Ransomware Hits Florida Town, Costs them $500,000 in Ransom

Ransomware Hits Florida Town, Costs them $500,000 in Ransom

No matter how big or small your organization is, security is always something that should be considered when it comes to securing your business data.  This is especially so if you are mostly handling confidential data such as data from customers.  Unfortunately, a town in Florida learned this lesson the hard way as they were recently hit by a ransomware attack.  As their operations was put to a standstill, they had no choice but to pay the asking price of cyber criminals, 42 bitcoins (equivalent to $500,000).

This wasn’t the only attack that happened in Florida as well, another municipality ended up paying cyber criminals $600,000 when the attack severed their connection to important data.  The mayor of the town even stated that he could not believe that in such a small town they would encounter such attacks.  They aren’t alone however, during the past years many other organizations such as major hospitals were hit by ransomware and were forced to pay to gain access to business-critical data.

“Ransomware is the canary in the coal mine,” said cyber-security expert Kevin Beaumont, who argued that the spate of attacks showed organizations needed to get better at basic IT security.

What can you do to prevent this?

As stated above, one preventive measure is to make sure that your employees are briefed on basic IT security as to make sure they don’t fall to attacks such as phising to prevent criminals from getting into the network.

Another would be to have data protection measures up, you may even start with a simple back up set up.  This is to ensure that during time of attacks or system failures, you will have a starting point to recover instead of trying to get whatever you can from your infected systems.

You may also consider advanced security protection from vendors such as Trend Micro which can help detect and quarantine suspicious files and activities from the Server level or even on your multiple endpoints.

To learn more about these solutions and how we can help you, you may contact us at 893-9515 and we would be happy to find the best solution for you company!

Cloud Backup vs. BCDR: The Difference Between the Two

Cloud Backup vs. BCDR: The Difference Between the Two

When discussing whether business’ have a business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) in place, many would say that they have some in place but really only have Cloud Backup in place.  So, what is the difference between the two?  Cloud backup, simply put, is backing up your data to a remote cloud-based server which is accessible to many different and connected resources.

While BCDR is focused more on ensuring that your business will be able to continue after a disaster, whether it be natural or due to human error.  Business continuity focuses more on the continued activity or how fast your business can go back into operation after a disaster, while disaster recovery refers to the set of policies which are put in place to protect your business’ technology infrastructure.

You can separate backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity by the time it takes to restore and/or recover your data and get back to work.  BCDR plans can help you speed up recovery time from days and weeks to simply just minutes or hours.   Below are three main reasons why businesses should have a proper BCDR plan in place:

To prevent downtime and loss of revenue

Businesses usually can’t afford downtime as it can significantly affect profits, with a BCDR plan, you can minimize the downtime and loss of revenue you would incur.

To prevent data loss

A BCDR plan in place can help you prevent the loss of data to ensure that your business can still operate, a study once found the 87% of businesses that lost access to their data for more than a week would eventually close down a year later.

To protect the business reputation

With how consumers expect most business to accommodate them 24/7, it can damage the business reputation once long periods of downtime is experienced by consumers.  With a BCDR plan in place, you can help prevent these types of reputation losses from happening.


To learn more about BCDR solutions, you can refer to our product page here, or you can contact us directly at 893-9515 and we will be happy to help you!

Keep your Data Safe Anywhere with Microsoft Azure Information Protection

Keep your Data Safe Anywhere with Microsoft Azure Information Protection

With the convenience of the internet and the evolving application market, company data is moving through different channels at a faster rate than possible before.  This makes it easier for businesses to better serve the clients while also improving their operations.  However, this also means that your data may be out there unprotected and used by people who should not have that data in the first place.

In 2016, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) recorded that about 1,093 US agencies and companies suffered from data breach instances, this is a 40% increase over 2015.  As information is a company’s critical asset, we should take the necessary steps in making sure that it is well protected from breaches.

With how freely we access and share data, the chances of incurring a leak of sensitive data such as intellectual property or customer data is not that farfetched.  So how do we prevent this from happening?  One way is to create a classification of protection levels that are easily identifiable through labels such as Personal, Public, General, Confidential, and Highly Confidential.

This is where Microsoft Azure Information Protection (AIP) can help you.  AIP is a cloud-based solution which provides a continuous classification and protection of your corporate data wherever it may be.  It provides this with its end-to-end protection and control for sensitive data which include data classification and labeling, data protection, data usage monitoring, and responding to malicious data usage activities.

Protect sensitive information anytime, anywhere

With AIP, you will be able to classify and label your corporate data for protection for its whole lifecycle.  Also, since it is a cloud-based solution, it provides you the flexibility to integrate and protect with your Microsoft cloud services and applications such as Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and OneDrive for Business.  Below are a few of the features that you can expect to see with AIP:

  • Simplified and intuitive controls that help you make the right decisions and stay productive. Data classification and protection controls are integrated into Microsoft Office and common applications. One-click options make it easy to classify data.
  • Persistent protection that follows sensitive data to ensure it’s always protected—regardless of where it’s stored or with whom it’s shared.
  • More visibility and control over shared data through tracking of shared data usage with powerful logging and reporting that allows you to monitor and analyze this data. Access to data can be revoked if required.
  • Safer sharing with customers and partners through definitions of who can access data and what they can do with it based on a use rights policy. For example, some users might be able to view and edit certain files but not print or forward them.
  • Deployment and management flexibility to protect data whether it’s stored in the cloud or on-premises. You can choose how encryption keys are managed, including Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) options.

 


To learn more, you may contact us at 893-9515 and we will be more than happy to help you with your inquiries!

Data Protection: Looking Closer at Cloud Storage

Data Protection: Looking Closer at Cloud Storage

The way we store data is evolving, from the days of punch cards, magnetic tape, discs, solid state, and flash we have now arrived to having what is called cloud storage.  A research from IDC shows that IT Infrastructure sales into the cloud has finally surpassed traditional IT environments for the first time in the third quarter of 2018.

With Cloud Storage being the new trend in the storage sector, it is no wonder that organizations are hopping on the bandwagon.  Cloud storage boasts that it will ensure business continuity and scalability. However, when done in practice, the transition is nuanced due to reasons such as financial restraints and multi-generational IT infrastructures.

We should also still consider that even though there are newer technologies, some forms of the older technology for storage still retain their use cases depending on the industry.  This is why even though cloud is seeing more usage lately, most companies are still between different storage solutions so that they can determine which data should be moved to the cloud and which can stay on premise, a hybrid cloud approach. 

Moving to the Cloud needs to be well thought-out

Although many companies are currently adopting a hybrid cloud approach, Gartner predicts almost 90% of companies will be on a hybrid-cloud infrastructure by 2020, many are still struggling to find the right balance.  Research from backup solutions vendor, Arcserve, found that 64% of respondents believe that it hasn’t gotten easier to safeguard business critical data compared to 5 years ago. This is despite all the technological advancement we’ve had throughout the years; the problem is still the same for them.  This means that finding the right technology is only the first step, you will also need a proper process and team who will help you with the transition to a cloud-based system while not neglecting the on-site system.  This is key if you want to ensure continuity in the current global environment filled with cyber threats and multi-platform integration.

Therefore, it is advisable that you take your time when attempting to move your data to the cloud.  This should be done with the help of those who can help you deliberate which data would benefit from moving to the cloud and staying on premise.  You will need the help of a provider who will make sure that the solutions that you have are considered while also looking into your best interest when it comes to cost you will incur. 

If you are interested in learning more about Data Protection, you may refer to our data solutions page here, or you can also contact us directly at 893-9515 and we will be happy to help you through your journey!

CT Link Systems, Inc. Sponsors the Upcoming DPCC Summit 2018!

CT Link Systems, Inc. Sponsors the Upcoming DPCC Summit 2018!

CT Link Systems, Inc. is co-presenting the upcoming Data Privacy & Cloud Computing (DPCC) Summit 2018 this coming November 8, 2018.  CT Link has decided to sponsor this event as one of its initiatives to help give back to the IT community as it celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

DPCC Summit 2018 is the venue in which the foremost experts on cloud computing in the Philippines come together to share their knowledge and experience to help advocate its benefits to businesses around the country.  Learn as well how they kept compliant to data privacy laws while using cloud computing in their organizations.

To learn more on how to join this exclusive IT Summit, you may email registration@dpcc2018.com with your inquiry or you may visit DPCC Summit 2018’s official site HERE to register.

Protect Your Critical Data with Known Folder Move!

Protect Your Critical Data with Known Folder Move!

Data is usually rank #1 when asked of users in importance of their endpoints.  So, it is always somewhat strange that when asked if they keep a back up of their files, the answer is usually no.  Data is usually taken for granted by end-users, sometimes event saving them in improper places such as their desktop rather than specific folders.  So, when the time comes that an unforeseen event causes the user to lose their data is when they try all means to retrieve it when all it took was a few clicks to ensure their data was safe.

Knowing this, Microsoft has taken its one drive saving functions event further with Known Folder Move (KFM).  Below is Microsoft’s description of KFM:

Known folders are global pointers in Windows representing a location on the user’s drive. They help users to organize their most important files and access them across different applications. KFM helps you move your docs, desktop, and pictures into OneDrive. Even the Screenshots and Camera Roll folders are included when the Picture folder has opted into KFM.

KFM can help users back up their data by seamlessly integrating into the most commonly used folders (Desktop, Documents, and Pictures) or by using assigned folders set by the end user.  There are now indicators that will tell you whether your folders are in sync with OneDrive or if the data is only in the PC.

Cloud icon represents data is saved on the cloud, while the green check mark means the data can be found on both the PC and OneDrive.

Another feature that will greatly help businesses encourage their users to protect their data with OneDrive would be the feature to “set up protection for important folders”.  With this feature, users will receive a pop-up window reminding them to set up their protected folders which will be synced to OneDrive, if users decide to do it at another time, the pop-up window comes back at a later period but as a smaller window compared to the first one.  This is to ensure that the reminders are not intrusive or distracting to the end user.

To learn more about KFM and OneDrive, you may contact us at 893-9515 and we will be happy to help you with any of your inquiries!

Speed up your GDPR Compliance with Microsoft Cloud!

Speed up your GDPR Compliance with Microsoft Cloud!

With the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect on May 2018, many companies are now working on complying with it.  Gartner believes that less than 50% of all organizations will be able to fully comply before its takes effect.  However, using the cloud can help dramatically increase compliance rate and Microsoft has worked with countless experts to help make its solutions simple and user friendly.

With roughly 160 GDPR requirements, which include how to collect, store, use personal information and even a mandate for a 72-hour notification for personal data breaches, it’s clear that using cloud technologies can help the speed of compliance in many organizations.  With this in mind, Microsoft has worked on their Trusted Cloud Principles, in which security, privacy, compliance and transparency are included, to help provide a unique journey to GDPR compliance.  Microsoft announced on February of this year that their cloud services would comply with the GDPR by next year May, which include Office 365, Dynamic 365, Azure (including Azure data services), Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Windows 10.

Cloud for compliance

Besides being compliant, Microsoft Cloud provides built-in sophisticated controls that can help you comply with the GDPR requirements.  Azure Information Protection is an example of one of the capabilities in the arsenal of Microsoft.  Azure Information Protection provides document tracking and revocation capabilities, this gives you the ability to monitor the flow of sensitive data and revoke access to it at any time.

Microsoft Cloud can also be used to discover, manage, protect and report on GDPR-related data.  With powerful intelligence capabilities on Microsoft Cloud, using features such as Office 365 Advanced Data Governance can intelligently manage your organization’s data with classifications, which can label sensitive data so that you can apply policies for either protection, retention or deletion.

Microsoft also plans on releasing a new dashboard as well to help provide a quantitative assessment to help identify where you are in your journey to GDPR compliance.

To learn more about Microsoft’s GDPR solution Here or learn more about Microsoft products from our Product page Here!

Data Protection

Data Protection

Data has become the centerpiece of any organization.  It is the driving force in which they base major decisions and even day to day operations.  This is why safeguarding such important information has become key in a successful business.  However, securing data and protecting data are two different agendas.  Data protection is focused more on safeguarding your data from compromise, corruption or loss rather than focusing on outside threats.  CT Link Systems, Inc. specializes in the following data protection solutions: Clustering and Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR).

With clustering, CT Link can help you minimize the downtime and service interruptions of your production infrastructure.  We are able to accomplish this by implementing a high availability clustering solution which uses two servers to act as an active one while the other as a passive server.  The passive server is a clone of the active server and will automatically be used upon the failure of the active server.

Through Business Continuity, CT Link can guide you through the steps in which you can take to ensure your data is well archived and retain-able using the right backup solution.  We are able to provide you with two types of backup solutions, either on-premise or on the cloud.  With this flexibility, we are able to help tailor fit your solution to better fit the need and budget of your business.  In disaster recovery, we can help  your business by setting up an offsite backup of all your essential data and configurations which can be used in restoring your system upon an unforeseen data loss to your on-premise infrastructure.