ransomware

Ransomware: Is your data at risk?

NSA’s service for total data protection solutions for distribution businesses, announced enterprise-class ransomware protection for enterprise and small to mid-sized businesses, is now available. Built into NSA’s suite of services offerings, NSA’s ransomware protection and recovery automatically detects and identifies attacks, notifying administrators to immediately rollback to healthy data. The solution shortens downtime, saves money and reduces the impact to businesses, giving companies an effective and reliable alternative to paying hackers’ ransoms.

Recent research revealed that ransomware is fast becoming a ubiquitous security threat, with nearly 40% of all businesses experiencing an attack in the past year.

IT service providers report that 91% of those surveyed have seen clients victimized by ransomware. As malware advances in sophistication, the ability to rapidly identify an attack and quickly recover means a business is back up and running in minutes as opposed to days. NSA leverages our vendors’ expertise in applying its customers’ successes in rolling data back to pre-malware snapshots and developed a new arsenal against malicious encryption, which is now incorporated into NSA’s file Sync & Share offering, as well as ransomware detection within its flagship SIRIS appliances. Product enhancements support the company’s commitment to ensure business data is secure and accessible, no matter where it lives.

Ransomware is a major concern to our distribution customers. While most are deploying robust anti-virus technologies and some are also educating their teams to look out for suspicious emails, the sheer scale and pace of the phenomenon leaves most of our distribution market vulnerable. We have found that the rollback approach is the only way that NSA clients can truly effectively recover data and restore to pre-ransomware status.

With NSA’s new ransomware technology, we now offer peace of mind through a service where we can accurately detect an attack before the hackers demand any money.

With NSA’s new ransomware detection feature, available on our SIRIS appliance devices, you can easily identify a ransomware attack and roll systems back to a point in time before the attack hit. Ransomware, like most illicit software, leaves an identifiable footprint as it takes over a server, PC or laptop. NSA’s devices, combined with simultaneous cloud image replication, provides optimal protection. Recovery is then simply a matter of restoring from a previous backup.

A recent survey found that a staggering 35% of businesses encountered ransomware in the cloud, leaving cloudbased file-sync-and-share systems just as vulnerable as local systems. With the automatic ransomware detection and recovery throughout the NSA SIRIS products, we’re giving data control back to customers and empowering them to save the day – the way it should be.

 

Contact NSA today because ensuring your company’s defense against ransomware can’t wait!

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Cloud Storage Trends for 2017

With the new year comes advances and trends in technology. In this day and age, cloud storage is a must for any business to ensure their data is secure and easily accessible. We’ve gathered the three trends on our radar for cloud storage this year:

 

Increased Security

With the need for big business and enterprises to utilize cloud infrastructure, security will remain at the forefront of importance. Expect to see security options take precedence within cloud infrastructure.

 

Ease of Transition

One of the biggest reasons businesses hold back from making the move to cloud infrastructure is fear of difficulty and loss of data. In 2017, business owners can expect migration tools to make the cloud storage transition easy, seamless, and secure.

 

Public Cloud Adoption

As the rate of cloud storage adoption increases, so does the need to utilize the open cloud. Enterprises are finding storage on their private clouds to be limiting and expensive. Expect to see these businesses embrace the open cloud and make extensive use of cloud storage for long-term data retention. It will not only be safe and accessible, but will allow for significant cost savings.

 

Questions about cloud storage? NSA is here to help. Feel free to contact us.

 

 

common disasters

5 Common Disasters You’re Not Even Thinking About

Data loss is nothing new for businesses. From the loss of individual files to small errors at work that result in misplaced or deleted applications and data to large-scale incidents, data loss happens. How a company protects itself from such a loss is what will set it apart from the rest, the ones who never really recover. A business loses more than data when disaster strikes. It loses consumer confidence, revenue, profitable time, employee resources and actual cash. Businesses without data backup and recovery solutions in their business continuity plans rarely recover, and some do not plan for the less obvious disasters. Consider the 5 common disasters you aren’t even thinking about that could happen to your company.

  1. Lost device

We are a mobile culture, and that means employees and essential personnel travel with their offices in their hands. Remote access permits users to work from home, on the train, on the plane, at a lunch meeting, and overseas, but mobility comes with an increased risk for lost, damaged or stolen devices. Not to mention that malicious Wi-Fi- connections that can completely cripple a device. A company that permits remote access must have a plan for security and recovery as well – preferably one that includes a remote wipe option to remove data from a missing mobile device.

2. Ransomware

Ransomware is the act of a criminal hacking your system, holding the data hostage, and demanding a ransom to get the data back. Many times, the ransom is much more than a company can afford to pay, which means the data remains locked up, the criminal sells it to someone else, or the company loses it completely.

ransomware

 

3. Ex-Employee Retaliation

Disgruntled employees can do a number on a company. The threat is that very few people know the ins and outs of a company as well as an employee does, which puts the businesses at an increased risk when an employee leaves angry. Malicious intent caused by an ex-employee is a real threat to companies, and one that many do not consider when creating disaster recovery plans.

4. DDoS Attacks

A DDoS, or Distributed Denial of Service, is a malicious attack that floods the site with traffic, which denies legitimate traffic access to the site. A DDoS employs multiple devices from all over the world to attack the site, which makes deflection and resolution difficult because no single attack point exists. The three types of DDoS attacks include volume-based attacks, protocol attacks, and application layer attacks. A volume-based attack involves UDP flood and ICMP floods to overwhelm the attacked site’s bandwidth. A protocol attack uses SYN floods, “Ping of Death,” and Smurf to infiltrate the servers, firewalls, and load balancers. Application layer attacks zero-in on the vulnerabilities within Apache, OpenBSD, or Windows to crash the server.

5. Terrorism

Yes, terrorism. You may think terrorism attacks hone in on large-scale businesses, million-dollar operations and the government, but SMB operations are targets as well. Nearly 7% of data loss is due to terrorism every year. Terrorism does not have to be an international threat; many hacks come from sovereign citizens and domestic groups.

Prepare and Recover

Talk with NSA Computer Exchange about your data back up and recovery solutions. If you don’t know for sure if you could get your system back up and running within a few minutes of any of the above disasters – you need a better solution. And we have one for you!

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cloud computing private cloud hybrid cloud public cloud

Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud Computing

An increasing number of businesses are moving to cloud services for their company.  With so much talk about the cloud today, the possibilities can be overwhelming and confusing. The three main types of cloud computing consist of: private cloud, public cloud and hybrid cloud. Depending on your business you’ll want to investigate each type of these cloud services to understand which one is the right choice for your company. Below we discuss in more detail the differences between public, private and hybrid cloud computing:

The Public Cloud

The public cloud offers the most in terms of shared resources and efficiency.  The services of the public cloud are provided over the Internet, off-site.  The downside to this service is that they face more security and reliability issues than private clouds. The public cloud works well for companies that are involved in collaboration projects, and for those who are not looking to make a large capital investment.  Instead, you get a predictable and low cost of ownership through your provider, which becomes an operating expenditure instead of a capital expenditure. Your off-site provider handles all of the management for you, so you will not be burdened with that task.  However, you must be able to be OK with giving up that control.

The Private Cloud

Aptly named, the private cloud has its infrastructure and services maintained on a private network. Private clouds offer the highest level of control and security, but there is more cost involved than the public cloud.  The business has to buy and maintain all the infrastructure and software, which increases the required investment. The private cloud is ideal for companies that deal in data and applications or an industry that must follow stringent data privacy and security issues. Your business must also be big enough to be able to handle running a cloud data center on its own in an efficient way.

The Hybrid Cloud

The hybrid cloud is increasing in popularity. It allows access to both private and public cloud services for greater scalability and flexibility, with reduced resource overcapacity.  The hybrid cloud lets you keep each part of your business in the most efficient environment. There is the drawback of having to keep track of several security platforms and be sure that all aspects of your company are able to communicate with one another. The hybrid cloud is perfect for a company that is designed for vertical markets. The public cloud can be used to communicate with clients, while the private cloud can keep their sensitive data secure.

The hybrid cloud is also the way to go when you’re thinking about data backup and business continuity. You want to backup your data both locally and in the cloud, and ensure you have a way to access all of your data and files in the event your computers fail or your office is inaccessible.

If you have any questions about which cloud service is the best choice for your business, contact us today! Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will get to know your business needs so we can develop the ideal solution for your organization.

business continuity plans

4 Ways Business Continuity Plans Improve Profitability

You probably already know a business continuity plan helps you stay in business after data loss or disaster – but did you also know it can improve your profitability?

  1. Lower Your Insurance Premiums

An effective business continuity plan can help to negotiate lower commercial insurance premiums, commensurate with improved risk practices.

  • Include your attorney, accountant, MSP and other professional service providers in the process of developing your business continuity plan
  • Share your business continuity plan with your insurance company. Ask for their input as to how you may improve upon the plan.
  1. Leverage Process Engineering

An effective business continuity plan requires you to do process engineering on your business to better understand how everything works.

  • You must deconstruct your processes, step by step, to understand the underlying risks.
  • This process will inevitably reveal opportunities for cost savings and greater efficiencies!

Having a better understanding of your IT efficiencies means lower labor costs and improved time management. You’ll spend more time with your clients and less time managing IT.

A trusted managed service or data backup and disaster recovery provider like NSA Computer Exchange can help you through the exercise.

  • They know what to look for
  • They understand the risks to your business
  • They can explain the benefits of a complete, seamless BCDR solution like Datto. (NSA Computer Exchange partners with Datto to deliver their best-in-class BCDR solution.)
  1. Systems Enable your Business to Scale and Grow

Even the most skilled pilots need checklists.

Put your business processes on “auto-pilot”: develop systems and processes, “checklists”, for consistent, reproducible results. Systems like these reduce risks for your business and enable business growth.

Automated backups is one of the most important systems your business should put in place. Set it up once and watch it work!

  • Create a backup schedule
  • Verify the backups are working properly
  • Concentrate on growing your business while having confidence your data is protected
  1. Become a More Competitive Supplier

A prepared business is more competitive for winning contract awards and growing revenues. Leverage your business continuity planning to increase your revenue. Enterprises will consider business continuity measures vendors make prior to choosing a vendor. If working with government agencies, they will ask businesses to self-certify that they are prepared for disasters.

By protecting your business with business continuity and data backup planning, you also protect your customers. With NSA Computer Exchange and Datto, you can recover from data loss in a few minutes – that translates to dependability to your customers.

Onsite, or in the cloud, your data and their data is always safe.

Disaster recovery planning is such a critical component of planning for your business. Often times its not something we like to think about and we hope we never have to use it, but for most of us a disaster or some sort of data loss could be lurking just around the corner.

If you want to find out more about NSA Computer Exchange business continuity and data backup options, contact us today.

backup and disaster recovery for business continuity

8 Questions to Ask Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Provider

No one likes to pay for insurance – until you need to file a claim and you realize just how lucky you are to have that insurance in place.  Backup and disaster recovery is a form of insurance for your business that ensures you will be able to recover in the event you lose your critical business data. Data loss is common – and can be caused by simply dropping a laptop, spilling a cup of coffee, or human error. Major natural disasters like storm systems, flooding, or lightening striking your building to cause data loss is far less common, but catastrophic if you are victim to these situations.  Having an effective BDR solution is the key to ensuring your business can continue after data loss. Here are 8 questions to ask your backup and disaster recovery provider to make sure you have the right solution:

 

1.What kind of security do you have in place to protect my data?

When you choose a backup and disaster recovery provider you are trusting them to manage and protect your critical business data. Find out what security measures they’ll take to keep your data safe daily – including firewalls, anti-virus, and response to threats.

 

2. Do you have your own data center?

A cloud provider offering data backup and disaster recovery should take the security of the physical building housing the data center seriously. Does the provider have their own data center or are they renting space in another data center? What security measures are in place if there are hardware or electrical failures? Is the data backed up both locally and in the cloud?

 

3. What percentage of uptime can I expect?

When looking for a new BDR provider, ask what percentage of uptime and downtime their clients are experiencing.

 

4. What is the data transfer rate?

For companies with large amounts of data, you need a provider with faster data transfer rates and the capabilities to handle the data.

 

5. What is included in the price?

Most cloud-based data backup and disaster recovery providers have a subscription pricing model with clients paying a monthly or annual fee for services. Make sure you compare what services are included in the price from one provider to the next to choose the provider offering the most value for the money and providing all of the services your business requires.

 

6. What backup options do you offer?

To ensure business continuity after some sort of disaster – electrical or hardware failures, natural disasters, or flooding for example – you need to make sure your BDR provider has both on-site and cloud-based backup options. If something happens to the data physically stored in the data center, you can access it from the cloud-based storage and operate business-as-usual within moments of data loss.

 

7. How fast can I recover my data?

Not all backup and disaster recovery solutions are created equally – especially when it comes to the speed in which you can access your data back up after data loss. Some providers can get you back up and running within a few hours… some need a few days… and some need weeks. How long can your business generate revenue without access to your data? The speed in which a provider can recover your data matters to your bottom line.

 

8. Do you backup the metadata, not just the files?

Don’t choose a BDR solution that only saves your data, as it will just put it all into an unorganized mess that makes it nearly impossible to find that “one piece of data” you need if you have to retrieve anything from your back up copies. What you want is a solution that also saves the metadata so you can restore data to its original state with minimal headaches. It’s basically like a rewind solution – you can rewind your network and computers right back to the way they were before the data loss event occurred.

 

Don’t wait until you lose data to find out if your backup and disaster recovery solution will work. Cloud-based BDR solutions enhance the ability to recover after data loss, whether it’s caused by a major disaster or a spilled cup of coffee in your keyboard.  Having a comprehensive data backup and disaster recovery solution in place is an insurance policy that ensures your business will still be in business after data loss.

 

NSA provides complete data backup and recovery solutions designed to protect you against data loss. Contact us today to learn more about our BDR solutions.

 

ransomware computer locked up

Why Ransomware is Blowing Your Budget

Ransomware is changing quicker than the authorities can keep up, and if you don’t have a plan of attack, you might be the next victim – if you aren’t already. Ransomware is on the rise, and the costs to combat it continues to squeeze the life out of your company. Ransomware is blowing your company’s budget, and there are reasons why your current IT strategy won’t protect you.

Ransomware in the News

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that does exactly as the name suggests – demand a ransom for access. Many people associate ransomware with their computer systems, but recently, Geek.com reported that criminals are hacking smart TVs and smartphones. Once the thieves are in, they lock up the screen and demand payment for access.

 

Plain and simple – ransomware is extortion. The real question is how much are you willing to pay criminals to access your files? For large businesses, small to medium-sized companies, and distribution warehouses, paying to access the data is critical because it is the lifeblood of the company. According to a CNBC report, ransomware cost users at least $200 million between January and March 2016. The bigger your company is, the bigger the payday for criminals.

What You Need to Know About Ransomware

There are a few things you need to understand about ransomware to protect yourself from the threat. Ransomware first made its disastrous debut in 2013, with the Cryptolocker threat. Cryptolocker was a threat that hid in phishing emails. Once the user clicked a link or opened an attachment, the virus would download onto the computer.

 

Similar threats make their way into personal and business computers that same way – phishing emails. Shady websites are also dangerous culprits, especially if a user tries to download a game, app, or file from the site. It is best to stick to app stores and play stores, to prevent that kind of attack.

 

Now that you see how easy it is for users to invite ransomware attacks in, you need to take steps to combat it. Your company could be one phishy email away from a devastating and expensive data hijacking.

Combating Ransomware

Companies and individual can take steps to resist ransomware, but they cannot combat the threat alone. And what happens if your company does face extortion, what steps should you take? If you don’t have the proper tools and know-how to prevent and address ransomware, you will continue to bleed your company’s IT budget on unnecessary services that are ineffective and ill designed to address ransomware. Not to mention the money you will likely fork over to either gain access to the data, replace the systems, or replace the data.

 

NSA has a thorough plan of attack to monitor for ransomware, to train employees to avoid dangerous security threats, and to protect your company’s data. NSA’s solutions work with your existing IT solution to expand your security, not replace it entirely. NSA specializes in proactive solutions and methodological action to save your company money and time. NSA professionals complete a needs assessment and provide you with budget-friendly solutions that are efficient and compliant to protect your company – contact us today for more information.

data backup and disaster recovery

Benefits of Backup and Disaster Recovery as a Service

Small and medium-sized businesses don’t have the generous budgets and IT blankets that the big corporations enjoy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t experience similar protection and support. Every company needs a backup system and disaster recovery plan, and companies like yours can benefit from affordable, and customizable, cloud-based services. Explore the many benefits of backup and disaster recovery services.

 

It Aligns with Your Budget

Cloud-based backup and disaster recovery services complement your company’s budget. As stated before, even if your company doesn’t have a vast IT budget – it doesn’t need one. Cloud-based services are ideal because your company doesn’t need to pay for pricey infrastructure upgrades, it doesn’t have to hire a salaried support team, and backup and disaster recovery services can be tailored to fit your company’s needs and monetary allowances.

All Data is Encrypted and Stored Off Site

Data backup services are different than storing your company’s valuable and critical data onsite, on disks, and stored in a safe. Not only is going through that process outdated, it is unsecure. When backup services create a functional and comprehensive data backup service for your company, the provider ensures the data is encrypted before it is stored. This prevents unscrupulous thieves from accessing the data.

Industry-Compliant Protection

Speaking of thieves. If your company works with sensitive data that your industry, the government, or other institutions require you to keep safe and protect to prevent identity theft and security intrusions, data backup services provide your company with the necessary protection under the law. With monitored and security services, you don’t have to worry about frequent updates and regulation changes. The backup and disaster recovery service provider does so for you. You do, however, have to find the right company with a record of ironclad security, and experience in your industry.

 

You Control the Backup Schedule

As the business owner, you know what type of data needs to be collected, which meta data can be stored, and what your company absolutely needs to recover in the event of a disaster. You work with your service provider to create restore points, a restoration schedule, and details about the type of data to be restored for future recovery.

 

Completes a Disaster Recovery Plan

Every company needs a disaster recovery plan, regardless of the type of business it does. A disaster recovery plan is a crucial plan that allows your company to continue operations if it experiences a sudden loss or disaster. A disaster can be anything from a power outage to intrusions and hurricanes. If your computers crashed at this moment, how would your company recover, and whom would it call to recover your data so you can keep the doors open?

 

This list is just a taste of the many benefits of data backup and disaster recovery services offered by NSA. We want to be the company you call when your data and productivity are on the line. We work with you and your existing IT systems to create an affordable and thorough backup and disaster recovery plan. Contact us to find out more about the benefits of NSA’s services and expertise.

cloud hosting anxieties

3 Ways to Ease Hosting Anxieties

Modern businesses deal with a medley of issues, concerns, and technologies that businesses just 20 years ago never had to deal with. Whether you are a business owner who has been around for just as long, or you got your start in the digital age, you face many challenges with production, data, communication, modernization, innovation, cloud hosting and so much more. Discover the 3 ways NSA can ease web hosting anxieties for you:

What is Hosting?

NSA partners with a channel-only cloud provider that offers services and supports that empower your business to grow, to increase communication, and to tailor managed hosting solutions for merchants around the world.

Our cloud hosting is different from traditional hosting because it allows multiple machines to act as a single cohesive unit that is hosted on a virtual platform, as opposed to a single physical server. Essentially, site hosting leaves the office and goes online. As you can imagine, the shift excites an onslaught of anxieties.

3 Common Cloud Hosting Anxieties

Can you relate to any one of the top 3 cloud hosting anxieties?

  1. Loss of control

Loss of control is one of the biggest concerns among business owners. So many businesses and decision-makers fear giving up a part of the business that they cannot control and handing it over to someone else. It is a fear that many can understand, and so can NSA.

Cloud hosting solutions are best implemented when you work with a qualified cloud services provider and manager who can determine your business’s needs, explore solutions, support you through implementing the service, and support you long after the cloud solution is in place. NSA partners with a cloud provider that has created a cloud hosting service that allows you – the business owner – to create your own cloud infrastructure, which means you don’t lose control.

  1. Threats from the inside

Threats come from all over the place. Not only do businesses have to worry about threats from within the company, but they have to worry about outside threats, provider insider threats, and even threats from the powers at be. NSA’s cloud hosting minimizes threats more effectively than any other platform.

This cloud hosting service permit business owners and decision makers to control access, limit access, and revoke access altogether. It allows businesses to place important servers on the highly secure cloud, or companies can elect to choose hybrid options that improve connectivity, communication, and security between local servers and our cloud hosting solution. This gives business owners more control and security at all times.

  1. Compromised data security

There are a few issues concerning data that make you hesitant to choose a cloud hosting solution. Business owners such as yourself fear lost or stolen data, off-site data control, and data security. With the troves of data your company acquires comes legal and industry compliance demands as well. It’s understandable why so many companies fear the switch.

NSA offers a solution to ease your data concerns with HIPAA and PCI compliance. Our cloud hosting is better equipped for security threats and data concerns compared to your existing IT setup and security protocols. We’ll work with your company to determine your needs, your disaster recovery plan, your security concerns, and your recovery procedures. Doing so reduces the likelihood of data breaches and loss.

 

Contact NSA for the best solutions for your business’s needs. Cloud hosting is not as scary as you think. Allow the professionals at NSA dispel the common cloud hosting myths you’ve heard and ease your anxieties about cloud hosting. Your business and your profits will be glad you did. Find out more about our cloud hosting services through our Enhanced Customer Support services.

cloud erp

Avoiding 5 Cloud ERP Blunders When Switching

There is no shortage on companies that want to help you switch to a new or upgraded cloud ERP software solution. The internet pulls up thousands of hits, but accompanying the pros is a list of cons. How are you supposed to decipher through the search engine mud and make a switch that is right for your company, not them? You avoid the hassle. Here are 5 ways to avoid cloud ERP blunders when switching.

 

  1. New system crashed business

This is a common fear and complaint among business owners: installing a new system halted production and communication. Your company cannot afford even an hour of downtime. You need to have a clear understanding of where to start, what you need, and just how much time implementation requires. Work with a trusted consultant from NSA to determine how much the new ERP system will cost and how time is required. Once your company knows the costs and man-hours, you can put a plan in place.

 

  1. Self-install leads to downtime disaster

To cut costs and headache, some companies take the bold step to self-install a new ERP system. Without proper knowledge and analysis, you will end up with an ERP disaster on your hands. The headache and costs you hoped to avoid will engulf you and your business later. You can expect the time to install without the support of a professional services provider like NSA to increase two- and three-fold if you decide to endure the project alone. Self-installing a cloud ERP solution leaves your company at-risk for failure, intrusion, and much more.

 

  1. From ignition to failure

Poor planning and support will result in a disappointing launch. Many times, companies go through the processes, they fork over the cash, and when it is time to go live, the ERP system falls on its face or it becomes increasingly difficult to use as time goes on. There are many reasons for this, and if you aren’t working with a qualified managed services provider, all are likely true. The medley of factors that contribute to the failure include the absence of a dedicated cloud ERP project manager, poor or minimal employee training, negligible testing, and the absence of company-specific processes. Your new cloud ERP system must maximize your sales, analyze all aspects of operations, improve purchasing, and allow you to take on new markets. If you don’t know that ahead of time, you are a sitting duck in competitive waters.

 

  1. No support after implementation

Many companies choose the best price over the best support and service, assuming both go hand-in-hand. They can, but a price-driven decision can leave the company stranded when it needs support most – usually after the new cloud ERP system has been installed. They think that saving money on the system is possible by picking up the slack with a few dedicated employees or the IT department. The problem is that support ceases once the ERP system is installed. NSA is your friend to combat this issue. We stick with your company through the process – before, during, and after.

 

  1. You go over budget and under services

Mistakes 1 through 4 are avoidable, and can lead to the last mistake: killing the budget and losing valuable resources and services. As stated before, do your research, vet the providers, know what your company needs, and demand the support your company deserves.

 

Making the decision to install a new cloud ERP system is one of the best decisions your company can make, but it can also be a stressful one. Don’t take on the task alone. Hire professionals with unmatched service and experience in the industry. Contact NSA to learn how your company can avoid cloud ERP blunders. NSA will help you find a cloud ERP solution that is more affordable, easier to implement, and proven to improve communication and success.