Three things to consider when designing an effective disaster recovery plan

1. Compatibility

An effective disaster recovery plan includes a flexible solution that can meet your needs. Can it protect any OS and device? Can you store your data in any cloud? Can it be deployed as physical or virtual? These are some of the questions you want to ask in order to plan your DR strategy properly. Making sure that you find a solution compatible with your environment is a critical component.

2. Complexity

Simple is key. Push-button failover should mean exactly that – so your disaster recovery planning should allow you to failover to a second site in minutes or seconds (not hours or days). No additional IT resources needed! When considering the complexity of a solution, the built-in orchestration is one of the key differentiators in DR solution providers. Effective disaster recovery planning includes failback, and it’s important to understand exactly how the solution plans to failover your applications, and then failback, in addition to how much customisation and control you have in the whole orchestration process.

3. Cost

Look for a solution that is truly as-a-service, with no add-on charges or professional service fees. When keeping costs in mind, remember that no additional secondary site means no additional hardware costs. Planning your DR strategy with a provider who can give you a low, monthly subscription service means that everything is included — support, maintenance, unlimited testing, and hardware upgrades to name a few. A service solution provides the benefit of a single monthly subscription payment, without the unnecessary add-on fees.

Disaster recovery planning doesn’t need to make your head spin. Keep these three considerations in mind as you go about your strategy and implementation. Infrascale, minimise the risk of downtime at a price that will make your CFO smile, allowing IT to stop buying and managing disparate hardware and software to solve their DR needs. An administrative dashboard, accessible from any browser or device, makes it easy to recover mission-critical applications and systems with push-button simplicity.

Gartner named Infrascale the 2015 Cool Vendor in Business continuity and disaster recovery, a 2016 Visionary in Disaster recovery as a service, and a Leader in the 2017 Magic Quadrant for DRaaS. Want to see for yourself?

Nutanix & Infrascale Disaster Recovery

Companies need a quick, affordable and easy way to recover mission-critical operations in a blink of an eye.

The threats to your organisation’s uptime are numerous and growing, from routine server crashes to site-wide ransomware attacks. Given the escalating cost of downtime – often measured in tens of thousands of dollars every day — the value of Infrascale Disaster Recovery is undeniable.

Infrascale Disaster Recovery can also play a larger role when combined with Nutanix. It can be used as a vehicle to instantly migrate your workloads “as-is” from your existing hardware to Nutanix. Infrascale reduces migration costs and accelerates your move to Nutanix – shortening the payback period and increasing the ROI of your Nutanix investment.

Key DRaaS features that are included with the Nutanix integration –

Protected Systems

Drag and Drop Orchestration
Unlimited DR Testing

 

Failover Guarentee

Built-In Networking Configuration

Radical Transparency


For sales enquiries contact 01691 663000 or email sales@vcwsecurity.com

See a demo of Infrascale DRaaS working on the ConnectWise platform

Users of the ConnectWise ticketing support software can now see Infrascale’s Cloud backup and Disaster Recovery system alerts in action on a demo of the platform.

Learn how to improve MSP efficiency, reduce costs, and increase the total addressable BDR market.

See in real terms how –

  • System alerts can be automatically added
  • Client data is incorporated to facilitate the invoicing/billing process
  • Appliance inventory & reporting is available for asset tracking and usage

“With these new integrations, Infrascale has removed the error-prone and time-consuming process of entering information manually into ConnectWise saving our partners time and money by managing their customers through a single, user-friendly portal”

Chris Sterbenc, Channel Chief at Infrascale


For more information contact 01691 663000 or email sales@vcwsecurity.com

ConnectWise partners benefit from Infrascale Integration for DRaaS

A new partnership between software provider ConnectWise and award-winning Disaster Recovery As a Service provider Infrascale allows MSP’s and IT resellers to streamline business operations and reduce operating costs by managing their clients through a single, user-friendly portal.

Infrascale’s ConnectWise integration delivers best-of-breed ticketing support, guaranteed system failover, and a simple monthly subscription model that aligns with your own recurring revenue model.

Key benefits include –
  • Support ticket integration
  • Billing event integration
  • Inventory integration
  • Reporting and dashboard

Cloud backup and Disaster Recovery system alerts can be automatically added to the ConnectWise ticketing support software. Client data can be easily incorporated to facilitate the invoicing/billing process and the appliance inventory and reporting associated with a client’s BDR accounts are available for asset tracking and usage.

The Infrascale integration with ConnectWise Manager is available immediately, to see a demo click here


For more information contact 01691 663000 or email sales@vcwsecurity.com

Top 10 Ways to Assess the Risk of Data Loss

Employees across all ranks in your customers’ organisations have encountered, and possibly embraced, free file sharing.

The risk to their firms could be great, depending on how these tools are used and which departments are using them. This guide will help you evaluate whether or not your customers are addicted to free file sharing applications and if they’re leaving their company’s data exposed.


For more information contact 01691 663000 or email sales@vcwsecurity.com

Top 5 Ways to Protect Against Ransomware

You’ve seen the headlines – when it comes to ransomware strains like Locky, Wannacry, and Petya, we’re all at risk.

What’s more, with the growing ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) trend, cybercrime is now at an all-time high and accessible to nearly anyone.

Since the introduction of RaaS, negotiating with hackers is now a business in and of itself. We see websites offering up the latest advice to hackers, ransomware customer service lines, and FAQ available to help victims make Bitcoin payments.

So, why do organisations pay the ransom anyway? Well, in many cases, an organisation’s systems were never backed up properly, or the backups were too old. In others, the recovery attempts failed – maybe there was no DR testing, leaving no usable backups from which to recover. Often the amount of time it takes to recover is far more costly — in terms of downtime — than paying the ransom fee itself. In other words, the process is simply broken.

What’s critical to understand is how ransomware gets into your organisation, and more importantly, how you can protect your business from current and future threats of ransomware.

1. Best Practices for Ransomware Prevention

First and foremost, to protect against ransomware, start by doing what you can from a prevention standpoint.

  • Make sure servers and firewalls are all patched.
  • Update your anti-virus software with latest signatures.
  • Train users to recognise suspicious emails and attachments, and to identify nefarious websites.
  • While this may sound like old news, it’s a critical component to ensuring that you have a proper disaster recovery prevention plan in place.
2. Update Your Backup Process

Long gone are the days where overnight backups every 24 hours is sufficient for proper data protection. A quick and easy fix? Increase your backup frequency. In order to minimise downtime associated with an outage, you should be backing up in 15 minute increments. Your solution should be able to set policies on those backups alert the administrator to any errors.

Also, to protect against ransomware, data should be safely stored both on-premise and off-site. In addition, you want to ensure that you protect all of the servers in your environment, whether they be physical or virtual, with the same level of security. You may instinctively focus on mission-critical applications like Microsoft SQL, Exchange, and your financial systems, but don’t overlook those file servers that are also susceptible to attack.

3. Evaluate New Technology

The requirements mentioned above are now considered table stakes, and legacy backup systems simply just don’t cut it. Traditional backup applications will not be able to sufficiently address the capabilities needed for a modern data protection and ransomware solution, because they take too long to recover running systems. That’s where Disaster Recovery as a Service comes in, better known as DRaaS. DRaaS replicates and protects your entire environment and let’s you quickly failover your systems – not just files and folders – to ensure uptime and availability when something goes wrong like in a ransomware attack.

When considering new technologies to protect against ransomware, take into account that there are many different ways to define a DRaaS solution. Ensure that you’re comfortable with how you will be able to backup and recover critical systems and data, as well as the flexibility in backup targets and recovery options. Ensure that your chosen solutions also addresses compliance mandates, as needed.

4. Early Detection Capability

In a ransomware attack, time is your worst enemy. By the time encryption hits, you could have thousands of files encrypted in mere seconds. What’s worse, if you wait for your end users to identify that encryption is spreading via a ransomware attack, you’re going to have a much larger problem on your hands. The longer it takes to detect an issue, the more files are getting encrypted!

Ransomware can spread like wildfire, but early detection capabilities are available. IT needs a solution that will measure high change rates in files, thus using the way ransomware works — against it. Ransomware opens files and changes files in the system. Protect against ransomware by utilising a solution that can identify a high change rate of modified files on a per-user basis.

If you’re using the 15-minute backup frequency we recommend, you can prevent most of the damage of the attack by simply having this proactive alerting system in place.

5. Lightning Fast Failover

If you are infected with ransomware and have to recover your data and systems, an important concern is to ensure the recovery process is faster and easier than paying the ransom. There could be hundreds of thousands of files infected, and you need to recover them quickly. Your best bet will be recovering the full server, rather than individual files.

Failover technology will give you the ability to boot and run from a backup. But, not all failover solutions are created equal. Only certain solutions give you the ability to boot from the backup and run either on-premise or in the cloud.

With the Infrascale Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) solution you can simultaneously cloud boot multiple versions of the same machine to determine the safe version to recover, and boot either to the cloud, a virtual environment, or recover to production hardware. The total downtime is about 1-2 minutes, saving a lot of time and money. The Infrascale DRaaS solution also includes built-in failover orchestration that lets you create predetermined failover plans, which can be scheduled to boot simultaneously or in a specific order.

No matter what DR solution you choose, it’s so important to understand exactly how the solution plans to failover your applications, and then failback, in addition to how much customisation and control you have in the whole orchestration process.

With these 5 recommendations in place, you’re closer to staying protected against the current threats of ransomware. There’s no telling what ransomware attacks will look like in 2018, but we know that ransomware will continue to get more sophisticated, more intelligent, and more harmful as time goes on. You can’t completely prevent ransomware, but you can keep yourself educated and up-to-date on the most recent technology solutions available. Also, look to the experts to vet and validate what you learn when it comes to ransomware protection.

The Infrascale approach is getting a lot of attention, from leading analyst firms like Gartner and others. Gartner named us the 2015 Cool Vendor in Business continuity and disaster recovery, a 2016 Visionary in Disaster recovery as a service, and a Leader in the 2017 Magic Quadrant for DRaaS. Want to see for yourself?


For more information contact 01691 663000 or email sales@vcwsecurity.com

A tale of two Ransomware Victims

Read about the experiences of two companies, a retailer and a manufacturer that were infected by a ransomware attack and how the outcomes were vastly different because of the underlying infrastructure and safeguards that were in place.

two ransomware victims


For more information contact 01691 663000 or email sales@vcwsecurity.com

Need to avoid downtime when disaster strikes?

Avoid downtime when disaster strikes, hardware fails, or ransomware infects your systems.

Infrascale Disaster Recovery lets you instantly recover your data & systems by spinning up virtual machine replicas either locally or in the cloud.

  • Reduce your DR costs – no additional secondary site, hardware, software or bandwidth, lower TCO than competitors, protect large data sets on a small appliance
  • Push button failover – failover to a second site from seconds to minutes, locally and from the Cloud
  • Flexible to meet all needs – deploy as a physical or virtual server, protect any OS and Device, store in any Cloud
  • Increase data security
  • Manage everything through one pane of glass

disaster strikes

 


For more information contact 01691 663000 or email sales@vcwsecurity.com

Infrascale Webinar – How MSP’s can capitalise on the DRaaS market

Join our webinar on Tuesday 5th September 2017 at 11am BST, to see why Infrascale were recently recognised as a LEADER in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for DRaaS, one of the fastest growing sectors in the cloud market.

Gartner estimate that by 2018 more organisations will be choosing DRaaS solutions over traditional recovery services. For the first time ever Infrascale have made on-demand failure affordable for mid-sized businesses.

On this webinar you will learn:

  • How to unlock the potential value of the DRaaS market
  • How partners can compete and win new business
  • The completeness of Infrascale DRaaS
  • Understanding your clients needs and expectations

For more information contact 01691 663000 or email sales@vcwsecurity.com

What’s a Better Defence against Ransomware: Cloud Backup or DRaaS?

Ransomware is reaching pandemic proportions. According to a recent study*, more than 40% of businesses have experienced a ransomware attack in the last year.

Of these victims, more than a third lost revenue and 20% had to stop business completely. Unfortunately, the news continues to go from bad to worse. Ransomware developers are now going after the crown jewels of many organisations – their production databases. This can threaten an organisation on a number of levels. The business costs fall into a few categories and they typically far outweigh the cost of the actual ransom, including:

  • Productivity loss
  • Lost revenue (via e-commerce transactions)
  • Operational costs and lost data (lost time clock entries, supply chain updates, and customer notifications)
  • Potentially lost customers and lost credibility (i.e., brand damage)
  • IT opportunity costs (impact of having your IT staff drop everything to address the infection)

In this whitepaper, we walk through the steps that a System Administrator would have to take to recover a database if it gets infected by ransomware and also outlines the steps taken and the approximate time required to recover your production database from a recent backup, contrasting that experience with the recovery process if a DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) solution was in place.


For more information contact 01691 663000 or email sales@vcwsecurity.com

* MalwareBytes ransomware study surveying 540 CIOs, CIS0s and IT Directors from companies with an average of 5,400 staff across the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Germany (August 2016)

Infrascale Webinar – Take your Technical Services to the next level

If monthly reports for your customers focus on tickets closed, problems avoided and the like, you’re defining your value by tactical services anyone can do. Making you replaceable.

Join our webinar on Thursday 31st August 2017 at 11am BST to hear how Infrascale has seen success moving to strategic IT services and how you can do the same, starting with ransomware protection services.


For more information contact 01691 663000 or email sales@vcwsecurity.com

Top 6 Ransomware Defense Strategies

Ransomware is the costliest cyber threat your organisation faces today and the global losses due to ransomware run into hundreds of millions of pounds.

Thousands of new malware variants are being reported each year and cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated each day.

Here are 6 strategies that will lower your risk profile and help you defend your company’s data and business.


For more information contact 01691 663000 or email sales@vcwsecurity.com

Enterprise Ransomware Survival Guide

The Ultimate Playbook to Keep Your Data Safe. Defeat Ransomware

Learn how to contain ransomware infections in five steps and modern best practices so your customers never pay a ransom, with cloud disaster recovery.


For more information contact 01691 663000 or email sales@vcwsecurity.com

What should you do if you are infected with ransomware?

How can you begin to mitigate the damage and limit the downtime right now—as soon as the first ransomware symptom rears its ugly head? How do you avoid paying the ransom? What do you do after the attack to restore your data and mission-critical systems?

Deploy the Microsoft Security Update Immediately
In March, Microsoft released a security update which addresses the vulnerability that was exploited by the WannaCry ransomware. Those who have Windows Update enabled are protected against attacks on this vulnerability. For those organisations who have not yet applied the security update, download Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010 immediately.

 

Set the BIOS Clock Back
Resetting the BIOS clock back to a time before the ransom expiration window might help delay the expiration deadline. But the programmers are getting smarter, so this tactic may only work with certain strains of ransomware.

 

Patching and Plug-ins
Keeping applications like Adobe Reader, Java, and other plugins up to date greatly reduces security vulnerabilities that may bypass your antimalware defenses. Ad and pop-up blockers also greatly reduce user error, stopping users from inadvertently clicking fake dialogs that download ransomware.

 

Download Latest AV/AS Signature
Even though you’ve just been infected by ransomware, it’s still a best practice to update your antivirus software to ensure you don’t get re-infected down the road. To maintain the highest level of protection, configure your antivirus software to check for updates as often as it will allow. Keeping the signatures up to date doesn’t guarantee a new virus will never slip through, but it does make it far less likely.

 

Educate your Employees
It takes one bad decision by a user to unleash the spread of a costly ransomware attack. Ransomware is often let in through a phishing email. Prevention isn’t possible 100% of the time, but in many cases attacks can be stopped if users are educated about what to look for. If attacked, ensure that all employees are aware that a ransomware attack is in process and direct them to the procedures needed to protect their data and provide a time frame for restoration of affected systems.

 

 

Use System Restore & Decryption Tools
If system restore was enabled on your windows machine, you should attempt to restore to a known clean state. Also, see if your anti-virus solution offers free decryption tools that can help decrypt files.

 

Identify a Safe Point In Time
Determine the point in time when ransomware infected your data, and restore the most recent files/VMs from a clean backup. Determining the date of infection and restoring clean copies of infected files with traditional backup solutions is cumbersome and time consuming; with disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), this entire process is far easier and faster.

 

Test Boot Your Virtual Machines (VMs)
It’s quite possible your backups and VMs may have also been corrupted during the attack. With DRaaS, admins can more quickly browse a disk image to quickly determine if the files contained in the image have been encrypted. Generally speaking, if the VM boots up, you have a clean ransomware-free image; if it doesn’t, the VM is probably infected

 

Restore Infected Systems
If a production database or mission-critical application has been infected, leverage a DRaaS solution to spin up an image or virtual machine in minutes — ensuring your users stay productive.

 

Failback Workloads & Breathe
If you’re using a DRaaS solution, the failback process is critical. You must consider how to move data back to production as quickly as possible. During the actual failback, data is re-synchronized — halting I/O and application activity once again — before operations are restored to the original location.

FINAL NOTE:

It pays to keep up with ransomware developments. Some ransomware strains have been cracked, but these are limited successes.

Ransomware, like all malware, will continue to evolve. The more informed you are, the better equipped you are to protect your data and systems. A comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solution is your number one defense against ransomware. Be sure to practice restore processes and know that your actual data can easily be retrieved.


For more information contact 01691 663000 or email sales@vcwsecurity.com

Infrascale Advisory Notification – How to recover in the event of a ransomware attack

Following the extraordinary events of last week, VCW Security & Infrascale have prepared an advisory notification to assist partners who need a complete explanation of the scale and impact of the Ransomware attack enabling them to offer a tangible solution to their customers.

Focusing on how customers can defend themselves from having to pay the Ransomware demand. Users can do this via ‘Fail-Over’ to a virtualised Backup system, either locally or in the Infrascale Cloud, returning to operational capability within 15 minutes.

The notification covers the following:

  • The nature of the malware attack
  • How it was discovered/background information
  • Its potential impact
  • How to defend yourself
  • The need for a backup & recovery system

To read the notification in full Click here. In order to assist you further we are holding a series of Live Webinars to show how Infrascale works, with Live Fail-Over sequences that illustrate how a customer could execute a recovery in the event of an attack starting Friday May 19th at 3pm.

For more information contact 01691 663000 or email sales@vcwsecurity.com