Ransomware:  Your Only Proven Defense is a Good BDR Plan

You may be wondering what the heck "ransomware" is and why it should concern you.  Most folks using the internet these days are familiar with the term but may not realize how it can affect them personally or take their business network down.  The only thing worse than a ransomware attack are the criminals that perpetrate these acts and hold your data hostage for their personal gain.

Since 2012 there has been a significant rise in the number of ransomware attacks resulting in billions of dollars in damages and lost revenue.  Predictions show that ransomware related attacks will top $11.5 billion by 2019.  While the financial impact alone is staggering, what is even more alarming is the utter lack of regard for the consequences of these criminal acts against personal or even life threatening events.  News reports over the past few years about hospitals and police departments being hit with ransomware infections and their ability to not provide their services could have resulted in loss of life.

Ransomware is not just a simple, one type infection.  It is a consortium of viruses with the purpose of encrypting data on a computer and then the attempt to extort money by the deplorable theif from the victim to "purchase" the decryption key.  As antivirus/anti-malware makers like Webroot, Symantec and others attempt to combat ransomware from taking over a computer and preventing the infection from encrypting files, criminals are evermore at work on variants of their infections to circumvent antivirus/anti-malware programs.

Recent studies have shown that an estimated 29,000 new ransomware variants are released each month.  The sheer numbers alone make it hard for any antivirus/anti-malware maker to keep us with these ever changing threats.  The deployment of these variants can come in the form of email from a trusted source, infected USB thumb drive, an infected website - even employee's searching the internet for legitimate information and being redirected to an infected website, social media sites, etc.  The list of entry points for the infection is endless.

So how do you protect your personal or business data from these type infections?  The simple but crucial answer is through a good backup, disaster and recovery (BDR) plan.  The only definitive way to ensure you can recover your data after an attack is to restore from a backup.  Yes, this requires careful planning, a proper backup solution, test restores, etc.  Relying on a criminal to provide the decryption keys even if you pay the ransom is not a strategic recovery plan.  After all, these are crooks with no morals or ethics so relying on them to "do the right thing" after paying the ransom is haphazard at best.

Want to ensure you are protected with a good BDR and business continuity plan? No problem!  Logical can assist with implementing a proper solution that protects your data, ensures you can recover quickly from an attack if it becomes necessary and prevent you from becoming a victim of data and revenue loss.  Give us a call today at 615-446-9140 and ask how we can help protect you.  You can also send us request from our Contact page.

What's All This "Cloud" Stuff About?

So you are asking yourself what all this cloud mumbo-jumbo is that you've been hearing about lately.  To be honest the concept is not a new one.  All of us have been working in the cloud in one way or another for many years now. 

The term "cloud" is just a fancy way of saying "internet".  Anyone that has used Hotmail, Gmail, etc. has already been using cloud computing.  Even Facebook is considered a cloud based application.  Although cloud computing is an emerging field of computer science, the idea has been around for a while now. It's called cloud computing because the data and applications exist on a "cloud" of internet based servers.

 Of course, cloud computing has become much more than just email or social networking.  Entire companies are moving their once locally hosted servers to cloud based servers.  The reasons for moving one's data and sharing infrastructure to the cloud include:

  • Instant availability: Information can be accessed from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
  • Reduced cost of ownership: Instead of owning the server equipment you instead lease a portion of a server to host your data.
  • Flexibility: Easy add additional storage and features whenever necessary.
  • Data redundancy: Your data is stored across multiple servers to ensure maximum uptime.

While cloud computing has gained a lot of momentum over the past few years it is important to remember that the cloud isn't a one size fits all solution.  There are some draw backs to letting your data live in the cloud to include: 

  • High speed internet availability: You must have a reasonably fast and reliable internet connection.  This is not always a possibility in rural areas where T1 lines or extremely expensive fiber line are your only options.
  • Internet connection redundancy: Since all of your data will be stored in the cloud a redundant internet connection from a separate provider will be required to ensure your data is always available.
  • Loss of control: Hosting your data on cloud based servers means that you are relinquishing direct control of your data and servers.
  • Hidden cost of cloud computing: While cloud pricing models appear simple on the front end there are many considerations to take into account including how much storage you will need, how you are billed for accessing your stored information, active directory security needs, etc.

Living in the cloud, like any technology solution, has it pros and cons.  Careful planning and consideration must be given when contemplating a move to the cloud.  In many instances an on-premise/cloud hybrid solution makes the most sense for both local network security and offsite accessibility and redundancy.

If you're considering a move to the cloud then you need to give us a call.  We can help formulate the best success strategy for living in the cloud and assist with putting a solution into place that makes the most logical, economical and functional sense for your business.

Give us a call today at 615-446-9140 for a free, no obligation cloud consultation.