Getting Started with Disaster Recovery

Have you ever spilled something on your keyboard or accidentally dropped your laptop? What happened next was probably a cautious attempt to turn it back on, followed by a state of panic that your laptop won’t respond to your repetitive pressing of the on/off button, followed by one last ray of hope when you take it to a nearby computer shop, where they tell you you’ve just fried your components.

Pretty scary, isn’t it? Now take that feeling and multiply it several times to understand a fraction of what happens when an IT system in a company crashes.

Cyber-attacks, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, terrorist attacks, even monkeys (one actually caused a power outage in Kenya last year) and a lot more, are all potential disasters that could hit your business and the reasons why your company needs to have a disaster recovery (DR) plan.

So how big of a problem is this? Well, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, an estimated 25 percent of businesses don’t open again after a major disaster. To protect your business, you need to identify the risks relevant to your organization.

Disaster Recovery in a Nutshell

So what is disaster recovery and why should every organization have a DR plan?

Disaster recovery is a set of tools, procedures and policies that are put in place in the event of a disaster to recover the vital technology infrastructure of the company and allow its continuation. These disasters can either be human-induced, such as terrorist and hacking attacks, or it can be natural, like hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, lighting strikes and so on.

Why is this important?

No business is safe from these or many other disasters. Events such as these can disrupt or even grind day-to- day business operations to a full stop. As a result, the company will be unable to provide services to its clients. Sometimes, this disruption will be short, with little impact, but other times, client and customer important data may be affected. This can cause lost orders, late invoices and loss of productivity.

When this happens, companies will be forced to put extra work hours in an attempt to recover for the lost time, putting more costs on themselves. Eventually, clients may leave, looking for a more secure company to work with (one with a DR plan, preferably).

Even a one-hour downtime can cost the company a lot of money. According to Tech Advisory, a one hour downtime can cost small organizations $8,000, mid-sized $74,000, while large companies lose as much as $700,000.

Isn’t This the Same as Backup?

You might be asking now, isn’t disaster recovery just another term for backup?

In a way it is, but with one fundamental difference. While both backup and disaster recovery involve making copies of your valuable data, the concept of restoring a backup assumes restoring data back to its original location, whereas activating a disaster recovery plan assumes restoring data to an alternative location. As the name implies, in case of a disaster — this can be a major event where you lose your entire IT infrastructure, or a minor event when a server becomes unavailable — a disaster recovery plan will help you to restore data on an alternative device or in a remote location to ensure business continuity.

What Should a Disaster Recovery Plan Look Like?

Every organization that includes IT should have a DR plan in case a disaster happens. This plan includes the necessary steps that need to be undertaken, strategies to follow and how employees should act, among other things.

In short, the most important things to consider when developing a disaster recovery plan are:

1. What potential threats (natural or man-made) is an organization facing and how it can/should react to them.

2. How will these disasters affect the business (business impact analysis, or BIA).

3. How does this affect our clients, customers and users? Who will speak to them on our behalf? How will they be notified?

4. Who do we need to contact during a crisis? Shareholders? Police? Government? Is there a mandatory reporting procedure to follow?

5. Where should the data be recovered? Locally, in the cloud, or both? Is there a backup procedure to accommodate for that?

6. What are the priorities? System and applications should be prioritized. What must be recovered first?

7. What systems need to be updated? A common mistake companies make is not updating their systems following a disaster recovery.

8. Practice. Does the DR plan really work? Is your staff prepared for an emergency?

Need a reliable backup and disaster recovery solution? Take a look at Acronis products available at Lifeboat.

Written by Vladimir Covic (Acronis)
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The Hyperconverged Virtual SAN solution that saves lives

There are few places where fast response time matters more than at an emergency services dispatch facility. Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon (ECSO) is an emergency dispatch facility and Public Safety Answering Point. Its Microsoft SQL Server-based dispatch application was experiencing 200 millisecond latencies at peak times, slowing down vital police and fire responses. Public safety called for a better solution, and ECSO chose DataCore™ Hyperconverged Virtual SAN to get the performance they needed.

Benchmark tests revealed a 20x improvement in latency with DataCore.



“The 200 millisecond latency has gone away now, with DataCore running,” said Corey Nelson, ECSO IT Manager. “In fact, we’re down to under five milliseconds as far as application response times at peak load. Under normal load, the response times are currently under one millisecond.”



Another key concern was availability. Emergency services cannot be down for backups or failover, and DataCore’s high availability architecture fills the bill. Two nodes now synchronize their data in real time, with a third node acting as a disaster recovery site. When a node goes down, the solution fails over to the other site with no human intervention, then fails back when the original node is operational again – all with no interruption of services. This is essential, because as Nelson says, “If our systems fail, it puts not only citizens, but also first responders, at risk.

“This product makes you think differently about storage, and ultimately is the next step in virtualization,” Nelson added. “DataCore Hyperconverged Virtual SAN gives us the flexibility, reliability and performance to keep our systems running non-stop. No other products I looked at were even close to accomplishing this.”

To learn more, ask your Lifeboat representative, or listen to the on-demand webinar where Nelson tells the whole ECSO story on BrightTalk.

The Hyperconverged Virtual SAN solution that saves lives

There are few places where fast response time matters more than at an emergency services dispatch facility. Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon (ECSO) is an emergency dispatch facility and Public Safety Answering Point. Its Microsoft SQL Server-based dispatch application was experiencing 200 millisecond latencies at peak times, slowing down vital police and fire responses. Public safety called for a better solution, and ECSO chose DataCore™ Hyperconverged Virtual SAN to get the performance they needed.

Benchmark tests revealed a 20x improvement in latency with DataCore.

“The 200 millisecond latency has gone away now, with DataCore running,” said Corey Nelson, ECSO IT Manager. “In fact, we’re down to under five milliseconds as far as application response times at peak load. Under normal load, the response times are currently under one millisecond.”

Another key concern was availability. Emergency services cannot be down for backups or failover, and DataCore’s high availability architecture fills the bill. Two nodes now synchronize their data in real time, with a third node acting as a disaster recovery site. When a node goes down, the solution fails over to the other site with no human intervention, then fails back when the original node is operational again – all with no interruption of services. This is essential, because as Nelson says, “If our systems fail, it puts not only citizens, but also first responders, at risk.


“This product makes you think differently about storage, and ultimately is the next step in virtualization,” Nelson added. “DataCore Hyperconverged Virtual SAN gives us the flexibility, reliability and performance to keep our systems running non-stop. No other products I looked at were even close to accomplishing this.”

 

To learn more, ask your Lifeboat representative, or listen to the on-demand webinar where Nelson tells the whole ECSO story on BrightTalk.

The Anatomy of a Privileged Account Hack: everything you need to know to protect your organization

Not all hacks, or data breaches, are equal. While many breaches result in inconvenience and minor financial losses, others have the potential to devastate your organization’s finances, credibility, privacy, ability to meet compliance, and much more.

A privileged account hack falls into the second category.

Our white paper, The Anatomy of a Privileged Account Hack, details the process hackers use to breach the traditional cybersecurity perimeters of organizations, from SMBs to the enterprise.


“Public reports describe more than 500 data breaches, exposing more than 3 billion information records in 2016.”


What are privileged accounts, and why are they vulnerable?

Privileged accounts are everywhere in the IT environment. They give IT the building blocks for managing vast networks of hardware and software that power the information-driven world. Yet for most people, they’re invisible.

A privileged account enables an organization’s IT professionals to manage its applications, software, and server hardware. These accounts provide access to confidential and sensitive data on computer systems, networks, and databases, and as such are sometimes referred to as ‘The Keys to the Kingdom’.

And yet, access to privileged accounts is sometimes secured and protected by only a single password.

What does a hacked privileged account look like?

When a privileged account gets hacked, it enables the attacker to impersonate a trusted employee or system and carry out malicious activity without being detected.

Imagine that an invisible stranger, with ill intent, enters your organization and starts ‘working’ there. The stranger settles in comfortably and stays for months, even longer, accessing your organization’s most sensitive data, and distributing malware.

This cyber-criminal is in no hurry—they know they are invisible to you thanks to a stolen compromised privileged account you didn’t even know you had. Once their mission is complete and they’ve finished gathering information, they erase audit trails to hide their activity and quietly leave.

You’ll probably never know a cyber-criminal was hidden inside your network—until they start using your stolen information to carry out their malevolent plans. At this point, the damage can be catastrophic.

What makes my organization vulnerable to a privileged account breach?

Unfortunately, many IT users (think of all your team members accessing your network at the office or at home) lack a thorough understanding of how privileged accounts function, and how they fit as a key component into the anatomy of a typical breach. This lack of in-depth understanding makes organizations—even the most security conscious ones—vulnerable to potential monetary and reputational damage from ever-increasing cyber threats.

Let’s look at a couple of commonplace scenarios that can put your organization at risk

Many high-profile data breaches have resulted from stolen and weak passwords. But this is by no means the only way hackers get a foot in the door of your organization.

Have you ever said: “I would never fall for a spear phishing attack”?  Well, consider this:


“People open 3% of their spam and 70% of spear-phishing attempts. And 50% of those who open the spear-phishing emails click on links within the email.”

– FireEye

  1. Spear Phishing: an unsuspecting employee receives an authentic looking email from a known third-party supplier, or via a social media message. The urgent message ‘requires’ the employee to click on a hyperlink and type in their credentials. Once submitted, the employee has handed over their secret password and digital identity to the cybercriminal who then bypasses your security controls and poses as a trusted employee.
  2. The Company Laptop: an employee brings home a company laptop. His 8-year-old son uses his own personal device to play online games and chat with friends on social messenger. Suddenly the son gets a friend request from another boy who sends him cool new games and fun surveys. He also sends a link to ‘download a new app’. But instead of a new friend, it’s a cybercriminal who’s using the 8-year-old as a mule to gain access to an unprotected device on the home network. Once the child follows through and the device has been compromised, the cybercriminal can usually get access to all other devices in the home—including dad’s company laptop.

The Anatomy of a Privileged Account Hack

Once you understand how a privileged account hack unfolds you will also understand how cybercriminals target their victims, and what you can do to reduce your risk and prevent abuse of your organization’s critical information assets.

Our white paper “The Anatomy of a Privileged Account Hack” clearly explains:

  • The 7 steps to a privileged account hack. Every user in your organization must read this.
  • The 5 steps you can take immediately to protect your organization from becoming the next victim.

The white paper also addresses critical questions like Why do privileged accounts represent special risks?, and describes how outside attackers or malicious insiders can exploit vulnerabilities in your organization, resulting in a full-blown breach of network security.

The white paper reveals facts that many cybersecurity professionals are not aware of

Many IT and cybersecurity people don’t realize that hackers can invest up to 90 percent of their time performing reconnaissance of their targets before acting. Some may even travel to local restaurants near your company’s offices (where unsecured public Wi-Fi could be used by your employees during lunch) to search for the best targets.

Did you know that when a hacker conducts reconnaissance and enumeration carefully and extensively, as they often do, it only takes 24-48 hours to gain access to your network? These, and other facts, are detailed in the white paper.

Real life stories that will make you think twice about your organization’s cybersecurity system

In my experience as a cybersecurity professional I’ve performed risk assessments for large organizations that believed they had bulletproof cybersecurity systems in place.


“The blunders that brought them down were usually either alarmingly simple, or brilliantly insidious.”


In “The Anatomy of a Privileged Account Hack” white paper I present the details of two such cases.

The white paper is a 13-page illustrated PDF packed with great info, including:

  • The 7 steps to a privileged account hack.
  • The 5 steps you can take now to protect your organization from becoming the next victim.

Download the white paper here—it’s free—and I guarantee you that no one in your organization will look at your privileged accounts in quite the same way again.

Launching Now! What’s New at Nitro

Why Nitro? A question you’ve probably been asked on more than one occasion. While responses range from “leader in document productivity” to the product’s cost-efficiency and ease of use, I challenge you to think deeper.

Why are we constantly working to be on the cutting edge of technological innovation, smarter document workflows, and digital transformation? The answer is our customer.  The Nitro customer is what gives us purpose.  We create for them. We iterate for them. We transform with them. Our customers are the fundamental motivation for everything we do as an organization.

As we continue to navigate this digital landscape together, keeping our customers and ambassadors informed on what’s new at Nitro is mission critical. In fact, our customer community helps champion, prioritize, and shape our product roadmap.

On November 29th, Kevin O’Donnell, Director of Product at Nitro, and Egle Venclovaite, Product Manager at Nitro, will take the stage for their latest webinar: Problem Solved: How Nitro’s Newest Enhancements Help You Work Even Smarter. Join Kevin and Egle as they demonstrate how Nitro Pro’s new and improved features will help your customers work even smarter with their documents.

Why attend?

  1. Go CAD! Nitro Pro now supports high-quality rendering of Computer Aided Design (CAD) drawings. Come, see the possibilities for yourself.
  2. Multitask easier. We’ll show how simple it is for users to take advantage of the multi-window management enhancements in Nitro Pro.
  3. Convert confidently. Improvements to Nitro Pro’s conversion tools mean your customers can convert documents faster and with greater quality.
  4. Print less. See how Nitro Pro advances print minimization objectives by suggesting digital workflows that can replace printing.

Join us on the journey toward digital transformation. Register today.

 


Author: Sheridan Gaenger, Director, Enterprise Marketing, Nitro

Bitdefender in the news!

In collaboration with Microsoft…

Bitdefender has developed security agents for enterprises seeking additional threat protection for their Mac devices and Linux servers. The tight integration between Bitdefender’s award-winning GravityZone Cloud endpoint protection platform and Microsoft’s Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP) solution enables Microsoft customers to detect, view, investigate, and respond to advanced cyber-attacks and data breaches on Mac OS and Linux-based endpoints within the WDATP Management Console. Read More Here

EDR for everyone…

“EDR is the worst form of endpoint security except all the other endpoint security approaches that have come before it.”

Can EDR replace all other endpoint security solutions before it? Definitely not. This is like using your elite swat team to fight street crime; not only is this expensive, it will also take the focus away from the real threats that needs the attention. Do we instead layer a pure play EDR on top of Big Antivirus, plus the anti-exploit tool and any other babelesque agents we’ve got on our endpoints? Follow the story here

November release of Patch Management…

Unpatched vulnerabilities are a frequently exploited attack vector—as evidenced by the WannaCry and Petya ransomware outbreaks, the Equifax breach and numerous other incidents. Consequently, GravityZone Patch Management module helps enterprises improve their security posture by expediently discovering and eliminating OS and application vulnerabilities in their Windows-based physical, virtual on-premises and cloud-based endpoints and servers.

As of this November release (Available 11/30), the Patch Management module supports Windows and Windows Server OS’s and is available with the on-premise version of the GravityZone console, while planning to make the patch management module available for the cloud version of GravityZone in Q1 of 2018.

Stay up to date with Bitdefender’s latest topics and releases via Business Insights

Restore Your Confidence in Security Solutions

Make the switch to Bitdefender for a Next-Gen Layered Security solution you can trust.

Learn More

  • Industry-dominating security efficacy
  • Proven protection against zero-day threats
  • Single lightweight agent
  • Best-in-class performance
  • Easy to deploy and manage
  • Fast innovation

Remove Complexity and Frustration from your Security Management!

  • Comprehensive layered next-gen EP– no need to augment with additional AV tools
  • Detect malware before execution with proven machine learning models
  • Protect against zero-day and unpatched vulnerabilities with advanced anti-exploit technologies
  • Disrupt file-less attacks with on-execution process monitoring

“We haven’t had any infections. We haven’t had any breaches… Any viruses were defeated instantly. We were completely unaffected by worldwide ransomware attacks or Google docs phishing.”

-Senior Security Analyst

GET THE NEXT-GEN EPP BUYER’S GUIDE

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All You Need is a Single Lightweight Agent

  • High-performance, modular agent design
  • Small footprint — as little as 30 MB memory space
  • Smart centralized scanning — offload scanning to a centralized security appliance
  • Optimized for virtualization

bitdefender post 2

Boost Operational Efficiency Lower Total Cost of Ownership

  • Integrated management console – managed security across physical, virtual and mobile devices
  • Small footprint — as little as 30 MB memory space
  • Smart centralized scanning — offload scanning to a centralized security appliance
  • Optimized for virtualization

Watch video

See how HyperDetect and Sandbox Analyzer work together to protect against elusive threats

Lifeboat Regional Event in Toronto!

On October 23, 2017 Lifeboat Distribution held a Regional event in Toronto, Canada. The event took place at the Air Canada Centre for a Maple Leaf’s hockey game. Before the game, 10 vendor companies and 30 resellers partners had the opportunity to take part in a “speed networking” session. Each vendor took about 10 minutes to pitch to partners and hear about what business problems their products can potentially solve. The networking portion of the night gave all attendees the opportunity to have quality time with one another and exchange information for future business opportunities.

“You guys did an absolutely great job in putting the event together, very well organized and very efficient. The concept of speed presentation worked out absolutely great for our business. I look forward to Corel’s ongoing partnership with Lifeboat!”

— George Haddad,
Corel Account Manager

After the speed networking session, everyone headed into the the stadium to watch the game and continue networking. The successful event ended with a raffling of two Maple Leaf’s jerseys! Stuart Johnston from Windswept Integrated Technology and Tim Goodison SHI were the lucky winners of the night.

 

Lifeboat Distribution would like to thank the reseller partners and vendor sponsors for making our first Toronto event a success, we look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

View the slideshow to see more photos of the night!

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Panda Security beats ‘Bad Rabbit’

Panda Adaptive Defense absolute visibility boosts our Prevention, Detection and Response capabilities, freeing all our customers from next-gen attacks like Bad Rabbit.

What Do We Know?

You may have recently read about a new ransomware variant named Bad Rabbit infecting computers.  We wanted to briefly explain what you should expect from this variant, and from your Panda protection.

Bad Rabbit is a new ransomware variant with some similarities to the recent Petya/NotPetya variant.  Like all ransomware, it encrypts the computers hard drive and requests payment for decryption.  Bad Rabbit has also exhibited the ability to spread in the network to other machines.  Regionally this variant has primarily affected computers in Russia and the Ukraine.

As of the early morning of Tuesday, October 24th, all Panda product offerings were providing full and effective protection against Bad Rabbit.

What Should You Do?

The best protection against this and all other threats is Adaptive Defense 360.  Adaptive Defense 360 automatically blocks and classifies all unknown processes before they have a chance to infect a machine.  Not a single machine using Adaptive Defense 360 in Lock Mode was affected by the previous attack, WannaCry.  The same applies for Bad Rabbit.

Those utilizing our Endpoint Protection product family (Endpoint Protection & Endpoint Protection Plus) should make sure that all endpoints are communicating properly with the console and have updated their signatures.

If they have not, please make use of the assistance provided in the console by clicking on the host name of each device that is out of date.  You can also contact our Corporate Support by dialing 1-866-748-2157 option 2, or by emailing corporatesupport@us.pandasecurity.com

To see how Panda Security would be a good fit for you, please contact sales@lifeboatdistribution.com.

 

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