Disaster Recovery

What to do when an ex-employee starts deleting your company data.

We had an interesting customer situation to deal with recently here at Abtech.

One of our StorTrust clients had to let one of their employees go.  Nothing too unusual.

However, they didn’t escort the person off the premises, delete their login and move on.  Instead, they let her go back to her desk while they sorted out the necessary paperwork.

So, what did the now ex-employee do with that time? Did she quietly pack up her stuff and say goodbye to her colleagues?

Unfortunately not.  Instead, she logged onto her system and started to delete files and emails.  The company was in the medical space and not having these files could have compliance implications.

Luckily, someone noticed and notified their manager, who removed the ex-employee from her desk and arranged for her network access to be revoked.  

I guess that person will not be getting a reference anytime soon.

So, what could they do to recover the data?

After a bit of head scratching, someone pointed out that they had recently signed up for a StorTrust backup and DR contract with Abtech.

They called us up and asked if we could help.

StorTrust uses Quest Rapid Recovery software at its core, which has powerful recovery capabilities.  It can be used to recover complete servers but also individual files and emails.  

Our engineer logged on and reviewed the logs.  They found where the files had been deleted and recover them from a recent backup.  

The whole process took less than 10 minutes.  All the data and emails were recovered to their original location.  

The first thing to learn from this is that, when you let go an employee, they can sometimes do irrational things.  So, have everything prepared, including instructions to cancel their network login, before you have that “we are having to let you go” conversation.

What this also shows is the value of having the right backup and recovery solution in place.  StorTrust and Rapid Recovery provide the protection against this and many other scenarios.  These include ransomware attacks and hardware failures as well as the more obvious natural disasters.

If you want to know more, please give us a call or download our ebooks on Disaster Planning and How to Deal with a Ransomware Attack

 

An employee opens an email virus. Read what happens & see a timeline of events [Infographic]

Curious how a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) service can be really helpful? Here's a real-life example: 

One of our managed services customers recently experienced a ransomware attack. A member of staff was sent an email with a virus attached to it. This is a widely used piece of ransomware, which encrypts the files on the computer it infects and any directories on other systems it has access to.

The email looked genuine and was addressed personally to that staff member by name, so he opened it. Immediately his system was encrypted. The virus also encrypted the company file server so none of the users could access their data. Everything ground to a halt.

Shortly after a ransom request arrived in the user’s inbox asking for a sizeable amount to be paid in bitcoins. The CEO and CFO were alerted and, after a short period of mild panic and discussion, they called Abtech for advice.

Fortunately, they were signed up to our StorTrust Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) services. The service uses Quest Rapid Recovery software that is configured to take snapshots of their systems every 30 minutes (it can take Snapshots every 5 minutes, but this customer preferred every 30). The data is then replicated to our StorTrust cloud data center in Nevada, for disaster recovery purposes.

The StorTrust engineer checked the logs and found that the last good backup happened 5 minutes before the ransomware attack. This meant that we would be able to recover the data to a clean file server and the client would only lose 5 minutes’ worth of data.

The client agreed and we restored their infected server from a clean backup. The user’s system was also reimaged and data restored from the backup. The whole process took less than an hour and no ransom was paid.

If the infection had been more widespread, we would have elected to spin up their critical systems in our cloud, using the replicated good backup, so their users could continue working, while we cleaned and restored all their infected systems.

If you want to know more, please give us a call or download our ebooks on Disaster Planning and How to Deal with a Ransomware Attack

 

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Archive, Backup, and Disaster Recovery

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Backing up, archiving, and preparing for disaster recovery are obviously related. They overlap, but each one names a different purpose. Doing a good job at one of them doesn't mean they're all covered. Let's consider what each one involves.

Backup

The purpose of a backup is to restore files that are lost or damaged. Recovery needs may range from a single file to an entire drive. A backup volume can be local or remote. It can be quick to access for getting back single files, or intended mostly for bulk recovery. Its focus isn't long-term storage, though durability is a good quality.

Versioned backups provide extra safety. A file can be corrupted, without being noticed, for a long time. If only the current version is backedup, and it's corrupted too, that's not useful. A backup that includes older versions gives a better chance of recovery.

Many approaches are possible:

  • An attached drive. Software does frequent incremental backups automatically. It's convenient, and it's always up to date. The disadvantage is that malware or physical damage to the computer might affect the backup drive as well.

  • A shared storage system. Network attached storage (NAS) provides a large amount of backup space and keeps everyone's backups together. It simplifies backup management if there are a large number of users.

  • Tape backup. Tape is good for high-volume storage and allows saving multiple backups. It's good for recovering crashed drives, but not very convenient for restoring single files.

  • Offsite backup. Cloud storage is safer than any local backup from events that affect a whole office. It needs a fast enough Internet connection.

It's best to combine onsite and offsite backup. If one method fails, the other will usually keep working.

Archive

Long-term archival storage involves a different set of goals. It has several important criteria:

  • Selection. Not every file needs to go into an archive. Figuring out which ones are needed can be a complicated task. It's necessary to take business goals and regulatory requirements into account.

  • Durability. Unlike a backup, an archive needs to be kept intact for a long time, usually years. It needs to have its own backup. Storage media will eventually go bad, and old file formats may become difficult to process, so it can require periodic migration to new media and storage formats.

  • Identification. The information in an archive needs to make sense years after it's created. It needs to be well-organized, and it has to include enough metadata to reconstruct its context and purpose.

Maintaining an archive is a more complex task than keeping data backed up.

Disaster Recovery

Backup is a part of disaster recovery preparation, but it's not the whole story. If a catastrophic event takes out your business systems, you need a way of getting up and running again as quickly as possible. Being confident of that requires a recovery plan.

When disaster strikes, it's necessary to bring up an alternate system. Speed is essential; every minute that a company's systems are down means lost productivity and income. If systems are down too long, it affects the confidence of customers and partners. Bringing new machines onto the premises might not be feasible if the damage is severe, and getting them running is time-consuming.

The systems not only need to come back quickly, but with little or no data loss. If the recovery system has to roll back to the previous day's records, it will take a lot of work to bring them up to date. The backup needs to be ongoing to avoid losing business data.

Cloud-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) lets your business operate with confidence that if serious damage happens, downtime will be short and data won't be lost. StorTrust gives you the highest confidence that your data is always backed up and that you're prepared for any disaster that may come.

Whatever your backup, archiving, and DR needs are, Abtech is ready to meet them.

Preparing For Disaster in the Workplace

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When you're in the workplace, one of the keys to having a successful business, is planning ahead at all times. For example, not only do you need to have a business goal for your company, but contingency plans are important as well. Nothing is ever set in stone, so you might need to make adjustments to your end plan. For example, what if your sales goal didn't end up as expected? This is why you should always be prepared.

With that said, while many companies do prepare for these unexpected events, they often don't take disasters into consideration. Planning for unexpected disasters, such as a power failure, is crucial for keeping your business safe, among other things. Speaking of which, how should businesses prepare for these incidents? After all, each disaster in the workplace can't be dealt with in the same way, and some require more drastic measures. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

#1. Educate Your Employees

It's one thing if you're prepared for disaster, but what about your employees? It's essential to remember that teamwork plays a key role in all this. What someone else does in the workplace, could have a major impact on the entire company, for better or worse. As an example, let's say you were familiar with the dangers of ransomware, and how to avoid it. Your employees, on the other hand, weren't knowledgeable. You had better teach them the basics, or they might end up making a careless mistake. Preparing for disaster isn't just about you, everyone in the business needs to know their part as well.

#2. Plan For Each Disaster

Initially, this might seem like a lot of work, but that's not necessarily the case. You don't need to create a plan for every disaster, but you should know how to handle each incident. As I had mentioned earlier, each disaster in the workplace can't be handled in the same way. As an example, let's make a comparison between a power failure and a natural disaster. For the former, all you'd have to do is make sure your info is backed up on a regular basis, particularly via cloud computing. A method that allows you to store your information virtually, even the most severe incidents would have no impact on your data. For the latter, however, it's a different case. Considering natural disasters could have an impact on your building, you need to have a plan that goes beyond storing your data. If there's a hurricane, are you moving your equipment to higher ground? Do you have another building to transfer your data to? These are some things to keep in mind.

#3. Cloud Computing

Of all the ways to prepare for disaster, cloud computing is easily the most effective. As I had mentioned before, this method allows you to store all data virtually, and it becomes accessible on any device with Internet connection. Whether you fall victim to ransomware, or end up spilling coffee on your keyboard, these disasters will have no effect on your virtually accessed info. Even more so, use cloud computing is also an exercise in keeping your data backed up on a regular basis. Many businesses are too laid back about their files, keeping everything on their desktop, and sometimes even backing everything up at the last-minute. Cloud computing is a smart decision, because it allows you to focus on other aspects of your business, without always having to worry about worst case scenarios.

For more information about preparing for disaster in the workplace, as well as the importance of disaster recovery as a service, feel free to contact us today at Abtech Technologies. We offer a range of security products that not only protect your sensitive information, but also assess compliance and overall security of your network. We look forward to hearing from you, and assisting you in the best way possible.

Dell Strengthens Data Protection Portfolio with New Backup and Recovery Capabilities Spanning Client to Cloud

  • Dell Data Protection | Rapid Recovery now generally available, leverages technology built for the cloud era for instant recovery of business critical systems, applications and data

  • New data deduplication appliance models deliver higher capacity, speed and performance

  • New free endpoint recovery solution offers simple, effective protection for Windows clients

February 25, 2016 09:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

ROUND ROCK, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dell today announced a series of new data protection solutions to help organizations better protect business-critical systems, applications, and data – either on premises or in the cloud. Offerings include: the general availability of Dell Data Protection | Rapid Recovery; three new data deduplication appliances models; new Dell Data Protection | Endpoint Recovery – Free Edition; and the new Dell Data Protection | NetVault Backup 11. These updates to the data protection product portfolio reinforce Dell’s commitment to driving innovation and giving customers the choice and flexibility they need to quickly address evolving backup and recovery needs as they move data and applications to the cloud.

Instant recovery for the cloud era with Dell Data Protection | Rapid Recovery, now available

Generally available today, Dell Data Protection | Rapid Recovery integrates proven and familiar features of AppAssure and other leading Dell IP to help eliminate downtime for customer environments. Customers can attain ZeroImpact recovery of systems, applications and data across physical, virtual and cloud environments. Rapid Snap for Applications technology takes snapshots of entire physical or virtual environments up to every five minutes. This gives users immediate access to data in the event of an incident and the power to restore in real time as if nothing ever happened. In addition, Rapid Snap for Virtual technology offers agentless protection of VMware VMs.

Backup more and store less with new DR series deduplication appliances

New releases to the award-winning Dell DR series of deduplication appliances include the new Dell DR4300e, DR4300 and DR6300. The new Dell DR appliances deliver increased capacity, speed and performance, enabling customers to backup more data and store less. Dell DR appliances leverage the industry’s first, free source-side deduplication capabilities to relieve network bandwidth congestion and boost ingest performance, ensuring that backups get completed on time, every time.

An ideal fit for mid-market organizations, the DR4300 delivers up to 108TB of usable capacity while ingesting up to 23TB of data per hour. The entry-level DR4300e is a smaller scale, low-cost appliance that can scale up to 27TB while offering all the features of the DR Series. With these offerings, small and mid-market organizations can now easily adopt enterprise-grade data deduplication capabilities that have traditionally been out of reach.
The DR63000 is a larger midmarket and small enterprise solution that delivers up to 360TB of usable capacity while ingesting up to 29TB of data per hour, delivering the scalability needed to support growing environments.

Built on the latest 13th generation Dell PowerEdge servers, Dell DR appliances support 16 of the industry’s leading backup applications and can easily be added to an existing data protection environment. Combining deduplication ratios from 15:1 up to 30:1 with a flexible, all-inclusive licensing model, Dell DR appliances deliver better performance at a lower cost than competing offerings.

Freemium protection and recovery for Windows clients

To help companies protect the growing volumes of data created by endpoint devices, Dell Data Protection | Endpoint Recovery – Free Edition will be available in a light-weight, easy-to-use software offering that gives customers a robust endpoint protection and recovery solution for Windows clients. A no-cost, set-and-forget client protection solution designed for a single user, the freemium offering provides file deduplication and compression to reduce storage costs and enables fast recovery of lost data.

Increase scalability and performance with Dell Data Protection | NetVault Backup v11

Dell NetVault Backup is a cross-platform, enterprise backup and recovery solution that offers one of the broadest spectrums of OS, application, and backup target support in the industry. Version 11 delivers the increased scalability and improved performance needed to simplify backup in even the most diverse and rapidly growing IT environments.

New features of Dell Data Protection | NetVault Backup 11 include:

Enterprise Windows client deployment manager that allows customers to target up to 1,000 clients for automated installation, increasing both efficiency and scalability.
High-performance file system multi-streaming capability that allows customers to break up backups into smaller, simultaneously executed chunks to increase performance.
Restartable VMware backups so users pick up where a job left off.

Strengthening a powerhouse portfolio

Dell Data Protection solutions deliver an unmatched depth and breadth of capabilities to help customers instantly restore the critical systems, data, and applications that power their businesses, even before the business knows they are down. More than 70,000 customers worldwide use Dell Data Protection solutions to protect everything from laptops, desktops, and tablets, to physical and virtual servers, to public and private cloud environments. All Dell Data Protection solutions are developed with a mid-market design point and are scalable, easy to use, and cost-effective. This allows organizations to spend less time worrying about whether their apps and data will be available, and more time focused on using them to innovate and transform the business.

Availability:

Dell Data Protection | Rapid Recovery is available now worldwide starting at $1,199 for new users. A free upgrade for current AppAssure license holders is also available.
The Dell DR 4300e, DR 4300 and DR6300 are available now worldwide. Pricing starts at $13,000 for the DR4300e, $43,000 for the DR4300, and $87,000 for the DR6300.
Dell Data Protection | Endpoint Recovery – Free Edition will be available worldwide beginning in early March.
Dell NetVault Backup 11 is available now worldwide starting as low as $1,265.

Supporting Quote:

Brett Roscoe, vice president, product management, Dell Systems and Information Management

“With the next generation of Data Protection solutions, Dell is committed to helping companies gain control of their IT environments, and protecting the applications and data that flows across the organization both on premises and in the cloud. These significant enhancements to the Dell Data Protection portfolio help organizations utilize the opportunities of cloud and build a future-ready infrastructure by ensuring they have instant access to systems, applications and data that run their businesses. From clients all the way to the cloud, Dell Data Protection solutions deliver a combination of performance, price and flexibility that no other vendor can match.”

Nigel Wright, vice president sales, enterprise solutions, Abtech Technologies

“As a channel partner in the cloud era, Abtech is committed to helping our customers deploy a data protection strategy that’s not only custom-built to the specific and constantly changing needs of their businesses, but also delivers protection that is scalable for future growth. The Dell data protection portfolio solutions enable us to do just that. Whether our customers are looking for instant recovery of critical systems and applications, protection for the growing wave of endpoint devices, or deduplication to control data growth and reduce storage needs, Dell has the solutions and the flexibility we need to find the best fit for our customers each and every time.”

Jason Buffington, principle analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group

"Organizations of all sizes continue to look for better ways to protect their data and ensure the recoverability of their IT systems. This is especially true of midmarket companies, whose businesses are growing and infrastructures are evolving in real time as they move data and apps to the cloud. The Dell Data Protection portfolio of deduplication appliances and backup software solutions, including its newest release of new Dell Data Protection | Rapid Recovery, is designed to give their customers flexible options in order to meet the agility and efficiency needs that all businesses have.”

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