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Mozy at Dell EMC World

While in college, I was fortunate to have two internships with EMC. When I came on board to work the summer months, some of my co-workers were just returning from EMC World. I knew these conventions were a big deal, but how big? Last week I had the opportunity to attend the first joint Dell EMC World located in Las Vegas.

When I checked in for the event on Sunday afternoon, I was able to walk the show floor. I have never felt so small in a building! The convention was set to take place in the 1.5 million square foot Venetian convention center, which now looked much more like a construction site than a trade show. There were workers with hard hats, forklifts buzzing around like bees, and people running electrical wires from the rafters to light up the snazzy booths in the coming week.

I woke up Monday morning to attend the Michael Dell keynote that would officially kick off Dell EMC World 2017. I found myself surrounded by roughly 12,000 IT practitioners, business decision makers, analysts, and customers funneling into the conference hall to listen to what Michael had to say.

After the keynote and announcements of future technologies, it was time for the solutions expo to open. Walking on the show floor Monday afternoon was a much different vibe than Sunday during registration. There was booth signage hanging from the ceiling every direction you looked, bright lights flickering in the background, a BMW i8 in the middle of the show floor, and my favorite—an obstacle course for drones!

After quickly checking out the 150+ booths, it was time to staff the Data Protection booth and speak with customers and prospects. Because I work on the marketing team, I don’t speak with customers as often as I would like. However, while staffing the booth, I had the opportunity to speak with Mozy customers, prospects, analysts, and folks from all around the world. It was a very gratifying feeling to speak with Mozy customers and hear their stories about how Mozy has saved the day, or how Mozy is helping in their company’s IT transformation.

On Tuesday night, Mozy hosted a customer appreciation dinner at the Venetian. It was an excellent opportunity to get to know each other better.

All in all, Dell EMC World surpassed my expectations. I now have a much better understanding of Dell’s motto, “Go Big, Win Big.” Dell EMC World 2017 was just that. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Dell EMC World. Maybe I’ll see you at the Mozy booth!

Why should I be concerned about ransomware?

Ransomware is not like the neon windbreakers of the early ’90s, which quickly faded, or the popular toy Furbies, which peaked in sales a few years after being introduced in 1998. No, ransomware is here to stay. According to the FBI, “Cyber criminals collected $209 million in the first three months of 2016 by extorting business and institutions to unlock computer servers.” At this rate ransomware is on pace to become a $1-billion-a-year industry. The stakes are high and you must have a proper backup plan in place.

The days of backing up systems to tape and external drives are long gone. Once considered the future of data protection, cloud backup is now an essential part of a comprehensive backup strategy. And the best part about cloud backups is how simple they are. Most offerings have set-it-and–forget-it scheduling, so you or your company’s IT department does not have to spend time backing up your data. These backups are also non-disruptive, meaning they are going on in the background while you are working and will not disturb current workloads.

Not only are cloud backups automatic and non-disruptive, they are very secure. Data security is a hot topic for companies today and will be going forward. Cloud backups are typically encrypted at the source, while in flight to the data centers, and while at rest in the data center. Most cloud backup providers will provide a variety of encryption options, including 256-bit AES encryption and 458-bit Blowfish.

You may be asking yourself, “This all sounds great, but what happens in the event my data gets attacked?” Keep in mind that cloud backups are structured in a way that allows you to roll back to a point in time prior to the attack. For example, let’s say at 12:30 p.m. your laptop locks up and a pop-up appears on the screen informing you that your data has been hijacked and encrypted and demanding a ransom in Bitcoins in exchange for a decryption key.  You would first notify management of what is going on and then go straight to your friends in IT. They will be able to pull the last backup at 12:00 p.m. and restore your data in a matter of minutes.

Cloud backup is a second line of defense to antivirus and threat detection software and was designed with the end user in mind. Providing great data protection and easy restore options makes for a hassle-free backup policy. Just imagine if your system were attacked by ransomware and you did not have a backup policy in place. You could be paying the ransom, and worse, not even receiving an appropriate decryption key. What would that do to your business?

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Brian Dye, Symantec’s SVP of information security, says, “Antivirus software only detects 45% of all attacks.” And according to the Global Data Protection Index, 36% of companies have suffered unplanned system downtime and/or data loss due to an external or internal security breach. Clearly, ransomware and other forms of malware are on the rise and are a very real threat to your business. The good news is that Mozy by EMC can help prevent a ransomware data loss disaster with easy-to-deploy and efficient cloud-based backup solutions.

 

Infamous Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware is on the rise. Until recently, ransomware used to be a crime targeted at consumers and small businesses. Cybercriminals who carry out these attacks have become more confident in their abilities and have elevated their game to take down some of the biggest companies in the world. It only takes hackers six minutes to compromise an organization, 60% of the time. Ransomware is not industry specific, meaning no one is safe. Like any other types of crime, ransomware has been responsible for a multitude of high-profile crimes. There are many infamous attacks documented, but I would like to focus on three high-profile cases.

Horry County Schools

Horry County Schools in South Carolina was brought to a screeching halt due to ransomware. Earlier this year hackers gained access to the school district’s network through an outdated server. The attack locked computers that contained sensitive intellectual property and lesson plans. Teachers in the school district had to create new lesson plans and Wi-Fi was shut off at some of the schools as a precaution. At first, the school district stated they would not pay the ransom for the decryption key. This decision was later reversed and the school district paid out nearly US$10K in Bitcoins. The attackers are believed to be from a country outside the United States. Currently, the FBI is investigating this crime.

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center

Ransomware can even bring a hospital to its knees. This past February the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles found this out the hard way. The attack locked computers and encrypted patient information. Routine medical practices such as CT scans were unavailable, and patients were sent to other medical centers for their scans. Doctors and nurses resorted to pen and paper to keep track of what was going on because no computer access was allowed. The stakes were particularly high in this attack because critical (and sensitive) patient data was hijacked. The hackers used this to their advantage and demanded a US$3.6 million ransom. The cybercriminals eventually reduced the ransom and Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center ended up paying US$17,000 in Bitcoins in exchange for the decryption key. The FBI is investigating this attack as well.

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Perhaps the most infamous cyberattack was the hack on Sony Pictures over the film “The Interview,” a comedy centering around two American spies trying to assassinate the leader of North Korea. Sony Pictures received an email threatening terrorist attacks at cinemas if the film was screened. This attack also included the leaking of unreleased Sony films, portions of films scripts, 47,000 Social Security numbers, and employee emails discussing anything from Angelina Jolie to the James Bond film script “Spectre.”

Is your data backed up and is it restorable?

The FBI has estimated that cybercriminals have collected US$209 million in Q1 2016 alone, on pace for a $1 billion year and up from US$23 million in all of 2015.That said, if a business, or its users, have an appropriate data backup plan in place the consequences of these attacks can be minimized. Organizations need to be asking themselves, “In the event of a ransomware attack, is our data restorable?” Threat detections and anti-virus software are not going to protect you from these sophisticated cyberattacks. Your data must be backed up and it must be restorable to a point in time prior to the ransomware attack! Learn how Mozy can help.

What is Ransomware?

Maybe you haven’t been a victim of ransomware, but you’ve certainly heard of it. Ransomware hacks are in the news daily. According to a recent study published by McAfee Labs, ransomware growth increased by 58 percent for Q2 of 2015. But whether you’re a consumer, business owner, or government entity, the question is not “Will I be a victim of ransomware?” Instead, the question everyone should be asking is “When will I be a victim of a ransomware disaster?” Fortunately, falling victim to a ransomware attack doesn’t have to result in a disaster—if you have a proper backup policy in place.

Ransomware first arrived on the scene in 2005. The first known ransomware strain was Trojan.Gpcoder, which affected Windows operating systems. Although ransomware attacks still use screen pop-ups that notify users of the attack and the amount of money required to unlock a computer, other ransomware attacks are more sophisticated and use “unbreakable encryption.” That usually means if your data is not backed up you will not be seeing it again unless you pay the ransom. And, unfortunately, just because you pay the ransom in return for a decryption key does not guarantee that the key will work and that you will get your data back.

Ransomware can infiltrate and spread throughout your systems in a matter of minutes; all it takes is one wrong click. This type of malware typically enters a network through its weakest link—social media or an email with an infected link or attachment. The bad news is that ransomware is easy to create and deploy. The good news is that you can fight ransomware with a solid backup plan.

Have you ever asked yourself: “What would happen to my business if I lost all of my data?” Having a backup plan in place is not just a sound operational practice, it’s often required by law or regulation. For example, HIPAA requires healthcare organizations to have and test a viable data backup and disaster recovery plan. The same holds true in the financial services industry; both the OCIE and FFIEC have made this a priority in their enforcement and audit practices.

If you do not have a backup plan in place, today is the best day to develop one—and EMC is a great place to start. Mozy and Spanning (both by EMC) offer data protection and data restore no matter where your important files reside. Mozy is an endpoint solution that backs up files on your computers to the EMC cloud. Spanning protects your born-in-the-cloud data for Salesforce, Office 365 (including One Drive), and Google Apps (including Google Drive).

Make no mistake about it—ransomware is a growing threat to all businesses and consumers. In 2014 alone, there were 2,122 confirmed data breaches! Fortunately, there are steps you can take in order to harden security against these types of cyberattacks. First and foremost, businesses must have a legitimate backup plan in place. In addition, we strongly recommend testing your backups periodically to make sure they’re intact and up to par. Equally critical is the ability to restore your data to a specific point in time before the ransomware attack occurred.

How to Back Up Your Computer

Today’s businesses are faced with many challenges, including regulation and compliance, customer service, and financial management. One major challenge is the growth of company data. Have you ever asked yourself what would happen if all the files on your computer disappeared? Have you thought about how much down time and lost sales an incident like this would cause? These are simple questions that both business owners and employees should be asking themselves on a regular basis. If you did lose data, does your company have a plan in place to restore lost data?

Hopefully the answer is yes. If not, there are steps you can take to make sure your business is backing up data in a proper manner. One method of backup is to use an external hard drive and perform a backup on a daily or weekly basis as you see fit. This method of backup is not recommended because there are too many variables. What happens if you misplace the external drive? What happens if you forget to back up your important files one night? The next best solution would be backing up to tape.

Tape is an inexpensive way to back up your data (though a little out dated). Tape’s biggest advantage is price. Tape backups have a very low price per gigabyte, making tape a viable option if you are trying to keep your IT costs at a minimum. That said, tape backups have been around for a while and have a few problems of their own. Tape drives consist of many moving parts both in the media and the drive, meaning parts will break in time. Also, tape access speeds are dismal when compared to drive-based backup. Tape drives can take several minutes to load and position before you can even begin to access their data. Last but not least, manual tape backup is associated with security risks. Losing a tape with important business information or worse, customer information, would not be good for a company’s reputation.

In order to properly and efficiently back up your data, jumping to the cloud is probably your best bet. The best word to sum up cloud-based backup is “simple.” That’s true in part because most cloud-based backup is now run as a service. The end user performs a one-time full system backup over the public Internet. After that the provider will run incremental backups, only capturing the changes since the last backup, making for a quicker backup. Cloud backup can also be automated for business requirements. With backup automation there is no need for employees to set aside time to back up their endpoints; instead, the backup software will run silently in the background.

Cloud backup addresses problems that both external drives and tape cannot. For example, with cloud backup businesses do not have to worry about employees forgetting to back up their data to an external hard drive, or worse, losing the external hard drive. Tape may sound like a viable option, but there are still too many variables. With cloud backup your data is much more secure because data is always encrypted—while it is being transferred to the data center and at rest in the data center, where it is monitored and protected 24/7. And getting your data out of the data center is much easier then performing a tape restoration. Many cloud providers offer a variety of data restore options, including but not limited to right-click restore, web restores, and media restores.

Cloud-based backup is the way forward and has tremendous upside for business owners. Backup technology is no longer a nice to have for business but rather a must have. Developments in technology as well as an increase in cloud backup vendors has helped to significantly decrease prices, making cloud backup much more accessible than you might think. What can cloud backup do for you?

Benefits of SaaS

Most business owners face the ongoing challenge of reducing costs yet at the same time driving increases in revenue. One way for a business to reduce costs is to invest in SaaS applications. Not familiar with SaaS? Gartner defines software as a service (SaaS) “As software that is owned, delivered and managed remotely by one or more providers. The provider delivers software based on one set of common code and data definitions that is consumed in a one-to-many model by all contracted customers at anytime on a pay-for-use basis or as a subscription based on use metrics.”

You might be asking yourself, What are a few examples of SaaS applications? SaaS applications include but are not limited to, Google, Twitter, Salesforce, and Mozy cloud backup. Because SaaS applications have significant benefits, they are rapidly penetrating the IT market. Benefits include low cost, pay-as-you-go subscription model, and little to no maintenance for the business owner.

As already mentioned, cost savings is always front of mind for a business owner. SaaS applications can save businesses money on multiple fronts. The biggest cost savings come in the form of not needing to purchase any on-premises hardware. The SaaS provider supplies the appropriate software and resources to get the customer up and running quickly. Using Mozy as an example, the customer purchases the Mozy service and then downloads the Mozy backup software via a silent install. In a relatively short time, the customer can be securely backing up important files.

The pay-as-you-go business model is simple yet efficient. Pay as you go gives you the benefit of accurate budgeting practices as well as the ability to forecast accordingly on costs as you scale your business. Pay as you go also gives you the flexibility of not being tied down by lengthy contracts that can hinder your business operations.

An additional benefit of being a SaaS customer is that the provider is responsible for making sure systems are up to date and that security is handled effectively. This is a huge upside for the customer because the IT department can utilize its time and resources on business-critical priorities. Security is something that SaaS providers do not take lightly. For example, Mozy data centers are world class, embracing the highest of security measures, including 24x7x365 onsite monitoring and security, temperature controls, backup power supplies, fire suppression systems, and biometric scanners.

The benefits of SaaS go far beyond what we’ve discussed in this post. SaaS applications provide numerous benefits across many different industries making it one of the fastest growing industries. In October of 2014, EMC further showed its commitment to the SaaS industry by acquiring Spanning, backup for born-in-cloud applications such as Office 365, Google Apps, and Salesforce. If you’re not already taking advantage of SaaS applications, now is the time to be asking yourself, “What can SaaS do for me?”