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What used to be a simple inconvenience is now a fatal blow to a lot of companies. Data loss has become a critical problem in an age that revolves around information technology. One large data loss could be enough to stop a budding company in its tracks. Luckily, there are ways to reduce the risk of serious data losses. Learn the best practices for data backup and recovery your company needs to be using, including having a written recovery plan, backing up to the cloud, relying on automation, and using the right technologies. Dolce Vita IT Solution offers Sempreon DATTO as a comprehensive data recovery solution perfect for any company.

1.     Have a Recovery Plan

 

Dolce Vita recommends making a written plan to prepare for emergencies. Everyone should know the plan and take ownership of both their day-to-day role and their role in an emergency. Establish different layers of redundancy, as well as what to do when data loss happens. Review the plan regularly to keep it up to date.

 

2.     Vary Storage Methods

 

Using multiple methods of data storage provides flexibility and redundancy. The cloud offers cost-friendly protection free from on-site risks and allows for quick recovery of information. Dolce Vita makes image-based backups, not files/folders only, tests the backups daily to make sure they restore correctly, and provides virtual machines on your network as backups, getting you back online in minutes, not hours.

 

3.     Capitalize on Automation

 

Automation provides constant protection that avoids such circumstances. People forget to back up their data; automated processes remove that from the equation. Manual processes can miss steps, while correctly configured automated backup will complete each step before going on. Sempreon DATTO automates the process for you, giving your administrator real-time oversight on backups both on-site and off.

 

4.     Have the Right Technology

 

Make sure you have the right technology for your company before you need it. Self-Monitoring Analysis Reporting Technology (SMART), for example, monitors storage drives to spot potential failures before they happen. SMART allows IT staff to back up data before the drive dies. 

 

Having a plan helps everyone feel confident regarding the security and integrity of their data. Sempreon DATTO provides the solution your company needs to protect your data, keep you aware of its status, and be ready for whatever happens. Contact Dolce Vita for more information.

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The business impacts of ransomware

Most business users have heard of "malware" - malicious software designed to disrupt a business, cause an alteration of processes, etc.  "Ransomware" is a variant of malware which in accordance with the name, is designed to infect a user's system (and potentially any connected networked systems) with code which either locks out access to the data, or which is capable of encrypting the subject data.  The perpetrator will attempt to blackmail the company into payment of a "ransom" to regain access to the affected data.  Ransomware is more widely known now, both because of the damage done to organizations, but also because these organizations were generally doing a reasonable job of protecting their systems.  Ransomware is truly an attack which relies primarily upon 1) untrained or unwary users and 2) poor information technology defenses

Some useful links are noted below with good synopsis regarding ransomware and methods such as CryptoLocker and CryptoWall:

https://www.trendmicro.com/cloud-content/us/pdfs/security-intelligence/reports/rpt-the-fine-line.pdf?ClickID=cqeppqsleevifazv7nenixaskqszxpkskkz

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA14-295A

https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2015/january/ransomware-on-the-rise/ransomware-on-the-rise

http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/17/technology/hospital-bitcoin-ransom/?iid=EL

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-35773058

It is worth noting that some of the recommended steps to avoid ransomware focus on software and hardware solutions...but in our experience, the most advanced defenses must be used IN CONJUNCTION WITH proper user training, awareness, and discipline.  Some of the most current advice regarding prevention is offered by Trend Micro, CERT, Sophos, and the FBI.  Interestingly, the FBI has counselled victims in the past to pay the ransom...for the most part, these companies were not going to recover their encrypted data any other way.

To prevent ransomware we strongly recommend the following:

  1. Business' must train users about the risks of ransomware, what vectors are used to distribute it, and how to respond
  2. Critical systems must be backed up using image-based backups on an hourly or multi-hourly basis
  3. Windows Updates on servers and workstations must be centrally managed and as up-to-date as possible...weekly reporting should reflect any deficiencies
  4. Businesses should use at least one type of content filtering to filter (and report on) web usage of all types, and be set to block malicious content consistent with best practices
  5. Anti-SPAM should be configured consistent with manufacturers best practices...these change and should be reviewed at least monthly for configuration changes
  6. Antivirus must be up-to-date, cover ALL devices which are capable of accessing server-based data or other shared data of any type, and configured according to the latest best practices
  7. An organization's IT group must have DR design which accounts for the response scenarios involved with ransomware
  8. Be flexible and understand this threat is changing continuously...adjustments to configurations will be required
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Malware can be a problem for any business...causing slow workstations and slow access to data for users. 

Dolce Vita has worked with organizations from small non-profits to mid-sized banks and hospitals to reduce their risk and susceptibility to malware and SPAM.  Through an understanding of key risk factors for a client business DVITS designs and manages the means to reduce these risk factors.

User education is the most effective means to reduce risks...if users gain an appreciation of the costs of malware to the organization, and if they are encouraged to accept some ownership and responsibility this is a key step.  Using a firewall which is capable of real-time website filtering based upon organizational policy is effective as is weekly reporting of all website traffic trends for the organization.

DVITS is a strong proponent of cloud-based anti-SPAM filtering and uses this technology to minimize the processing load on mail servers.  This also reduces risk to the organization by keeping malicious emails from ever reaching the mail server.

As with all security measures the network admin should be able to see a console or receive detailed reports on centralized results of these measure.  Detailed reports allow the admin to take specific actions to eliminate problems before they impact the organization.

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