Category

2020

backup is part of an integrated approach

Backup is dead. Long live backup.

By 2020

2020 10 21 If you haven’t been paying attention, traditional backup is dead. But for Acronis, backup continues, even better, as a critical part of cyber protection: a new, integrated, automated, modern approach to protecting businesses and people from cyber threats. This was the clear message from Acronis’s CEO and founder, Serguei “SB” Beloussov, during his keynote that opened the 2020 Global Cyber Summit.

Long live backup

In fact, SB announced that Acronis will discontinue backup as a separate product. It is not enough to do backup only because today backup needs to be proactive, and integrated with disaster recovery, archiving, and the rest of your tools to cope with today’s very large number of workloads. For Acronis, backup is now a feature of cyber protection and will continue to improve as the company invests in making data and workloads safe and accessible. Indeed, Acronis supports 26 workloads now, and plans to launch an additional 100+ by 2022.

Integration

This integration of backup into the Cyber Protect service forms part of an overarching integration strategy from Acronis that is a response to the inefficient and ineffective legacy patchwork of solutions that companies have had to use to protect themselves. Big companies are using between 50 and 100+ different cybersecurity tools, according to Enterprise Strategy Group research. Smaller companies, and their MSPs, can easily be using more than a dozen security solutions, said SB.

Cyber protection needs to be about more than safety and security. It includes accessibility, privacy and authenticity which together form a comprehensive approach to cyber protection covering all attack vectors (read more about SAPAS here). It also goes beyond detection of and response to threats, but includes active prevention, recovery and subsequent forensic investigations.

In other words, an integrated approach is essential to protect against cyber threats. Integrated cyber protection addresses the complexity of digital workloads today, the cost to protect them, modern security requirements in the face of increasingly industrialised threats, today’s data privacy requirements and recognising that IT and cyber protection is a basic human need. Acronis calls this cyber singularity.

Good to know: Soon it is going to be possible for distributors and partners to have a unified view of both Classic and Cloud licenses.

Complete automation

In addition to the automated threat detection and recovery built into the integrated Cyber Protect service, Acronis looks at automation through the lens of supporting MSPs to scale their businesses. It calls this complete automation, which it has modelled on the scalability of the hosting industry:

  1. Delegation: multi-tier and multi-tenant solutions that can support all business models
  2. Mass management: to handle increasingly large customer workloads
  3. Automation: to allow services providers to do more with the same number of people
  4. Cost management: thanks to an integrated service with one agent, console, UI license and vendor
  5. Integration: customisation, integration and extension of cyber protection

Our takeaways from the keynote:

  1. The only way to protect your data, applications and systems is with integrated and automated cyber protection, and today, the only solution that does this is Acronis Cyber Protect.
  2. SB’s formula for end-users: cyber protection not data protection is the only way to make your IT work. Having this delivered by service providers is the best way to run your IT operation. Relying only on internal IT often won’t scale, especially if you are supporting a variety of workloads at the edge and on endpoints.

Watch the full keynote here, and look out for Acronis’s Vice President of Cyber Protect, Candid Wüest, stopping a WastedLocker attack during a Cyber Protect demo.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 21 October 2020

cyberthreats

Do we need to rethink cybersecurity?

By 2020

2020-10-14

By Peter French, Synapsys Managing Director

Two takeaways from the 2020 Acronis Cyber Readiness Report have left me scratching my head. First, 32% of companies reported that they haven’t been targeted by cyber attacks in the past three months. Compare that with the 9% of companies reporting hourly attacks, and 22% reporting daily attacks. Now consider that encountering an attack doesn’t mean the attack succeeded and, indeed, you can only block an attack if you know it’s there.

Personally, I’d rather do business with the companies that know they’re being attacked and are doing something about it than the three in 10 that think they’ve never been targeted. Not only have they almost certainly been targeted, but because they are unaware of this, criminals are lurking on their systems with impunity, learning and biding their time for maximum damage and/or profit.

The second takeaway from the report that caught my eye was that, according to Acronis Cyber Protection Operations Centre (CPOC) experts, corporate security policies and tools are still based on compliance rather than actual business or market needs. Take phishing, for example. Despite the increased sophistication and accessibility of cyber attack tools (ransomware as a service is available for as little as $100, and at $10 million per ransom, that’s not a bad ROI), phishing is still one of the most common tactics used by cyber criminals either as an end in its own right, or as a gateway to a more sophisticated attack.

And yet, as the report points out, there is no industry response to phishing. Even something as simple as a “Report this e-mail as phishing” link at the bottom of an e-mail, or blocking links from unverified senders, is not yet common practice.

Are we getting better at cybersecurity?

While this paints a fairly gloomy picture of the state of cybersecurity around the world –and according to Acronis, South Africa reports twice as many malware attacks as the global average – I don’t think it’s a case of us not getting better at preventing attacks. Consider how fast attacks have transformed and become more sophisticated since the days when a single corporate firewall was enough to protect your organisation. Today, those rows of stationary, wired-in desktop computers and mainframes have been replaced with smartphones, laptops, tablets and cloud computing, augmented by artificial intelligence, the Internet of things and all the other innovation that is driving digital transformation. On the one hand, we’re doing okay cybersecurity-wise.

But then also consider the dramatic rise in ransomware and other attacks this year and the fact that people are still the weakest link. It’s clear that more of the same is not going to be enough and that we need to do things differently.

This imperative is only going to increase as #workfromhome becomes #workfromanywhere, with employees bringing devices back onto corporate networks, and also expecting to work remotely. According to the Acronis report, South Africans are very much in favour of this, with higher percentages of respondents preferring an 80:20 remote vs office split, or a fully remote future.

How do we need to change our cybersecurity thinking?

One way is through the technology shift being driven by Acronis that combines data backup with cybersecurity. Of course I would say that, leading one of Acronis’s distributors in Africa, but the innovation really is elegant and almost obvious. Acronis’s cyber protection services reflect that today, these functions go hand-in-glove. Not only does Acronis Cyber Protect allow organisations to restore their valuable data quickly and completely in the event of a breach, but ensures the restored data is malware-free to avoid reinfecting the system.

Our partners have already seen this in action when other cybersecurity services have failed to stop an attack and restore the data. And with ransoms reported as being as much as $10 million, if you’re looking for a way to show ROI on your security spend, this is how.

A single pane of glass

The second aspect of Acronis Cyber Protect that moves the needle is the single, integrated pane of glass that allows security administrators to see at a glance the state of the devices and networks on their watch. This saves time and effort, but also the whole is worth more than the sum of the parts. A single system is able to make valuable connections between various metrics and trends to produce insights that disparate systems would need a lot of MacGyvering to even come close to.

This freed up time could, I’d suggest, be used by infosec teams to proactively enable their organisations, freeing them from the historical role of reactive enforcers.

Being human

Another paradigm we need to shift (and this is something I currently don’t have an answer for) is tackling the human element and education around cyber security. Despite the best efforts of training programs, humans are still the weakest link at work, at home, at their favourite coffee shop and the hot desking environment they choose to work from.

Humans are obviously humans, and are prone to mistakes especially when stressed, tired, under pressure or doing repetitive tasks. And while it’s obviously not up to infosec to fix the state of the workplace, this does point to a wider responsibility for cybersecurity in the organisation. Consider physical security: it’s up to everybody from the C-suite down to safeguard the office and each other and, say, not let unauthorised people onto the premises. Why should cybersecurity be any different?

I do think, just like the “report phishing” link at the bottom of an e-mail, there are human-centred interventions that we need instead of, or as well as, the traditional top down cybersecurity education. Interventions that don’t impede people’s workflow and efficiency, but build prevention, protection and awareness into everyday activities. So that, ultimately, cybersecurity truly does become as ingrained as something like road safety.

A last word

For cutting-edge insights, I highly recommend registering for next week’s Acronis Global Cyber Summit (virtual) – you’ll have access to hands-on interactive workshops, informative breakouts, inspiring keynotes, and the opportunity to meet some of the most successful MSP experts and cyber protection practitioners in the world.

This article was first published on ITWeb on 14 October 2020

virtual conferencing

When downtime’s not an option, you need to be proactive about security

By 2020

2020 10 07  It’s easy to get caught up in the impact of cybercrime on corporate and personal data. It’s data that ransomware hijacks, and it’s data that gets leaked. This focus is not surprising, given the exponential growth in data around the world, as well as its importance in our digital, knowledge economy.  “Data is the new oil” after all.

OT vs IT

That said, the second panel discussion during Acronis’s recent virtual conference was a stark reminder of the impact of cybercrime on operational technology (OT). OT deals with the machines that build our world, as opposed to information technology (IT), which deals with data. The panel was titled Manufacturing and Industry 4.0: Evolving from Reactive to Proactive defenses against Downtime and was moderated by Williams Racing CIO, Graeme Hackland. (We share the link to the recording at the end of this article.)

Typical cybersecurity paradigm not always appropriate for OT realities

Research from Aberdeen indicates an average hourly downtime cost for manufacturing across all industries as a whopping $260,000 per hour. And panellist, Mohammed Nabeel, senior solution architect, cybersecurity at Yokogawa Middle East & Africa, pointed out that, unlike in the IT world, planned downtime might need two to four years in preparation because it is such a disruptive event. Furthermore, as manufacturing is increasingly digitalised, with more machines needing network access and cloud capabilities, protecting OT from cybercrime is becoming increasingly complex.

Nabeel also graphically illustrated how the typical cybersecurity paradigm might be totally inappropriate for the manufacturing floor, where the first line of defence is often an evacuation. In one instance, during an ammonia leak, an employee who was trying to switch off the valve mistyped their password multiple times – understandable, given the physical conditions. But then the automated fallback security process was a retina scan – also very difficult, if not impossible, given the environment. And the employee wasn’t any closer to shutting off the valve and containing the leak.

OT security needs an integrated approach

As with IT security, there is no silver bullet solution for OT security, and an integrated approach powered by AI and automation is essential. However these solutions need to recognise the specific requirements of the OT space. For instance, availability is the number one priority in OT. Not to mention the restrictions and limitations of the physical environment, as in the example above, make implementing capabilities such as automation challenging.

Top tips from industry experts

The panellists also each offered their tips for evolving from reactive to proactive security:

Use AI as your watchdog to find incidents in the flood of data.” — Sascha Maier, head of IT and cyber resilience at IWC Schaffhausen.

“Manufacturing is traditionally well-prepared for the expected. Systemic learning from reaction will be necessary to prepare for the unknown.”  — David Fuhr, head of research at HiSolutions AG.

“Modern business continuity can only be achieved by integrated cyber protection solutions, not separate backup, cybersecurity and system management.” — Nick Grebennikoff, chief development officer at Acronis.

No single measure is sufficient to defend against cyberattacks due to progressive adoption of IoT, which demands more integrated networks. Lack of visibility is undermining the effectiveness of established defences.” — Mohammed Nabeel, senior solution architect, cybersecurity at Yokogawa Middle East & Africa.

This is just a snapshot of some of the insights shared during the virtual conference. You can watch the full recording here.

And hopefully this whets your appetite for the upcoming Acronis Global Cyber Summitread more and register here, now!

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 7 October 2020

virtual conferencing

Defeating cybercriminals in three moves: our top takeaways

By 2020

2020 09 23  On 18 September Acronis hosted a fascinating virtual conference to get a cross-industry view of the latest cyber protection trends, strategies and tools that leaders are tapping into today. We’ve shared the link to the recording below so you can watch the keynotes and panel discussions yourself. In this post though we dig into our top takeaways from the first panel discussion, moderated by Christelle Heikkila, IT director at Arsenal FC. The discussion covered how you can achieve better security, more automation and lower costs.

  1. The perimeter is dead

This comes as no surprise to anyone supporting a remote work scenario, but with the rise of cloud computing, additional devices, applications and data anywhere, the perimeter is dead and the new lines of defence are identity and data integrity. If identity is the new perimeter then data needs to be your focus: where it is, whether it is encrypted, and who is accessing it.

  1. The cloud is a critical security challenge

Thanks to the rapid uptick in cloud computing due to remote working, plus a shortage of cloud knowledge and experience in how to secure the data moving off-site, companies run the risk of exposing critical data due to basic errors. For instance, simple database misconfigurations could mean everyone can access valuable data.

  1. One layer of protection is not enough

As cybercrime gets more industrialised, sophisticated and complex, and attackers are encouraged by the profits to be made from ransomware payouts that run into tens of millions of dollars, defenders can no longer rely on one thing to protect them. Attacks could be set up over months and years using multiple points of entry to gather information and survey the landscape before launching a big attack slam dunk.

But the problem with adding multiple security layers is, in the words of Frank Dickson, IDC’s program vice president, cybersecurity products, “complexity is the enemy of security.” You can watch Frank’s keynote in the recording to find out more on this.

So it is essential that these additional security layers are integrated, efficient and automated.

  1. Fight fire with fire: attackers are using AI, ML and automation and so should you

One of the reasons attacks have become so sophisticated is that cybercriminals are deploying the latest technologies to develop their malware. This technology, particularly artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation, has to be key weapons in defenders’ arsenals too, to enable them to detect, defend against and respond to cyberattacks.

For example:

  • Cloud computing logs provide valuable information about who is accessing data. But the sheer number of the logs mean they are pretty worthless without using AI and ML to spot and flag any outlier behaviour.
  • Likewise it is not just enough to add additional alerts to the daily noise we’re all facing. Ideally security systems need to automatically act on any incidents in real time and then just let you know the incident has been resolved.
  1. Good IT is good IT security

IT operations and cybersecurity teams have sometimes worked at cross-purposes, but in today’s security landscape this is not feasible nor effective. Security is a shared responsibility and should be baked into overall systems and processes from the get-go. Ideally security and IT operations need to collaborate and work towards shared goals, with cybersecurity teams raising awareness of, educating about and advocating for security throughout. Further, there is an opportunity to shift the perception that cybersecurity teams are business preventers instead of being enablers.

This is just a snapshot of some of the insights shared during the virtual conference. You can watch the full recording here.

And hopefully this whets your appetite for the upcoming Acronis Global Cyber Summit next month – read more and register here, now!

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 23 September 2020

cyberthreats

Cyber attack winter: Almost 1 in 10 companies attacked every hour

By 2020

2020-09-16 As shocking as the statistics that 9% of companies around the world report experiencing a cyber attack every hour and 22% experience at least one a day, is that 32% of companies say they haven’t been targeted. This is according to the Acronis Cyber Readiness Report 2020. Given the rise in cyber attacks driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems highly likely that the latter group of companies simply aren’t aware they are in fact being attacked and that these attacks aren’t being stopped.

Even before the pandemic, cyber attacks were expected to rise this year given the increase in endpoints and amount of data being created that was critical to organisations’ livelihoods. And hand-in-hand with this rise in attacks, is an increase in the impact on companies that goes beyond financial.  When consumers are uploading everything from biometrics, location and financial information a data breach and operational downtime also destroy trust and brand loyalty.

Roundup of recent high-profile local attacks

Just looking at South Africa, there have been several successful high profile attacks this winter. The following are just a selection of the 25 breaches reported to the Information Regulator in the last four months:

August 2020:

Construction group Stefanutti Stocks shut down its IT systems to respond to an attack and data breach. It did not share which details were compromised.

A subsidiary of Momentum Metropolitan lost administrative and financial data in an attack.

July 2020:

Lombard Insurance experienced a data breach which it reported in August. It did not share which details had been accessed and the number of customers affected.

June 2020:

Life Healthcare experienced extensive IT downtime into July after an attack that took its administration systems for southern Africa offline.

Also noteworthy are:

The Experian breach in August, which although strictly speaking wasn’t a cyber attack but an old fashioned piece of social engineering, resulted in the personal identification information of 24 million South Africans for sale online. This reminds us just how much our online and offline worlds have converged, and that as sophisticated as attacks become, we still need to be wary of traditional threats.

And the Garmin ransomware attack in July reminds us that the impact of cyber crime knows no borders as consumers increasingly have access to global services. And that cyber crime pays as companies make the call to pay ransoms in order to survive, and that this inevitably fuels further attacks.

All of which points to the view that the 32% of companies that think they haven’t been attacked more than likely have. But because they were unaware of attacks, they were unable to stop them, meaning criminals are likely to be lurking on their networks today. And further, these companies are not patching their vulnerabilities to prevent future attacks.

Contact us to find out more about holistic cyber protection for any environment, or use our online chat function. And remember to follow us on LinkedIn for news, updates and insights.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 16 September 2020

Acronis Cyber Protect 15 logo

New research of cyber readiness during pandemic reveals security gaps, need for new solutions

By 2020

As Acronis Cyber Protect 15 is released, new global research reveals that 31% of companies struggle with daily cyber attacks and new protection challenges caused by remote work.

 

Acronis, a global leader in cyber protection, announced on September 9th the release of Acronis Cyber Protect 15, which integrates backup, disaster recovery, next-generation anti-malware, cyber security and endpoint management tools into a single solution. This one-of-a-kind integration eliminates the complexity of ensuring an organisation’s cyber security while improving its data recovery posture and enabling greater productivity.

“This new product comes at the right time – businesses are struggling to safeguard their data and infrastructure against the risks and challenges of the new remote work landscape,” observes Peter French, Managing Director at Synapsys, the leading distributor of Acronis cyber protection in Africa.

“With the long-term prospects for remote work being a key feature of our new normal, organisations need to understand their level of cyber readiness,” French adds.

Cyber readiness

The Acronis Cyber Readiness Report surveyed 3,400 companies and remote workers in multiple countries – including South Africa – in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The just-released report revealed that 37% of the survey respondents listed WiFi connectivity as the top challenge – most notably in South Africa and India.

92% of the companies surveyed indicated adoption of new technologies to enable remote work. They face the additional challenge of managing the protection of data across the company network and all of those new devices – typically using a stack of different solutions, which is expensive, time-consuming and complicated. The lack of integration also creates gaps in the organisation’s defences that cyber criminals are exploiting.

Phishing, DDoS, video conferencing attacks most common

The Acronis Cyber Readiness Report reveals that as hackers target remote workers, phishing, distributed denial of service (DDoS) and video conferencing attacks are the most common tactics used.

  • 39% of the companies experienced a videoconferencing attack in the past three months as workers rely on apps like Zoom, Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams.
  • Malware attacks such as ransomware have increased during the pandemic, with 31% of companies reporting daily cyber attacks and half (50%) being targeted at least once a week. South Africa is among the handful of countries reporting almost twice as many malware attacks as the global average.
  • Phishing attacks are occurring at historic levels, which is not surprising since the report found only 2% of companies consider URL filtering when evaluating a cyber security solution. That oversight leaves remote workers vulnerable to phishing sites – Acronis Cyber Protection Operations Centers (CPOCs) discovered that approximately 10% of users clicked on malicious Web sites in May, June and July.

These Acronis findings and external research illustrate why organisations need a cyber protection solution that reduces complexity and improves security to support remote work environments, and the solution must be cost-effective to address the scale of remote workers.

The modern cyber landscape demands modern protection

“The cyber threat landscape has changed dramatically during the past few years, and in the last six months in particular. Traditional standalone anti-virus and backup solutions are unable to protect against modern cyber threats,” said Serguei “SB” Beloussov, founder and CEO of Acronis.

Like its built-for-service-providers counterpart, Acronis Cyber Protect 15’s unique integration of data protection and next-generation cyber security capabilities – including AI-based behavioural detection that stops zero-day attacks, URL filtering, vulnerability assessments, video conference protection, and automated patch management – affords organisations protection against modern cyber threats while ensuring they can recover their data and systems faster than any other solution.

  • 10% of users might click on malicious links that lead to phishing attacks, but the URL filtering in Acronis Cyber Protect blocked all of those sites – protecting the users, their devices and their company’s data.
  • Video conferencing protection prevents the exploitation of apps like Zoom, Webex and Microsoft Teams.
  • Testing by independent cyber security labs such as AV-Test and Virus Bulletin shows that Acronis Cyber Protect’s anti-malware detects 100% of malware attacks with zero false positives.

Based on the current cyber attack rate, the unique integration of backup and cyber security enables Acronis Cyber Protect to prevent an estimated $150 million in direct losses for its customers each year.

The future of protection

The comprehensive cyber protection delivered by Acronis Cyber Protect will continue to be vital in the post-pandemic landscape. With 88% of the remote workers surveyed by Acronis expecting to work from home to some extent even after the pandemic ends, ensuring their protection and cyber security will require the kind of integration and automation only found in Acronis Cyber Protect 15.

Get in touch with Synapsys if you would like an introduction to one of our partners offering Acronis Cyber Protect 15, and to find out more about cyber protection for remote work.

This article was first published on ITWeb on 10 September 2020

Turning MSP challenges into opportunities

By 2020

Nick Keene Synapsys Presales Engineer

2020-09-02

By Nick Keene, Synapsys Presales Engineer

When Acronis launched Cyber Protect Cloud it promised to give MSPs even more ways to build their businesses. And then when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, this became even more critical, especially for MSPs specialising in sectors that were badly affected by the health crisis.

And this really has been the case, as we discussed in a July webinar we held, in conjunction with Acronis, for our MSP partners. Having had a few months of experience with Acronis Cyber Cloud version 9, which is the edition that launched all the Cyber Protect Cloud features, we dug into how it can boost MSP businesses, including driving new revenue streams. In this blog post I look at some of the highlights.

Top three opportunities Acronis Cyber Protect provides MSPs:

  1. Upgraded security

  • Proactively avoid downtime and meet SLAs
  • Ensure complete customer data protection
  • Quick and effortless recovery after an attack
  • Real-time protection of the most important files
  • Auto-adjust customer protection in line with the most current threats
  1. Control over costs

  • Speed up and simplify the onboarding of new customers and devices
  • Service more customers without having to increase your team
  • Centralise client patching, with no additional costs
  • Avoid the cost of maintaining multiple backends for multiple systems
  • Reduced spend on training for your engineers
  • Less planned and unplanned maintenance downtime
  1. New revenue streams

  • Simplify renewals by demonstrating your value to your customers
  • Reduce data loss incidents and improve customer satisfaction
  • Service customers with increasingly strict compliance requirements
  • Easy upsell to existing customer base. (Acronis has built upselling into the Cyber Backup Cloud platform by including greyed out details of the more advanced Cyber Protect Cloud features to show customers what more is available.)
  • Sell managed security without needing to hire expensive experts

New capabilities to help you do more

Further, showing just how much Acronis Cyber Protect is made for service providers, new capabilities that are also available in Acronis Cyber Backup Cloud work to make the job of MSPs more streamlined and efficient, allowing them to do more. These include:

  1. Device auto-discovery and remote agent installation: This makes it easier and faster for MSP to onboard and deploy users, MSPs can onboard and deploy more users with the same team, and it enables complete protection.
  2. Vulnerability assessments: This enables MSPs to identify vulnerabilities in advance, and prevent attacks from happening.
  3. Flexible monitoring and reporting: A single pane of glass speeds up MSP operations and reactions, ultimately demonstrating excellent customer service and value.

To find out more about how you can increase your ARPU, improve SLAs, control costs and decrease churn, request the full webinar here or get in touch with us.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 2 September 2020

Bootstrapping your home network part 2 – the content and malware edition

By 2020

2020-08-19

By Peter French, Synapsys Managing Director

Previously I wrote about how you can jumpstart your home network to cope with working, learning and entertaining from home. A couple of the tips involved tweaking the settings on your WiFi router. This article looks at some easy ways your router can be optimised to protect you and your household from harmful or inappropriate content.

For many people, a router is something that gets installed by their ISP at the same time as their broadband connection and then forgotten about. Maybe it gets turned off and on again when a service technician asks us to, or looked at when we have to tell the technician which lights are on and which lights are blinking. But the humble broadband router has quite a few useful capabilities, including keeping you safe from content you don’t want to access for security or parental control reasons.

Before you get started:

  1. You access your router’s control dashboard by entering the IP number you’ll find on the back of your router into a web browser. You’ll also need to enter your router username and password, which, after reading my first home networking article, you should have already changed from the default. 
  2. Take a screenshot of any settings before you change them. That way, if things don’t work out as planned, you can easily roll back to the original settings.

 

Anti-malware and parental control

There are a couple of free services that allow you to, by simply changing some of the settings on your router, easily block malware and/ or adult content from being accessed by users on your network. Probably the easiest one to use is Cloudflare for Families, which has three options:

  1. secure, fast, private browsing;
  2. also blocking malware; and
  3. also blocking both malware and adult content, simply by changing two settings on your router.

 

Fast, secure, private internet browsing

Primary DNS: 1.1.1.1

Secondary DNS: 1.0.0.1

Malware blocking 

Primary DNS: 1.1.1.2

Secondary DNS: 1.0.0.2

Malware and adult content blocking

Primary DNS: 1.1.1.3

Secondary DNS: 1.0.0.3

Visit Cloudflare for more information and IPv6 settings. Apparently there are additional features such as scheduling, reporting, and allow and blocklists planned.

Another service is OpenDNS from Cisco. This is another free (at entry level) service that uses DNS to block adult content. More advanced options that need a bit more customisation offer filters and block phishing sites, as well as making internet browsing faster and more reliable. Here’s a good place to start with OpenDNS.

Unpacking DNS

Since you’ve levelled up your home network security with this DNS change, why not level up your understanding of the change you’ve made. Very simply, DNS is an abbreviation for Domain Name System, which is a global  index or directory that translates domain names, such as acronis.com into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, which is 69.20.59.80 in Acronis’s case. Computers, servers and networks understand the latter, but humans prefer the convenience and memorability of the former. DNS resolvers sit in the middle and map the domain name you enter into a web browser onto the correct IP address, so that the right website gets delivered to your browser window.

Typically your broadband router will come preconfigured with a default DNS resolver, but, as described above, there are reasons why you might want to change this. For instance, I have used Google DNS (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) for many years, mainly because it used to be the fastest and easiest to remember, until Cloudflare (1.1.1.1) came along. I have also used OpenDNS and my own hosted DNS server (for the sake of tinkering and control).

More advanced protection

Cloudflare and OpenDNS are both simple measures that anyone can take without wreaking havoc on their home network and they offer good first line defence against cyberthreats, which are on the rise with more and more devices out there, and more people working remotely. But as a distributor for Acronis in Africa, I’d be remiss in not pointing out more advanced options, such as Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud, which combines cybersecurity with the backup of your data in a simple to use, integrated service. This is something you should request from your ISP, or get in touch with us and we’ll connect you with a managed service provider (MSP) who can help.

But meanwhile there are things you can do today to improve your home network and keep you and your household safe. Remember that the best way to learn is through trial and error, but do proceed with caution to avoid locking yourself out of your router, or be unable to browse the internet because of an incorrectly configured DNS. Having said that, knowing how things work gives you both control and comfort that you are protecting yourself and your household, while also improving your online experience.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 19 August 2020

IoT balancing act

Acronis’s advice for MSPs during a crisis

By 2020

2020-08-12 One of Acronis’s guiding principles has always been the activation and support of a vibrant managed service provider (MSP) ecosystem around the world. And this has become even more apparent during the current health crisis. First through the launch of Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud, which gives MSPs the opportunity to quickly and easily expand their service offering to new and existing customers. And also through invaluable advice and insights for the MSP community, who, according to CRN Channelweb, could see revenue drop by 17% this year.

Here, we have brought together some recent insight from Acronis on how MSPs can not only survive, but also thrive during the pandemic and beyond.

The 2020 MSP Cybersecurity Readiness Survey

Although this survey only includes responses from MSPs in the US and UK, we still think it is a useful overview of trends, including current and future MSP capabilities, and top areas of security improvements in the next year.

Download the full report, Understanding the Security and Data Backup Market for Managed Service Providers (MSPs), for insights into:

  • Current and future MSP capabilities
  • Customer service requests
  • The business challenges MSPs are facing, including skills shortages and organisational obstacles
  • Challenges delivering security as a service
  • Considerations when selecting a supplier

And now read the Acronis blog post, The 2020 MSP Cybersecurity Readiness Survey Results: Exploring Current and Planned Security Capabilities, for a look at how Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud relates to these trends.

Amy Luby’s advice for MSPs

Here at Synapsys, we’re huge fans of Amy Luby. She’s a pioneering MSP entrepreneur and Channel Chief Evangelist at Acronis. Who better to turn to for advice for MSPs during the current health crisis?

In 4 Steps to Manage Your MSP Business During A Crisis, Luby provides a practical crisis management plan for MSPs to follow, as well as 60 cash saving tips.

And in Security is complicated: How modern MSPs turn chaos into opportunity, Luby looks at the importance of shifting the conversation from a products and services one, to an outcomes-centric one, and the value of clarity and simplification in a chaotic and complex world.

To chat to the Synapsys team about Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud, contact us or use our online chat function. And remember to follow us on LinkedIn for news, updates and insights.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 12 August 2020

Quick insights into Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud

By 2020

Nick Keene

2020-08-07 When our Presales Engineer Nick Keene participated in the beta programme for Cyber Protect Cloud a few months ago, he commented that having a unified product for data protection and cybersecurity with a single agent and interface should be a game-changer.

Nick then hosted a pre-launch webinar series in April and went on to do a great job of highlighting various features in a series of blog posts on our news page.

To chat to Nick or any member of the Synapsys team about Cyber Protect Cloud, contact us or use our online chat function. And remember to follow us on LinkedIn.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 7 August 2020