Can You Afford a Data Loss?

According to the technology industry research firm Gartner Group, ninety percent of companies that experience data loss go out of business within two years. Countless studies indicate the longer the downtime, the greater the risk. More and more businesses are turning to Cloud Backup and collation to ensure their critical data is protected. But how long will it take to restore that data when a disaster strikes? Here are some points to consider to minimize the risk of downtime. Identify Critical Data If you are an online business or rely on retail systems to keep your registers ringing, you could easily calculate the hourly loss due to system downtime. Similarly, manufacturers, distributors, healthcare organizations, and financial services firms all rely on mission-critical systems to keep employees productive and customers happy. How long could your business survive without email? More than likely, not very long. While more difficult to quantify, communications and collaborations are mainstays to employee productivity and interactivity. In addition to direct financial impact, consider the public relations consequence related to data loss. Other files and productivity applications are also important to ongoing operations. However, there is a cost to rapid recovery. Understanding the tradeoffs between costs and how much time it takes to recover will help you balance the risks with the financial constraints. Bullet Proof Your Network Your network is a critical component for data backup and recovery. Some systems may have a backup window of several hours. A high-performance network can reduce the time it takes for backup and recovery. What’s more, an optimized network has less chance of downtime and connection loss. A flaky...

What is Distributed Denial of Service, and What Does it Mean to You?

We all know, not being able to get on the WiFi is annoying. But worse still, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can impact  your business and even interfere with vital infrastructure such as electrical grids. According to Forbes’s Michael Krancer, an attack in 2015 knocked 80,000 electrical customers offline for three hours. Other recent attacks put several eCommerce and Internet Server Providers out for hours. In a world where people are always connected to computers, such an attack is becoming all the more common. What is Distributed Denial of Service? A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack occurs when devices connected to the Internet are used to flood a business’s server with data, and make it unavailable to customers (and potential customers). Unlike a simple Denial of Service, a Distributed Denial of Service is an attack on a large, perhaps global, scale. Botnets, networks of devices controlled remotely, are used by malware authors to send huge amounts of junk data to servers. Devices can include cameras, smartphones, or PCs—any device connected to the Internet. Internet of Things (IoT) and other IT trends will fuel the expansion of connected devices. The effect is to exhaust server resources with fake or incomplete information requests, and render the business’s website unavailable to legitimate customers. Attacks can happen on the bandwidth or application layer, or from sheer volume. What Does a Distributed Denial of Service Mean to You and Your Business? First, it means loss of legitimate traffic. Your customers can’t access your website, and of course can’t buy products and services from you, costing your company revenue. According to a report...

What is Ransomware and How to Protect Against It

Ransomware is a type of malware designed to block access to your computer until a sum of money is paid. Ransomware issues have impacted many individuals with home computers; however, it is only a matter of time before this malicious software attacks business. Starting with Cryptolocker in 2013, Ransomware exploits have become increasing sophisticated and have cost individual companies thousands of dollars in ransom. Here are some tips to take to help your business avoid being held captive by Ransomware. Backup to the Cloud to Recover from a Ransomware Attack. An inadequate backup strategy without real-time backups or offsite backup could hamper your ability to recover from a Ransomware attack. Being able to recover data from your Cloud Backup could get your systems up and running in a hurry, avoiding the need to pay ransom. Keep Your IT Assets Up to Date and in Compliance If your systems get behind in operating system and applications patches and updates, you may create a security hole that can be compromised by Ransomware. Many managed security and managed service offerings include proactive management and delivery of these important updates so your network will not be held hostage by ransomware. Training Your Employees to Detect and Report Ransomware Your employees are your front line of defense when it comes to your systems security. Make sure your employees know how to identify a phishing email and understand the risks of opening documents and attachments (including unfamiliar file extensions or .exe file formats) from unauthorized sources. Ensure your employees understand what Ransomware is and how it can impact your company’s productivity and drain financial resources....

Proactive Networking Monitoring: What & Why

Your business relies more and more on healthy network infrastructure. Migration to Cloud, Compliance and IT Security all fuel the case to proactively monitor your network health. By proactively scanning your network, you can identify bottlenecks and other irregularities that could impact your network performance and network security. Identifying network compromise in advance will save your business time and money in the long run. Here are some considerations of what to proactively monitor on your network and why: Monitor Your Network Performance Network performance monitoring may identify a number of issues impacting your employee productivity. In some cases it may be a hardware failure (network switch or router) that is causing intermittent outage. Data-intensive applications (e.g. remote backup, call center or VoIP) may need optimization to improve overall network performance. Regular proactive network monitoring will identify these issues that can easily be remediated to avoid any unnecessary downtime, loss of employee productivity, or other failures such as dropped calls and failed backups. Monitor Your Network Access A periodic scan of devices attached to your network will identify any unauthorized access to your network. You may identify devices including desktop, laptop and mobile access from terminated employees, unauthorized access on your wireless network, and other potential compromises to your network. A regular scan of your network helps you stay in compliance and avoid any security compromise. Monitor Your Network Utilization By monitoring your network utilization, you may identify usage patterns impacting your overall network performance. Social media and streaming technologies can chew up your company bandwidth. By monitoring your utilization you may need to implement internal policies on use of...

Business Continuity Essentials

Business owners know there are a number of threats to business continuity. Next to employees, your IT systems and their data may be your most valuable assets. Your business may fall prey to Cyber attack or Data breach. Other factors, including adverse weather, fire, or interruption to utility supply, may also cause business disruption. Can your company recover from a catastrophic data loss? Use this Business Continuity Essentials guide to reduce the risk of downtime: Business Continuity: Understanding Cost of Downtime How much data do you need to recover to bring your business back from a disaster? Not all data may be essential immediately. However, some systems–including email–support other mission-critical systems and processes within your company. It is also important to know how long it will take to recover your data. Factor in your employees’ wages, plus overhead and potential loss of revenue, to get a sense of the overall risk of not having a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan. Having a Business Continuity Plan May Avoid Violation of Industry Regulations Depending on your industry, backup and disaster recovery might be the law. Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) makes business continuity and disaster recovery an imperative. Failure to comply could mean fines and even jail time. Other industries, including health services, must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires backing up data and making sure it is consistently available, even in a disaster. Understand regulatory requirements placed on your business, to avoid unnecessary consequences of a business interruption and data loss. Data Protection with Belts and Suspenders Relying on a local backup is not enough. The...
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