Category

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

The single pane of glass that will take your MSP business to the next level

By 2020

Nick Keene Synapsys Presales Engineer

2020-07-29

By Nick Keene, Synapsys Presales Engineer

Writing on day 125 of the pandemic lockdown in South Africa, there can be no doubt that temporary band-aid measures are not what is going to get MSPs through this crisis to emerge on the other side with a healthy, thriving business and happy customers. Indeed, according to CRN Channelweb, in the UK the average MSP will see revenue drop by 17% (depending on the sector they work in — some are doing better than others.)

A powerful lever any company has to improve cash flow during tough times is to sell more: new products and services to existing customers, or to new customers. And the integration that is built into the DNA of Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud creates the perfect storm for doing both.

Integrated cyber protection

The reality is that backup doesn’t protect you against viruses and antivirus doesn’t restore your data. And with the dramatic increase in data and number of endpoints and rising risk of data loss and downtime, MSPs need to offer their customers the ability to tackle multiple threat vectors. It is possible to do this by pulling together a basket of tools, but the overheads in terms of time, money and skills required may outweigh the benefits.

Alternatively, Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud combines backup, data recovery, AM, AV, vulnerability and patch management and remote desktop support in one tool, with one agent and backend, one licence, one management console, one user interface and one set of insights. Acronis hasn’t just added a bundle of new, discrete products to a dashboard where they exist independently of each other. Instead, there are multiple levels of integration and information sharing that can make our partners’ businesses more efficient, profitable and secure, and also enable innovative data protection scenarios.

This has three immediate benefits for our MSP partners:

  1. The ability to offer complete cyber protection covering data backup and cyber security which improves customer SLAs and reduces downtime.
  2. Because these various components of cyber protection are fully integrated, they are able to offer more sophisticated capabilities than a MacGyvered together portfolio, such as being able to restore clean, uninfected backups after a malware attack.
  3. Economies of scale: the ease of use and single pane of glass mean MSPs can grow their businesses and develop additional revenue streams with their existing teams and operations.

Together, Acronis Cyber Protect is a single lever that can transform MSP businesses to survive the COVID-19 health crisis and evolve your businesses to offer a modern, fit-for-purpose response to today’s cyber security threats.

For more advice on managing your MSP business during a crisis we recommend this blog post from Acronis.

To get started offering Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud to your customers:

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is now fully deployed to all Acronis data centres around the world. Your reseller partner, or MSP, will need to activate Cyber Protect Cloud for you. From there you can easily activate it for all your customers in your management console.

If you need support, in the first instance, contact your service provider or partner and if necessary they will escalate the matter. In addition, to help service providers to support their customers, Acronis offers free tier one support training.

Please get in touch to do so: here are our contact details, and we promise we reply to the web chat very quickly during office hours.

To find an MSP that offers Acronis Cyber Protect, drop us a line here and we’ll connect you.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 29 July 2020

virtual conferencing

Who’s using IoT? That’s right, you are – here’s how to stay safe

By 2020

2020-07-22

By Peter French, Synapsys Managing Director

The Internet of things (IoT) mega-trend can seem very space age and futuristic, a bit like hoverboards or Jetsons-style robo-butlers. It’s often mentioned in the context of brain-befuddling trends such as cloud computing, big data and analytics, and artificial intelligence. And when you dig into what it is – machines talking to other machines via the Internet – it seems quite distant to our daily lives.

But the reality is that most of us have some form of IoT device in our homes today, from smart TVs and speakers, security cameras and home automation devices to gaming consoles. Almost by stealth, something that seems very out there and a long way away is actually right next to us, right now. And along with the incredible usefulness and entertainment value of these devices comes a range of security concerns that you should know about, and protect yourself from if necessary.

There have already been a number of security incidents involving smart devices, from hackers accessing security cameras and harassing people, to kids’ smart watches that allow anyone to see the child’s location and personal information, to the CallStranger vulnerability that allows hackers to steal data, scan networks and launch distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks via popular home and corporate IoT devices.

What you can do to protect yourself

1. Do your research

Before bringing any device into your home, do your research using independent third-party resources such as IT security organisation, AVTest’s dedicated IoT site. This means that at the very least you will be aware of the threats that exist, and at worst, you may decide to avoid that device. But, more than likely, you’ll land somewhere in between: doing what you can to manage the threat according to your specific situation.

2. Be wary of zero security incidents

Any legitimate IT company is transparent about its security incidents and rapidly tells users what it has done to repair any damage and stop the threat. Security vulnerabilities are inevitable, so it is reassuring to see that a company is serious about patching them quickly. Take a look at Cisco or Microsoft’s security advisory pages for good examples. A company that doesn’t do this either doesn’t know about its security issues and attacks, or is not being transparent about them, neither of which bode well for the safety of the IoT device you are bringing into your home.

3. Ensure the device’s firmware is up to date

Not all IoT devices allow you to update their firmware, which would allow you to patch any known vulnerabilities as they are discovered. If the device does not allow updates, you should consider whether you want it in your home and connected to your network. And if the firmware does update, you should, just as with any other IT service, keep it up to date. Advanced users might want to replace the factory-installed firmware in devices like Sonoff smart switches due to concerns about these home automation devices transferring unencrypted data back to servers in China.

4. Disable universal plug and play (UPnP)

As I mentioned in my guide to boosting your home WiFi performanceUPnP is incredibly useful, but it’s often just not viable in the real world, where you can’t be sure all the devices connecting to your network are secure and safe. For instance, the CallStranger vulnerability mentioned above operates via a UPnP callback. To add insult to injury, depending on your router, UPnP might take a while to patch, or it might even not be possible to patch. The best option is to disable UPnP on your WiFi router. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use these smart IoT devices, but you might have to spend a bit of time setting up manual exceptions, port forwards or NAT (network address translation) rules. You can Google how to do this, for instance, here and here are instructions on how to set up a static IP address for your Xbox One, and so avoid activating UPnP.

5. Strong passwords and multi-factor authentication

As ever, updated, strong passwords are your first line of defence, with multi-factor authentication adding a double-lock to your security. Also, with shared IoT devices, it’s better to set up unique profiles for every user, rather than sharing a common set of usernames and passwords.

IoT balancing act

It is not the tech itself that is scary, it’s our lack of understanding of the new that can make it dangerous. And we each need to establish our own threat tolerance based on our individual circumstances and requirements. A very practical example of this is that we might be comfortable adding more devices to our network in the shape of IP-enabled security cameras in order to boost our physical safety. But, at the same time, we should install and set up the Internet-connected cameras in a way that ensures cyber safety.

And you don’t need to become a systems administrator to do this: basic knowledge and some research can help you make an informed choice, and basic security measures can keep you safe.

Finally, these security vulnerabilities seldom start out with malicious intent by the manufacturers. Very often, it is down to something that is overlooked in the race to get a new and exciting product to market, and then criminals take advantage of that vulnerability. Of course manufacturers have an obligation to ship products that are as safe as possible, but for those of us who are early adopters of new technology, this is always something we need to consider, especially as the pace of innovation increases.

This article was first published on ITWeb on 17 July 2020

Next level document protection and compliance with Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud

By 2020

Nick Keene

2020-07-01

By Nick Keene, Synapsys Presales Engineer

Now and again something pops up from the pre-COVID 19 world to remind us about things that were, and still are, important, despite our understandable preoccupation with the health crisis. The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) is one of those. Last week the South African government announced the commencement of further sections of the act, starting today and coming into effect in a year’s time.

Of course you should be protecting your customers’ personal identification information as a matter of course. It’s the right thing to do, and trust is key to any relationship. In addition, ransomware attacks are on the rise and target personal information to use in phishing scams and other cyber crime, and increasingly simply lock companies out of their valuable data until a ransom is paid.

This got me thinking about two related features of Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud that can help MSPs ensure their customers remain POPIA compliant.

The first is the new data protection map capability of Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud (you’ll find it on the dashboard). The data protection map feature scans the customer’s environment and lets you know which files are not backed up or protected. This allows you to pre-emptively alert customers about these gaps and to work with them to ensure everything is protected so that they remain compliant, and don’t get a nasty surprise in the event of a recovery. (see image below left)

A related functionality, the real-time protection of important documents through continuous data protection capabilities (found in the data protection plan tab on the dashboard) means that changes to critical applications (including custom applications), files or folders are saved immediately even between backups. A nice nuance here is that you can set continuous data protection to apply to specific applications (for instance, all .xls and .xlsx documents).

As well as ensuring zero RTO, this means that machine-wide backups can be run less frequently, using less bandwidth and with fewer performance impacts. It also means that the backup can be a true single repository of all personal identification information, irrespective of its origin. It’s the best of all worlds, and peace of mind that critical documents and information are immediately backed up and protected. (see image below right)

These are two quite granular examples of how Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud can support POPIA (and other legislation) compliance by improving the backup, storage and recovery of data.

To get started offering Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud to your customers:

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is now fully deployed to all Acronis data centres around the world. Your reseller partner, or MSP, will need to activate Cyber Protect Cloud for you. From there you can easily activate it for all your customers in your management console.

If you need support, in the first instance, contact your service provider or partner and if necessary they will escalate the matter. In addition, to help service providers to support their customers, Acronis offers free tier one support training.

Remember that Acronis is offering zero-rated usage on the new product until the end of July 2020, so now is a good time to sign up.  Please get in touch to do so: here are our contact details, and we promise we reply to the web chat very quickly during office hours.

To find an MSP that offers Acronis Cyber Protect, drop us a line here and we’ll connect you.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 1 July 2020