Ransomware Shut Down a Whole North Carolina County

 

According to Gizmodo, and entire county government was slammed by Ransomware.  You can read the article HERE.

If you read the article, you’ll see they refuse to pay the $23,000 in bitcoin being demanded.  They claim to have backups but they say “It will take time, but with patience and hard work, all of our systems will be back up and running as soon as possible.”

In other words, they have backup data files, but clearly don’t have a real Disaster Recovery solution.  If they had EverSafe they would have been back up and running in minutes instead of days or weeks.  They even state “It was going to take almost as long to fix the system after paying the ransom as it does to fix it ourselves,” Diorio said. “And there was no guarantee that paying the criminals was a sure fix.”

This is a sobering reminder that the vast majority of companies do not have backup systems designed to get them back up and running quickly.  Even if your system reliably backs up your data, it’s not a solution for business continuity.  Click the chat bubble below to learn how EverSafe can virtually eliminate the sting of a ransomware attack.

A Cure for RansomWare…Finally

 

No matter how hard you try, someone in your organization will eventually get an email that convinces them to open a file, click on a convincing web page, click a link on a social networking site and infect their PC with RansomWare. The compromised machine will then encrypt user files and demand a ransom for the key to unlock the system. Worse, the threat will often spread across the network and infect other machines and your servers, seriously impacting the business.  In many cases, line of business applications like ERP or CRM will also become encrypted.

Of course, paying the ransom may not solve the problem.  In many cases, the decrypting mechanism provided after payment doesn’t work and it isn’t like the criminals that created this threat have a customer service department to call.

The only sure way to resolve a ransomware attack is to roll back the affected systems to make it as if it never happened. EverSafe, with point in time rollback, is designed to recover from just these scenarios. With the click of a few buttons, it can be as if the ransomware never happened. Say goodbye to ransomware, and hello to simple preventative measures provided by EverSafe.

Even better, EverSafe now monitors all of your backups, typically hourly, and when it detects a RansomWare infection, it notifies both you and us immediately so we can halt operations, stop the infection, and quickly do the restoration.  The longer it takes to find out about an infection, the more work your companies loses in the rollback.

Let EverSafe become the UNDO button for RansomWare.

Disaster Recovery Plans–Common Similarities and Differences

 

There are many common elements between customers’ Disaster Recovery Plans.  Some things are universal such as developing a communication plan that includes phone numbers, physical addresses, cell phones, emails, IM’s, twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.  As many ways as possible to potentially contact key disaster recovery team members as possible as you don’t know what services will be up and running during and after a disaster.

Other things that are common are designating alternative IT resources if the expected internal personnel aren’t available, alternative work locations, key team members that have generators etc.

[Read more…]

Business Grade Backup Solutions

 

Online Business Backup & Cloud Storage

EverSafe’s business backup solutions are designed to allow you to fully protect all of your business data in the cloud with no downtime.

 

With full support for Physical & Virtual Servers, Exchange Server, SQL Server, SharePoint and other ‘in use’ files, you can be sure your entire ecosystem is backed up

Access to your Business Data is crucial

Just like a Fortune 500 company, having uninterrupted access to our applications and business data is crucial.  However, unlike them, you don’t have a huge budget and a large pool of technical folks to manage it all.

 

With EverSafe! Hybrid Cloud Backup for Businesses, you have the same protection as large enterprise grade solutions have but for a fraction of the cost.  We have enterprise features including: complete snapshots as often as every 5 minutes of your entire system, not just documenbts, friendly comprehensive browser based administration for non technical users, free data roundtrips (seeding) for backing up large amounts of data initially,  the ability to backup all in use components such as Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, Sharepoint etc.  All delivered at a price that even small businesses can afford.

 

Our patented ‘screen shot’ technology boots up copies of all your servers daily and emails a screenshot to give you the peace of mind that EverSafe! is ready to take over should you need it at any time.

[Read more…]

Disaster Recovery Emergency Kit

 

Emergency Kit

What would you have in your Disaster Recovery Emergency Kit ? Nobody likes thinking about Disaster Recovery, but as we witness yet again, another major disaster, this time in the Philippines, its really time to plan in advance for this unlikely scenario.  However unlikely, the affects of this can be devastating on a business and cripple it’s daily functions.  Although Sandy was horrible, fortunately few lost their lives, but the amount of business IT downtime was in the billions with many companies going under.

A crash kit is a physical lock box containing key items that  such as critical software keys, encryption keys, contact lists of key employees and all of their various phone numbers, twitter handles, personal email addresses etc.  A copy of your Business Recovery Plan, Server Configuration spreadsheets etc.    This box should be kept well off premise and should be fire & waterproof and a copy of the keys should be kept with more than one critical officer.

A full article on this and other Disaster Recovery Blogs that I think are well thought out are over at:

http://erikkrogstad.com/create-disaster-recovery-crash-kit/

If you read the details, you’ll see that Erik suggests having numerous critical program installation disks, backup media etc.  All of that complexity of recovery from a disaster goes away with EverSafe!  Even with his plan in place, you could be down for days or weeks because you need to purchase and await for new hardware, reinstall operating systems, applications, patches etc, and then restore your data.  With EverSafe!, in a disaster, you simply spin up near instant clones of your servers in the cloud and can continue operating within 30 minutes or so of a disaster taking down your primary data center.

Enhancement to EverSafe!

We don’t stop improving our solution

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Eversafe! continues to be a unique backup and disaster recovery solution (BDR) with features such as unlimited server licenses, instant file recovery,  ability to boot our mount the backup on the BDR and literally run your servers from the appliance, cloud storage in bicoastal data centers, Exchange recovery, support for physical and virtual servers and automated screenshot testing.

These new updates just make EverSafe! and even better product:

New user interface (UI)

[Read more…]

Cloud Storage vs. Cloud Backup vs. Business Continuity

Disaster Recovery Page Question

What’s the Difference between Storage, Backup and true Disaster Recovery Solutions?

The media seems to interchange the term Cloud Storage and Cloud Backup with ease. In reality they are actually quite different solutions for different problems. There is no ‘official’ definition, but I’ll try and pull it together based on the most commonly accepted criteria.

According to Wikipedia:

Cloud Storage:

A model of networked online storage where data is stored in virtualized pools of storage which are generally hosted by third parties. Hosting companies operate large data centers, and people who require their data to be hosted buy or lease storage capacity from them.

Cloud Backup

According to Wikipedia, Cloud Backup is a remote, online, or managed backup service, sometimes marketed as cloud backup, is a service that provides users with a system for the backup, storage, and recovery of computer files. Online backup providers are companies that provide this type of service to end users (or clients). Such backup services are considered a form of cloud computing.

Online backup systems are typically built around a client software program that runs on a schedule, typically once a day, and usually at night while computers aren’t in use. This program typically collects, compresses, encrypts, and transfers the data to the remote backup service provider’s servers or off-site hardware.

Do these sound similar?

They might but there are some common differences:

Cloud Storage

Cloud backup

Pay per action pricing Monthly Fee
Commodity low grade infrastructure Enterprise class infrastructure
No replication of data Replication of Data
Typically not stored locally but spread around Typically stored together, locally
Slow cumbersome restores Fast streamlined restores due to being part of a unified solution
No Compliance regulations Often required to adhere to substantial security requirements and have facilities meet SSAE 16 audit requirements
Simple file upload only Optimized to support business servers such as SQL, Exchange, etc.
Intended to only store files Built to backup, store and restore dynamically changing data

[Read more…]

Why Traditional and Cloud Based backup can let you down

Even if some of your business solutions are ‘cloud based’ such as Salesforce.com or Hubspot, you still likely have other servers in your office(s) that are used for other business critical functions like email, accounting, manufacturing, collaboration, file storage and the like.Because of this, virtually all (sane) businesses have some type of backup solution.  Whether it be tapes, hard drives, or even with a cloud service like Carbonite or Mozy.  However, what many people don’t realize is that backup solutions are designed to allow you to retrieve you data in the event of a data loss, not to actually minimize your down time in anyway.

There are two types of backup models.  Files based, and image based.

  • File based backup solutions are designed to backup your important documents.  Typically files like Microsoft Word or Excel.  If your server were to crash or need replacement, you would have to reinstall the operating systems, all of your application programs and then use your backup solution to restore your files.
  • Image based backup solutions are designed to backup and clone your entire server(s).  It backs up your disks in their entirety such that if your server needed replacement or new hard drives, you can restore them to exactly the way the disk looked when it crashed.  This avoids all the time associated with reinstalling all the applications, operating systems, settings, anti-virus etc.  It can easily save you about a day of time per server in terms of how quickly you’ll be back up and running again in the event of a total drive or server failure

As a business, most ‘consumer grade’ desktop and online backup solutions aren’t adequate.  For example, Carbonite is primarily a file based backup solution which is great if you accidentally overwrite an important powerpoint presentation you are working on.  But if your whole server hard drive crashed, you would multiple problems relative to being able to be up and running again.

Problems with Consumer oriented Cloud Backup solutions

Although typically very inexpensive, typical online backup solutions like Carbonite have the following problems for business applications:

  • They claim ‘unlimited storage’ but usually will only allow you to backup one machine per subscription.  In addition, their fine print in their legal contracts actual state that their term ‘unlimited’ is far from unlimited.  In some cases, capped out at 500 gigs or so.
  • They typically require you to make your initial backups over the internet.  A few will offer a hard drive mailing option for a significant fee.  A typical Small or Mid Size Business (SMB) will have somewhere between 1 and 3 Terabytes (TB) of data to backup.  Marketing data tends to be larger because it often contains high resolution photos, drawings and artwork. It could take 4-8 weeks to back up all your initial data and just as long to retrieve all of your data if needed depending on the speed of your internet connection.
  • Consumer solutions usually can’t safely backup in use files like databases, email servers and the like.  Your CRM solution, or your accounting system files would likely be skipped or unusable if restored from the cloud due to this problem
  • Support is usually via email or chat to foreign help desks with slow response times and mixed quality of technical personnel

Problems with Business oriented Cloud Backup solutions

Business grade backup solutions like VaultLogix or Backblaze for Business typically cost significantly more than consumer solutions and rarely include ‘unlimited’ data capacity.

  • Business solutions usually have more sophisticated software for your servers so they can safely backup your line of business applications like CRM, marketing automation or accounting solutions
  • They typically include some type of ‘round trip’ or ‘seeding drive’ service that allows you to backup your data initially to a supplied hard drive and have it shipped to their data center for uploading.  They offer the same ability to retrieve your data in the event of a crash.  This eliminates the multiple weeks of time waiting for data to upload and download through the internet which could be crippling in the event of an emergency
  • Still, it can take two weeks or longer to order and receive a new server in the event of a situation where the server can’t be fixed (fire, out of warranty etc).  Then a day or longer to restore your applications and data assuming you can get a technician on-site when the server arrives.
  • Statistics show an average SMB (Small and Mid-sized Business) loses $15,000/day of down time.  A two week server outage could cost $150,000 or more (assuming a 5 day work week).  That doesn’t take into account the lost customer goodwill or possible complete customer loss due to a lack of service on your part.

Even if you use traditional backup like tapes or hard disks and reliably rotate them off-site,  you still have this days or weeks of downtime waiting for replacement hardware, technicians, re-installation etc in the event of a serious failure.  If you suffer a relatively minor problem like a virus or bad patch and if you have in house IT folks, it can still take hours to restore and test your backups.
In addition, the vast majority of current backup solutions are typically a ‘daily’ backup so if your server crashed at 4pm, you could easily lose a day’s worth of work once the system is restored from the night before.

Testing

Most traditional backup solutions rely on you or your IT people to regularly test the restoration of your data to ensure everything is working ok.  The vast majority of backup problems are discovered when you try and restore your data.  Just think about what that means… How often are you doing test restorations to a separate server to make sure that in the event it was needed, you can fully restore everything and that it works ok?

Business Continuity Solutions

What is a Business Continuity Solution?

We get that question a lot.  In our realm of solutions, a Business Continuity Solution, or BCS, is something that will help ensure that you don’t have a ‘break’ in the ongoing ability to transact business with your customers, suppliers and employees.  Thus the term ‘Continuity’.

Many things can cause a company to lose the ability to do their day to day business functions, and most usually revolve around IT solutions.  This is because most companies are so heavily dependent on computers for their day to day functioning.  Falling back to ‘paper’ is almost impossible nowadays.

The goal of EverSafe! is to cover as many scenarios as possible that can cause a company to not be able to do business relating to their IT infrastructure.  Some of the many causes include:

  • Human Error (i.e. accidentally deleting critical business data or performing a software function that corrupts business software such as ERP or CRM).  As a provider of ERP solutions, I’ve personally seen clients accidentally merge every customer into one customer ID with no ‘undo’ function.  Not pretty.
  • Hackers
  • Identity theft
  • Virus’s
  • Power Failures
  • Hardware failures such as crashed hard drives, blown motherboards and bad power supplies
  • Random data corruption
  • Human Sabotage (fired employee dialing in and erasing or formatting disk drives)
  • A program update or operating system patch that goes awry causing substantial system damage
  • Local server room physical problems such as: broken sprinkler head, busted water pipe in bathroom above, Air conditioner on roof becoming clogged and leaking from the roof, lightning strike nearby or directly on the building, building fire (usually the sprinklers do more damage than the fire which is often in another part of the building)
  • Regional Disaster such as Hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes etc.
  • Terrorism

There are dozens of various backup solutions on the market that copy your data in case something happens.  However Business Continuity Solutions need to go well beyond just backing up your data.  They need to provide the ability, whether you have a single server failure, or a natural disaster, to ensure your employees and business can continue operating with little or no downtime.

EverSafe! accomplishes this extremely affordably by being able to virtualize your down server in minutes on premise via our on-site appliance and in the cloud if your building were to suffer a site wide disaster.

Watch the demonstration video’s on this page to see how EverSafe! covers you for all these scenarios and others that aren’t listed.

Could you go 12 weeks without computer access?

The U.S. Department of Commerce Did…

 

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) had been without computer access for 81 days after its systems were hacked per The Washington Post.

That’s 220 employees that had no google searches, no email, no electronic or digital contact with the outside world for 81 days!  The source of the hack still remains a mystery.

With salaries and government overhead, the costs to taxpayers is hard to even calculate.  Had they had EverSafe! in place and running, they could have failed over to the EverSafe! appliance from a version before the hack took place and been running in minutes.  

EverSafe! offers near-instant recovery for servers and even PC’s like the one at the EDA.  In addition they would have been protected from things such as:

  • Viruses
  • Failed Software Patches
  • Incomplete system and application updates
  • Hardware Failures
  • Site disasters such as fire, flood, earthquake
    No other solution that costs so little can protect you against all of the above scenarios and do so with no downtime.