What if there were a real-life data protection superhero?

Silicona sinks down in her leather armchair, and throws her feet up on her creaky wooden desk. It’s been a long day. Nearly 1,000 terabytes were recovered today. Her phone buzzes with texts: You saved us, Silicona and We are eternally grateful for your work. She watches as her screen lights up rhythmically with new messages. Her skin is sunburned, and her combat boots are dusty from the dry Nevada desert. Her fingers are still shaking from inputting so many different coding strokes. Back home in Oakland, California, none of that matters now. She just saved one of the most highly protected government programs from detrimental exposure.

This wasn’t the first time Area 51 had called upon Silicona. Back in 2013, the United States Air Force facility had asked her to stop a totally different security breach. A hacker had siphoned nearly every top secret file on a new aircraft aimed for extraterrestrial territory, and the Central Intelligence Agency was on the brink of being fully exploited. The National Security Agency had their own team of highly-trained technologists who could trace and capture cyber culprits, yet, none of them rivaled Silicona.

Raised in an airstream in a remote town on the coast of North Carolina, Silicona was far from your typical tech geek. She was born with the innate ability to interpret computer language at lightning speeds. Graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 16, Silicona soon became  primed to save governments, businesses, and individuals from data hacks. Time and again she reversed malicious data infractions and kept information that could set the world on its head safe and secure.

This time a hacker had nearly released hundreds of documents depicting Area 51’s latest venture, a fighter jet with speeds up to 3,000 miles per hour. Silicona had used her self-developed detection software to pin-point the hacker’s exact location, and powered up her interloper to permanently shut down their computers. Silicona never gave away her software or protocol. This is what made her so valuable to government agencies across the globe.

Text messages continued to cascade through her phone, including one from United National Secretary, General Siobhan Gutierrez: Amazing work, Silicona. Please call when you’re able. We might have another situation on our hands. Although it was late and Silicona was exhausted, she was worried about what Gutierrez meant. She had no idea Gutierrez even knew about the Area 51 hack. In her pajamas, Silicona made a vermouth cocktail and gave her a call.

“Hello, Ms. Secretary-General. It’s Silicona.”

“Thank you for calling me so late. We have a dire situation on our hands. I’ve been hacked. All of my files are gone.”

“Ok, did you search through any external hard drives?”

“Everything.”

“Let me see. What’s your computer’s serial number?”

Gutierrez read over her computer’s information and Silicona locates the problem.

“Ms. Secretary-General, you have too many files. You computer’s overloaded. When this happens, your computer freezes over your data to prevent you from adding anything else.”

“Oh. This is embarrassing.”

“You know, Mozy by Dell has a cloud backup solution to protect all of your information just in case something like this happens again. It’s what I use to back up my data.”

“You’re the best, Silicona. Thank you again.”

 

Note: Silicona is make believe. Mozy by Dell is for real. Real data protection for real threats to your important files, including ransomware.

 

HIPAA and You: What It Is and Why It Matters

Adopted in 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was designed in part to facilitate the transfer of health insurance for citizens after leaving an employer, and to address the growing need for regulation and oversight of electronic protected health information (ePHI), also called individually identifiable health information, via the Privacy Rule. HIPAA is a substantive and often confusing piece of legislation, leading many companies to wonder if it applies to their business, what’s expected of them and how regulatory standards are enforced. Here’s a rundown of key HIPAA expectations and why they matter to your organization.

Who’s affected

First step? Determine if you’re subject to HIPAA regulations. As noted by the CDC, there are two key groups defined by the law: covered entities and business associates. Covered entities (CEs) consist of health plans, health-care clearinghouses and health-care providers. These CEs are responsible for appropriately handling ePHI by ensuring that an accurate record of all use and transmission exists, that all data is properly encrypted and that access is restricted to specific individuals such as patients, doctors or insurance providers.

The second group, business associates (BAs), are third-parties that work with CEs and occasionally handle health data. These may include lawyers, accountants, billing companies or IT developers, and are required to sign a written agreement with CEs stating that they will properly handle health data, use the information only for stated purposes and help the CE comply with certain aspects of the Privacy Rule.

Provisions

If your company is considered a CE or BA, how do you ensure HIPAA standards are being met? The Privacy Rule lays out several obligations, including:

   •     Notification of patients regarding their privacy rights and the specific use or disclosure of their ePHI.
   •     Adoption of internal privacy policies and procedures to prevent misuse.
   •     Training of employees to ensure they understand their role in using and transmitting ePHI.
   •     Creating contracts with BAs which specify their use and responsibility in safeguarding information.
   •     Establishing administrative, technical and physical safeguards—such as data access policies, data encryption and          long-term storage in secure facilities—to ensure information privacy.

Worth noting is that willful ignorance of the rule does not constitute an acceptable reason for compliance failure. For example, this means BAs using unencrypted data cannot claim that the relevant CE did not mandate this procedure—companies are expected to know and follow the rules if they handle health data.

Enforcement

HIPAA requirements are now being enforced with greater regularity and rigor by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Through 2016 and into 2017 the agency’s focus has centered around audits, both to evaluate the use of health documents and ensure companies can produce the necessary records to demonstrate the transmission and encryption of relevant data. Expect more in-depth audits to continue over the next few years.

The OCR has also been levying more fines for non-compliance. For example, a “Did Not Know” violation can cost between $100 and $50,000 for the first offense, while “Willful Neglect” (subsequently corrected) starts at $10,000. More worrisome are identical violations in the same calendar year: For any subsequent offense, the fine is set at $1.5 million.

Why does HIPAA matter to your business? If you’re a CE or BA under the law, you’re responsible for the security, storage and use of personal health information as described by Privacy Rule stipulations. Audits are becoming more common, and steep fines are the outcome if compliance standards are not met. Best bet? Leverage the expertise of trusted HIPAA security partners who can help you meet obligations and adapt to evolving HIPAA regulations.

What are the odds your hard drive will fail?

Despite manufacturers’ advertised ratings, disk drives in consumer and commercial appliances may not offer the reliability or predictability that users expect. The annual failure rate (AFR) metric printed on many drives show an expected failure rate below one percent (0.88 percent), meaning about one in 114 drives is expected to fail in a given year.

Large-scale studies from Google and Carnegie Mellon challenge that assertion, suggesting the rate is much higher and providing a case for increased vigilance and a need for computer users to back up their data.

Beat the heat?

A 2007 Google study of approximately 100,000 of its own drives used their Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART) capability to self-report errors such as platter surface defects and reallocation of data. Among miscellaneous health indicators, SMART can detect bad drive sectors and measure temperature.

Despite SMART’s capability, researchers found that many drives failed with no signals at all; they also could not find a link between running temperature and failure. Moreover, researchers noted that, even with the assumption that a significant number of drives ran exceptionally hot—above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius)—statistics would still not reliably join heat and drive failure to the point where users could rely on the metric to predict the fate of their own drives.

The effects of old age

Meanwhile, Carnegie Mellon reported in a similar study that disk failure rate does not directly correspond to a disk’s age or type. Its researchers found that many drives failed before one year, in an “infant mortality” group, but that those which survived could be expected to live through old age—five to seven years—before statistics showed a rise in their average failure rate.

These two studies transcend their own years to represent a corpus of important industry information that others have not reproduced to scale. Moreover, they provide this industry-challenging set of figures:

Overall, Google researchers determined that the average failure rate of its drives to reach three percent. In lockstep, Carnegie Mellon expected a fail rate of between two and four percent. Both those reports provide evidence that a more realistic AFR is more than double the industry AFR of 0.88 percent.

Be proactive with cloud backups

Users may notice corrupted files or slow reading and writing—or even suddenly fried circuits—as signs that their drives have stopped working or will soon follow that path. Although the above studies report moderate links between symptoms and drive health, it is important for individuals and businesses to be proactive in their protection of important data. Failure can occur at any time.

Although no one can predict the exact moment a hard drive will show signs of wear or crash completely, individuals and businesses can take steps to protect their data with the Mozy cloud-based backup service. Users can back up and sync their files across all of their desktop and mobile devices. Learn more at Mozy by Dell.

Billy from IT has been put out to pasture

We want to call your attention to a lighthearted Mozy video we’ve just released.

In the video we catch a look at what the preliminary stage of a ransomware disaster might look like. Surprise and embarrassment are just the beginning. But that’s not the worst! Downtime, lost revenue, and lost customers are just some of the probable outcomes of a ransomware disaster. If Billy had only backed up the company’s files with Mozy, a quick restore to a point in time prior to the ransomware infection would have saved the day. Bill would be a hero!

Watch video

These days, businesses and home users are faced with two key problems: (1) keeping critical data secure and private, and (2) having it available to them anytime, anyplace. Mozy by Dell solves these problems by enabling businesses and individuals to protect, access, and keep their important files up to date across their computers, servers, and mobile devices.

And Mozy includes file sync. Mozy Sync lets users easily synchronize and securely access their files across devices. Files stored in the Sync folder are automatically updated in real time across users’ various devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Sync gives you the flexibility to work securely from any device and from any location while maintaining compliance with your organization’s information access policy.

Sync users can also maximize convenient file access by using the free Mozy mobile app for iOS and Android devices. The Mozy app allows you to access your Sync folder while on the go. You can also upload email attachments and documents from other apps to your Sync folder; those files automatically sync across all of your devices.

The lesson is clear: Be sure you’re backing up your important files with Mozy by Dell. It’s complete data protection. It’s peace of mind.

How to Upgrade or Affordably Replace Your Old PC

If you’re looking to upgrade or replace your computer, take the same approach as a physician; that is, diagnosis then treatment.      To do this:

   •     Mac owners: Apple Menu > About this Mac
   •     PC owners: Open Start Menu and enter “cmd” in the box.           At the command prompt, run: systeminfo.exe

If you see dates from before the Obama presidency, it’s time for a new computer. Or perhaps your computer isn’t that old but is sluggish and has frustrating freeze tendencies. Programs like PC Pitstop will identify the exact causes of your computer lag.

Whatever the case may be, it’s important to understand your options as you research upgrades and replacements.

 

Upgrade to a SSD

Hard disk drives (HDDs) date back to the early days of computer history. They are a few inches of metal that store computer data and access it each time a computer powers on. Solid state drives (SSDs) do the exact same thing except they retain data without power. SSDs provide superior computer performance compared to their traditional counterparts. While they lack for storage space if you need more than 1 TB, SSDs outperform HHDs when it comes to boot-up times and speed. CNET provides a “best of” list that ranges from $20 to $300, which is competitive with average HDD prices (unlike years past).

For Mac owners, this guide explains how to prep the SSD with an automatic configuration and how to remove your old hard drive with relatively simple steps. Lastly, you install the SSD with four Torx screws (available at local hardware store). Total cost: ~$120

CNET provides a similar explanation for PC owners. Set up the SSD with cloning software and a USB-to-SATA adapter and install the drive with a small screwdriver.

Free up hard drive space

Perhaps you don’t need to bite the bullet on a new hard drive. There are multiple ways to clear space for improved processing speed.

Programs such as CleanMyMac and CleanMyPC cost about $40 and will complete space-saving tasks such as:

   •     Clear duplicate and temporary files
   •     Clear unnecessary language files
   •     Uninstall unused applications
   •     Identify and remove big attachments stored in Mail
   •     Analyze disk space

It should be noted that these tasks can be performed manually. PC owners can also disable features such as hibernation and system restore.

Buy additional memory (RAM)

Adding additional random-access memory (RAM) to your computer might speed it up, might being the important word. A healthy amount of RAM (4 GB or 8 GB) eliminates the need for program swapping, which essentially means computer multi-tasking. Check your current RAM before researching an upgrade. Sites like Lifehacker, Tom’s Hardware and ZDNet have concluded that 4 GB is ample for average users and 8 GB suffices for most technical needs. However, if you run more than a couple of programs simultaneously and cannot switch between them swiftly, a RAM upgrade is for you. You should also look into RAM if you work with a memory-eating program like Adobe Photoshop or engage in tab warfare during your Chrome or Firefox sessions.

Apple provides hearty support documents on how to install memory and the process is very similar on PCs. You cannot damage the RAM unit by seating it improperly so it should be a stress-free installation. Avoid any “Mac RAM” products as there is no such thing. As long as the RAM matches the specifications for your system, it will function properly.

Affordable upgrades

Just like a car, sometimes it behooves you to buy new rather than pump money into the old horse. Desktops, laptops and tablets have transformed computer ownership standards. Data group GWI found the average consumer owns at least three “smart” devices. Consider the upgrades below that meet or surpass your old desktop’s computing power and convenience (for about $130 to $300).

Inspiron
The Dell Inspiron 3000 series laptop starts at $200. These ultra portable 11-inch to 15-inch laptops are lightweight and offer options such as touch displays to meet the needs of home and home office.

Google Chromebook
The 11-inch to 15-inch Google Chromebook laptops range from $150 to $300 and are cheaper on the used market. They cost a fraction of a MacBook Pro because they are Wi-Fi warriors. They’re not meant to run programs and have little memory and storage but can be used wherever Internet access is available. It may seem like a leap to give up on Microsoft Office Suite or your trusty solitaire game, but Google Docs and Google Drive have created an online ecosystem for file storage and word processing that is much more intuitive. Not to mention you can play solitaire without leaving your Google SERPs.

Intel Compute Stick
While most critics considered Intel’s first Compute Stick a flop, Engadget deemed the second iteration, “something you’d actually want to use.” And for good reason, the $130 stick with Windows 10 plugs directly into an HDTV or monitor via an HDMI port. Two USB ports are provided for mouse and keyboard hookups. And the pocket-sized stick comes with 32 GB of internal storage. The stick still requires an AC adapter for power but remains a cost-efficient option due to the capability vs. price.

LifeHacker
The $300 DIY PC. If you’re looking for a challenge and like working with your hands, building your own PC is entirely possible. LifeHacker lists out a complete system courtesy of PCPartPicker. You can get everything you need for $333.31. Consider that the order consists of only seven parts and it becomes even less daunting. You’ll need a case, motherboard, processor, memory (RAM), storage, graphics card and a power supply. Complete buying and installation guides are easily found online.

There you have it. Say goodbye to that old computer. Find the option that appeals to you most and do some additional research. It can be rewarding to upgrade the computer with a little handy work, especially if you have children to do it with. Or it might be wise to buy new and avoid any potential headaches. Lastly, before you toss anything out, remember to protect your files and data by using Mozy’s online backup.

7 Ways of Losing Your Files and 1 Way to Avoid Losing Your Mind Over It

Files are never really lost, not in the sense of being misplaced. If you save a file in the wrong place and have trouble finding it, that problem is easily solved by a disk search. It’s the other ways of losing files that are harder to resolve:

1. Losing your device

Do you work on a laptop? Leave it behind in a coffee shop or cab when you’re in a rush and you haven’t lost just one file; you’ve lost all of them. Worse, if your data is unencrypted and your files contain sensitive information, your accounts and identity are vulnerable to theft.

2. Losing your data

Disk problems don’t start with a full-on crash. There can be small problems that result in data corruption. This may change the data of a file or make it unreadable. You can also corrupt files if an application doesn’t shut down properly.

3. Losing your disk drive

Hard drives don’t last forever. They may provide digital storage, but they operate mechanically, and mechanical devices wear out. Drives’ lifespans vary depending on the manufacturer, but three years is typical.

4. Losing control

All it takes is one misplaced click to load malware onto your computer. Once you’ve done that, you’re no longer in control. Your data can be copied to a remote server and sold to criminals. One kind of malware, called ransomware, holds your files hostage by encrypting them with a secret key. Unless you pay up to get the decryption key, you’re unable to read your own data.

5. Losing power

Electrical outages and natural disasters that mean your computer doesn’t shutdown properly can create problems, even keeping your computer from booting up once the power comes back on. It doesn’t take a widespread regional outage to cause problems; a fire at home can destroy your computer, your hard drive, and all of your backup files.

6. Losing track of what you’re doing

Oops! You just deleted the wrong file. Hopefully, you have a recent backup, you know where it is, you can get to it easily, and you know how to restore it!

7. Losing your grip

Oops again! You dropped your computer. Or you spilled your coffee. Either way, the internal components may not survive the incident.

How not to lose your mind

Making sure you have backups of your data isn’t enough to protect you from all of these kinds of file loss. Backups don’t keep others from reading your files if your device is lost, stolen, or hacked. And sometimes you lose your backups, or at least, don’t know how to find them quickly. Backups stored near your computer are vulnerable to loss or damage along with the PC, but if your backups are at home and you need a file while you’re traveling, knowing where the backup is doesn’t help you.

Cloud data protection from Mozy by Dell is a better solution. All of your data is backed up automatically. And your files are accessible from anywhere and any device, so you’ll always have access wherever you are and whatever device you’re working on. Enterprise-grade encryption makes sure that access is limited to you. And Mozy’s data centers are protected in every way possible, both physically and electronically. You’ll never lose your mind over lost data again.

Top Five Tech Gadgets for 2017…and Why I Want Them

2017 is here, and with the new year comes a new set of must-have tech gadgets that will make my life easier—or at least a lot more fun. Here’s a look at five of the most innovative and intriguing, and why I want them all.

Snapchat Spectacles

Sure, I’m just jumping on the bandwagon here, but why not—it’s nice to finally see a smart glass option that doesn’t make users look like “glassholes.” The Spectacles nail retro without feeling dated and solve the problem of “secret recording” with a light-up white circle that lets everyone around know that you’re taking video. Better still, they make it easy to send Snaps and give Snap recipients the ability to tilt the video for maximum effect. Bottom line? I already Snap. This makes it even easier.

Price: $129. Availability: Currently random

AirPods

Yeah, I tossed Apple for Android a few years ago, but it’s tempting to re-up the iPhone thanks to AirPods. The promise? No cords, 24-hour battery life and the pods are supposed to automatically sync with all my Apple devices and turn on whenever they’re in my ears. Plus, there’s voice recognition and crystal-clear sound. If it’s true it’s magic and I’m on board.

Price: $159. Availability: Apple says 100+ countries starting December 2016

SensorWake

Released near the end of 2016, the SensorWake is a clock that wakes you up using smell instead of noise. Current options include toast, mint, coffee, chocolate and freshly-cut grass to name a few, which each last for 30 “awakenings.” It’s probably not the best idea if you’ve got a must-be-there-meeting at 8 a.m., but if you’d like to skip sleeping the day away and pass on the beeping alarm clock—hey, those Spectacles aren’t going to take Snaps themselves, people!—the SensorWake sounds like a solid plan.

Price: $131.95 for clock and 6 scents. Availability: Online

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon’s second-generation voice-controlled helper device, the Echo Dot is designed to make your life easier. Seven far-field microphones let it hear you even in a noisy room and with a few simple commands you can order pizza, call an Uber, play music or get the weather. Plus, it retails for less than $50 on Amazon and you don’t need an Echo to make the Dot work. Sounds like a fantastic time waster info hub.

Price: $49.99. Availability: Amazon

YOUMO

Want to play with the coolest tech gadgets? You need power, and the Kickstarter-funded YOUMO might just do the trick. The idea here is that you pick different power “modules,” which can be linked together to create a kind of ideal electric Frankenstein to power your tech environment. From standard power outlets to USB connections, wireless charging, LAN modules, speakers and even nightlights, there’s huge potential here. It’s not on the market yet, but all indications from Kickstarter and the company’s webpage are for a quick 2017 start.

Price: Not set. Availability: Soon

Want the best tech gadgets for 2017? You can’t go wrong with these five standouts.

Mozy’s Most Popular Blog Posts and Infographics from 2016

As the year comes to a close, we thought it would be fun to revisit what was most popular on the Mozy blog in 2016. Check out which blog posts and infographics our readers liked most from what we published this year.

When Old Tech Becomes New Tech

We are a society that loves technology. Most of us can’t seem to get enough of the latest and greatest. The rapid advance in technology is causing a glut in tech devices such as computers, smartphones and game systems. That means outdated tech devices are ending up in the landfill. Unfortunately, a lot of that e-waste could have been recycled. Read more. (Also, be sure to check out our infographic about e-waste.)

10 Great But Inaccurate Quotes From Technology (infographic)

We’ve all said something at one time or another that we regret saying. Even the brightest minds have said things they wish they hadn’t said. That’s especially true when the statement was bold and sure…except that it never came to pass. Check out these great but inaccurate quotes from brilliant technologists from the 20th and 21st centuries. View infographic.

Dell + Mozy Have a Lot in Common with Greatness!

How could you have missed the news about the greatest tech deal of this century—perhaps of any century? The merger of Dell and EMC—owner of Mozy—brought together two tech giants. It was the best joining the best. As our writer described it, it’s like Batman and Robin. Han and Chewy. Milk and cookies (preferably chocolate chip). You just can’t have one without the other. Read more.

Most Prolific Hackers (infographic)

Make no mistake about it: 2016 was one of the biggest years for hackers. Ransomware in particular was rampant (2+ billion files were leaked this year). This infographic describes some of the most infamous hacks from years past. Some of these unsavory characters may look harmless, but their unauthorized access to information caused serious headaches for consumers, government agencies and businesses. View infographic.

Make Digital Backups of Your Precious Family Photos

Photos bring back so many wonderful memories from the past. The truth is, some of our best moments in our personal history are captured through photography. And today’s smartphones make it so easy to capture those moments. Are you backing them up and protecting them? You should be because you’re capturing moments for future generations to enjoy. Read more.

50 Things We Don’t Do Anymore Due to Technology (infographic)

Unlike everything else in our list of posts and infographics published in 2016, this infographic was published three years ago but continues to be one of our most popular. We thought it would be fun to once again consider many of the things we no longer do anymore because of technological advancements. By the way, when was the last time you called the theatre to get movie times? View infographic.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our revisit to our most popular blog posts and infographics. We also hope that you have a wonderful holiday and a very happy New Year. Thank you for backing up with Mozy! We appreciate your business.

Why Your Business Needs to Back Up Its Data

Ever try to turn on your computer and nothing happens?

Imagine if this was the only computer in your entire business. Years worth of information could be gone in an instant. Word documents that detail business processes are no longer. Sales number spreadsheets and spending are gone.

Problems like these can cripple a business. In today’s data-dependent world, business files are the lifeblood of companies both large and small. That’s why it’s critical that you back up your business data before disaster strikes.

Check out the following to learn more about the common causes of data loss and how to prevent it.

Data loss is possible

The scenario described above is more common than you think. But it’s not always on a large scale. Sometimes, a single file is affected. But depending on the file’s contents, the problem could still have a large impact.

The most common reasons for data loss include:

•     Hardware or system failure
•     Viruses and malware (such as ransomware)
•     Human error
•     Software corruption
•     Natural disasters

 

Hardware or system failure

Computers are fickle. They get old and tired. It’s not unusual for them to stop working for no reason. No matter how well you take care of your devices, things break. It’s a fact of life. Investing in a cloud-based backup solution allows you to save and restore critical information easily. Don’t lose years worth—or even a day’s worth!—of data due to a breakdown.

Viruses and malware

New viruses and malicious programs appear daily. Sometimes they take the guise of legitimate programs or files you need to run your business. No security program catches everything. If these files aren’t quickly identified, they can wreak havoc on your system and infect other files, creating mountains of useless data or in the case of ransomware, data that’s being held for ransom in exchange for a special decryption key that might not even unlock your data. Backing up your data will allow you to revert back to an earlier, working file version.

Human error

People are fallible. Files get discarded that should be saved, or don’t get saved at all. Don’t let your business fall prey to an overly tired employee who inadvertently deletes the latest sales report.

Software corruption

Just like there’s no perfect solution to preventing system failures, software corruption is a fact of digital life. Sometimes a system update creates an issue. Or the software is used so much that it doesn’t run properly when opened the next time. Backing up information to the cloud allows you to easily open files on another device.

Natural disasters

Fires and floods can ruin machines and destroy digital files. Storing data in the cloud protects your sales figures, proprietary information and other important business files from burning up or being damaged by water. One of these disasters can ruin all of your machines at once, so backing up your data locally doesn’t protect you if all of your devices are destroyed.

Why cloud backup?

Backing up business data to the cloud protects you from a device failure or a total loss. Using an easy-to-use and cost-effective solution like Mozy automatically backs up files, so there’s no need to remember to perform a periodic backup. With options to restore to any device or computer, these solutions make it easy to restore data anywhere, anytime. Additional features such as file sync and mobile access can actually increase productivity with anytime, anywhere access to your important files.

Keeping data secure should be a top business priority. Don’t risk your investment when you can easily protect your business from loss for just a few dollars a month. Invest in a cloud-based backup solution for your company today.

Don’t Fear Ransomware!

Did you hear about the Bay Area light-rail system that was hit by ransomware a couple of weeks ago? You can read about it on The Core, Mozy’s parent company’s blog.

Some ransomware facts

Although it’s true that ransomware sounds scary, you shouldn’t fear it. There are a few things we know about this type of malware. Ransomware:
   •     Is prevalent (there were more than 431 million malware          variants added in 2015)
   •     Continues to grow more sophisticated (some ransomware          uses unbreakable encryption)
   •     Usually gains access through a network’s weakest link (for          example, a user’s email or social networking site)
   •     Has cost businesses millions of dollars this year (US$209          million just in Q1 2016)

Knowing these facts helps us to understand the very real nature of the threat of ransomware to today’s businesses.

It can’t happen to my business…right?

According to the Global Data Protection Index (GDPI), data protection—which includes data backup—is critical for a number of reasons. Of the organizations surveyed by the GDPI:
   •     52% suffered unplanned system downtime in the last 12 months
   •     29% suffered data loss
   •     36% reported internal or external security breaches (including ransomware)
   •     Hardware failure is still the number one cause of data loss and/or system downtime

Clearly, a ransomware disaster is more common than most people think. It can happen to your business!

Ransomware isn’t going away

As already mentioned, businesses have already forked over more than US$200 million just in the first quarter of this year. According to the FBI, ransomware is on course to become a US$1+ billion industry by the end of 2016. There have been 2+ billion records leaked in 2016 as a result of cybercrimes.

Although ransomware isn’t going away, it’s important to remember this: a ransomware disaster is preventable!

So, what can you do?

Like most criminals, cybercriminals are opportunists who are looking for the easiest targets. One of the best things a business can do is no be an easy target! For starters, be sure you can answer “yes” to the following questions:
   •     Are your employees aware of the risks of unsolicited emails?
   •     Are your firewalls and mail filters always up to date?
   •     Are you using expired antivirus software?
   •     Are you syncing data from endpoints up to cloud-based file sync share systems?

But there’s more to be done in order to prevent a ransomware disaster.

Backup and restore

The most reliable form of protection organizations can leverage to safeguard their data is backup. But simple backup is not enough to ensure that your files are protected from ransomware. It’s important to note that common backup solutions such as a USB drive or network-attached storage device (NAS) are not reliable methods for backing up and safeguarding your data. Ransomware typically spreads throughout an organization’s entire file system, including an attached drive or network share, encrypting both production data and backup data.

It’s also important to note that backup off site (away from your primary site) is critical. Mozy by Dell backs up your important endpoint files and server data to the Dell EMC cloud to ensure that it cannot be compromised by ransomware. When a malware infection is involved, restoration of an endpoint or server from a backup works best when you can easily select a moment in time from where to restore. With Mozy cloud backup, once you have identified the point of infection and the time the malware was introduced to the machine, the Mozy solution lets you restore all of the files for the given user from the point in time just before the malware was introduced.

For more information on how you can prevent a ransomware disaster with endpoint data protection, visit Mozy by Dell.