of sources, including traffic accidents knocking down utility poles in your area to major storms causing an outage in an entire region.

While this may not seem like a huge threat to your business, know that over the past 15 years, the number of power outages has increased steadily from year to year, now occurring at a rate of six times higher than what they were in 2000—with no sign of decreasing.

The reasons for this are a combination of an aging infrastructure and the sheer growth of our country’s technology and the demands it places on our power grids.

But what to do when the power goes out?

The time to think about that is not then but now. Preparing your business for a power outage is not an area to be overlooked. Not to be a downer, but like death and paying taxes, it’s not a matter of if, but when. Here’s how you can prepare now:

Step 1. Identify critical areas of your business that would be affected, including:

  • Utilities such as gas, water, electric, sewer
  • Heating and ventilations systems
  • Security, alarm systems
  • Elevators
  • Voice and data communications systems
  • Servers and associated cooling systems
  • Computer networks

Step 2: Prepare backup plan:

  • Have an alternate communication plan in place in the event of a power down so that you can contact key personnel.
  • Identify key players in your organization who will be your team on standby should an outage occur—and make sure they know their roles in an emergency.
  • Prearrange a plan with backup vendors if and when primary suppliers are unable to meet your needs.
  • Ensure onsite backup power source is ready and in working order, checking its status regularly.
  • As part of your data recovery, move IT infrastructure to the cloud for accessibility.

There’s power in being prepared for what seems to be the inevitable power outage. The cost of not being prepared could mean the difference between staying functional and being completely cut off—because it only takes one big loss to have a devastating impact on your business. So get your people and plan in place, both inside and outside with key suppliers and offsite data hosting. Then when the lights go out, you’ll be in business. Contact us today for more power IT solutions.

Why and How to Get Password-Smart NOW!

18 Aug 15
lverbik
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It seems the more we advance technologically and the more we rely on the security of our online accounts, the harder it gets to keep them secure. As fast as new protection is created, hackers find ways to crack the code. How to keep your passwords secure as your front line of defense? We need to be smart about it. Here are some ways:

  1. Change your flippin’ passwords! An online survey reported in a Dell Power More article found half of all passwords were more than 5 years old! A whopping 77% had not changed their password in at least one year. And even scarier, 21% use passwords they created more than 10 years ago! Come on, people.
  2. Don’t use duplicate passwords on multiple accounts. The same article states that 73% of you are doing this. You must realize that when a hacker cracks your password code, they then have access to ALL of the accounts you are “protecting” with that password.
  3. Use password management tools, like Last Pass, or those built into browsers like Chrome. Though this is not 100% safe from a hack attack (as we experienced a couple of months ago), it is still one of the best ways to add a strong layer of protection to your accounts and allow you to need only remember one master password.
  4. Be random. The more random the password, the more secure. People often create easy to use and remember passwords like Il0vemyd0g! but thieves know these patterns and can quickly generate these passwords to gain entry to your accounts. Using nonsensical passwords is a strong protection. Some password management tools like last pass will even generate them for you.
  5. Use two-step verification (aka two-factor authentication). They may be able to get past a password, but if you have two-step verification required, this means you must also provide a second bit of personal data to access your account. It might be an email or text sent to you with a code. This type of tool is good especially for sensitive accounts like banking and credit cards.
  6. Use password recovery. You’re going to need a lot of passwords if you’re the average user with 24 online accounts. And many companies will make you change your password frequently. You’re going to forget–let’s just agree to that. So use password recovery options to retrieve them. Some let you validate an account through a code sent to you via text message or a phone number you call to give personal information only you would know. Always think in terms of backup when it comes to securing your accounts.

We’ve got to be smart to outsmart our foes. It takes a little extra effort, but well worth the peace of mind knowing your precious personal data is safe. We hope these tips will give you new ways to combat the enemy.

What other tools or ideas do you have to protect your online accounts? We’d like to share those here. If you need help setting up a secure online defense, talk to us at TechnoAdvantage. We’re in the business of helping you do business smarter.