Category

2020

Infographic – Acronis Cyber Protect’s benefits for service providers

By 2020

2020-06-24 Earlier this quarter our Presales Engineer Nick Keene compiled some insights from his Introduction to Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud webinar series, first highlighting his top six technical questions, followed by his top security features.

We thought this infographic would be a useful complement, offering a summary of the benefits for service providers of the only solution to offer integrated backup, disaster recovery, next-generation anti-malware, anti-virus, cybersecurity and management tools in a single console.

Remember that Acronis is offering zero-rated usage on this 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.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 24 June 2020

Bootstrapping your home network

By 2020

2020-06-17

By Peter French, Synapsys Managing Director

Home WiFi networks aren’t corporate networks. I think we’ve all realised that, after 12 weeks of working from home during lockdown. Overnight, we expected our home networks to cope with a massively increased load thanks to things like video conferencing and file sharing for work and school, and streaming and gaming for entertainment, all at the same time. And our neighbours are probably doing the same. Is it any wonder our WiFi connections are more than a little choppy right now?

I remember running into a similar problem when I first joined Synapsys in 2012, doubling its headcount. The pair of us were working out of home offices at the time, and since I’ve been messing about with computers since my mom’s first 386 computer when I was six, using trial and error to figure stuff out, I set out to improve my home network. In getting it to do a few more things, like give me the ability to securely access our systems remotely, I learnt how best to optimise a home network for business use.

The good news is that there are a few things you can do relatively easily and cost-effectively, bumping up the performance of your home network and increasing its security.

1. Optimise your WiFi

WiFi is great. It’s convenient, saves us running cables around our homes, and makes it easy to add devices to our network. But it’s also not a one-size-fits-all technology and is probably the number one reason why your Internet connection is so choppy right now, even though your ISP has kindly increased your fibre bandwidth during lockdown.

This is the first place to start to get better Internet connectivity at home:

  • Don’t simply install a repeater; rather, consider a two- or three-node mesh WiFi system. Or even better would be to wire in additional access points. This creates separate wireless access points across your property, rather than only retransmitting the router’s signal, which ultimately just stretches it thin and doesn’t improve performance.
  • A quicker fix that doesn’t require you to buy additional equipment is to download a WiFi channel analyser app and choose a WiFi channel that is least congested and not shared by all your neighbours. This is especially useful if you live in an apartment block where multiple WiFi signals overlap. You can change the channel in your WiFi router’s dashboard. If you leave the channel selection to automatic, you may need to restart your WiFi router every so often for this to reset to the least busy channel.
  • Don’t be tempted to set your WiFi router’s transmit power to maximum. Quality will degrade at the edges of your WiFi signal’s reach, you’ll get more dropped packets and you’ll end up hogging even more bandwidth.
  • Take a look at how many devices you have connected to the router. You’ll probably be surprised when you start factoring in smart devices from TVs to security cameras and appliances. Apart from the bandwidth these consume, each contributes to the noise on your home network, causing packets to drop and your important video conference to stall. Here again, a meshed or wired system would be helpful.
  • If you have a lot of people using your network for voice calls, you could investigate the quality of service (QOS) features on your current router and use these to prioritise important traffic such as voice.

2. Secure your home network

Cyber security attacks are on the increase at the moment. Criminals are cynically taking advantage of both the uncertainty around the current health crisis and also the fact that so many corporate networks are being accessed remotely as people work from home. Therefore, as well as being concerned about Internet speed, you should ensure that all devices have the latest updates and firmware installed, and that all endpoints, including mobile phones, laptops, desktops and servers, connected to your home network have cyber protection software installed. But anti-malware software, such as Acronis Cyber Protect, on all your devices is just the start; you need to take additional measures just off your endpoint devices on your Internet access point. In other words, on the WiFi router we met above.

Here, again, you have several options:

  • Replace the basic router you received with your fibre installation with a premium router that gives you fine-grained control over what comes in and out of your network. Even your ISP doesn’t have access to this router.
  • One step down from this, but still worth doing, is optimising your current router for security:
  • Ensure the firmware is up to date on your ISP-supplied router. If it’s so old that it can’t be updated, contact your ISP and motivate for a replacement router on security grounds.
  • Change your WiFi login password and the password you use to access the router’s dashboard from the default passwords. While you are there, you might as well update your WiFi network name to something a bit more user-friendly. (This last point is less about security and more about WiFi being easy and convenient to use.)
  • In the advanced settings on the router, deactivate remote access and ensure the built-in firewall is switched on. This won’t affect what you have access to but does control incoming connections to your WiFi router.
  • Turn off UPnP (Universal Plug and Play). This is a handy feature, but it’s designed to be used on networks where you know all devices are secured and safe. This is just not the case in the real world, so it’s really a bad idea to have it enabled.

Top tip: Don’t be scared to make these changes. Experimenting is the best way to optimise your network for your specific circumstances. But, take a screenshot of the original settings before making any changes, just in case you need to roll back!

These tips should hopefully improve your home WiFi performance, and keep your personal information safe, giving you more time for that important video conference, or the Netflix binge you’ve got planned when the call is done.

Next month I’ll look at additional ways you can use your WiFi router to protect yourself and your household from undesirable and dangerous content, and after that, take a look at the Internet of things (IOT) devices we are bringing into our homes, and the related security implications.

This article was first published on ITWeb on 17 June 2020

IoT balancing act

The big difference between cyber immunity and human immunity

By 2020

2020-06-10 Comparisons between cyber security and human health are inevitable, especially given that we’re in the middle of a global health crisis. And Acronis has produced a particularly compelling white paper: Five Phases of Cyber Immunity: Acronis Cyber Protect that compares digital and human health from the point of view of prevention, detection, response, recovery and forensics.

It’s a fascinating read and the similarities are remarkable, so we’d urge you to read the white paper itself.

But there was one significant difference between digital and biological systems, and their response to attacks, that caught our attention: recovery. We all know that even if we are in the best of health, eating well, practicing good hygiene and up-to-date with our vaccinations, even a bout of the common cold can mean a few days of recuperation before we are back to normal again.

And yes, the same can be said for a cyber security threat: the attack itself can disable systems, but even once cyber defence mechanisms have stopped the attack, recovering data and getting systems up and running again can take hours, days or even weeks. And in the case of irretrievable data loss, you may never fully recover.

But, Acronis Cyber Protect has the ability to restore a system to a previously known “good state” without any data loss. This is thanks to Acronis’s two decades’ of experience in protecting against data loss, and it has now brought these abilities into the cyber protection space with the integration of a full-stack antivirus solution that can scan backups; vulnerability assessment capabilities with patch management; and Acronis’s award-winning AI-powered anti-ransomware and anti-malware.

One of the new features in Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud that keeps data from being lost is Continuous Data Protection which solves the challenge of how to protect data between backups. This capability defines the critical apps that users work with most often on every device. The Acronis agent then monitors every change made in these listed applications and backs up the changes immediately. This creates a zero recovery point objective (RPO) and, in case of a malware infection, the client can restore without losing data.

Acronis Cyber Protect also applies missing patches and removes any embedded threats from the backup, allowing digital systems to recover fully to their best health, far more quickly than humans recover from illness.

Read the Acronis whitepaper to find out more, and let us know if you would like an introduction to one of our MSP partners offering Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 10 June 2020

My top Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud security features

By 2020

Nick Keene

2020-06-03

By Nick Keene, Synapsys Presales Engineer

Two weeks ago I answered some of the technical questions about Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud that arose during an MSP webinar series. As promised, I’m back and this time will highlight my favourite cyber protect features as well as provide some direction on getting started with offering Acronis Cyber Protect to your customers.

As a reminder, Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud launched globally last month and is a single solution that integrates backup, disaster recovery, AI-based protection against malware and ransomware, remote desktop, and security tools in a single agent. You can read about the launch here.

As part of Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud, Acronis has introduced 22 new cyber security features, with more on the way. Here are my top five from the launch:

1.Auto-discovery of new machines 

As long as you have at least a single cyber protect agent installed, you can remotely identify new machines that have entered your environment, and then remotely install the agent on that machine. This makes onboarding and installation simpler and faster, enhancing the overall protection of your environment and its devices.

2. Hard disk drive health monitoring and AI-based failure prediction

This helps you predict when a hard drive will fail, ensuring you have less downtime and also can plan your hardware inventory in time for your customers’ requirements.

3. Anti-malware scanning of backups

With Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud you can offload malware scanning from production machines and to backups located in the cloud. This helps to reduce complaints about machines slowing down during scheduled scans. It also increases overall protection as this prevents malware from being backed up and ensures scans take place even if devices are switched off during the scheduled scan window. Meanwhile real-time threat detection continues to protect the endpoint devices.

4. Recommended actions by Acronis Cyber Protection Operations Centers (CPOC)

These cyber security updates and remediation recommendations ensure you are fully informed and protected against new threats that you might not yet be aware of, including natural disasters. The updates, via the dashboard, include recommendations for optimising protection plans in response to current threat landscapes. This feature amounts to built-in security operations services.

5. Fail-safe patching: backup endpoint before installing patches 

This saves the day in cases where a patch or update results in a failure to the machine, for instance it won’t boot. Simply roll back to just before you applied the patch and start again.

For more insight into protecting endpoints during remote work, read this article by Synapsys MD, Peter French.

These are just five of the 22 features at launch, and this list will grow as the product matures. Already Acronis has launched voice control and a video conferencing security feature to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 3 June 2020

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud now available: ‘Vaccine’ option for cyber threats

By 2020

2020-06-02 Following Acronis’s early May launch of Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud, Synapsys, the leading distributor of Acronis cyber protection in Africa, has seen its first managed service provider (MSP) partners go live with the service. Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is the first cyber protection solution that integrates backup, disaster recovery, next-generation anti-malware, anti-virus, cybersecurity and management tools into a single console. This groundbreaking product is the culmination of intensive R&D by over 500 researchers and analysts at Acronis.

“This is truly a golden opportunity for our partners: the benefit of offering an integrated, easy-to-use, cost-effective cyber protection solution enables the early adopters to disrupt the endpoint security and data protection market. What’s more, our existing partners can quickly and easily upgrade their existing backup clients to Acronis Cyber Protect with a literal click of a button,” says Peter French, Managing Director of Synapsys.

Backup is Dead

“Traditional backup is dead because it is not secure enough, and traditional anti-viruses do not protect data from modern cyberthreats. Legacy solutions are no longer able to counteract the dangers businesses face,” said Acronis Founder and CEO Serguei “SB” Beloussov.

How is Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud helpful against cyber threats?

Cyber Protect Cloud delivers AI-powered data protection and cybersecurity, and empowers users to address modern cyber threats. It allows organisations to share highly sensitive data, and to protect conference call applications – a critical resource for most organisations worldwide these days. Demonstrating simplicity and ease of management, it offers:

  1. one unified licensing model;
  2. one agent and backend;
  3. one management console;
  4. one user interface;
  5. and a high level of integration among services – sharing data and automating actions to greatly improve the security for endpoint and edge devices.

 

“We are excited for the launch of Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud,” said Nick Keene, Presales Engineer, Synapsys. “It’s a great product, and having a unified product with a single agent and interface will make a big difference in our market. It should be a game changer.” (Read more feedback from the beta case studies here.)

The benefits for MSPs

The tool eliminates complexity and enables them to efficiently make security a focal point of their portfolios, and meet their clients’ expectations. It brings vendor consolidation and frees up time to focus on other business operations.

The benefits for enterprises and individuals

With remote working now firmly established, ensuring endpoint security is critical – Cyber Protect Cloud allows individuals to monitor devices and automatically stop threats.  Attaining a perfect score in independent lab tests, Cyber Protect Cloud has also been hailed by the IDC as “one of the most comprehensive attempts to provide data protection and cybersecurity”.

In the build up to the launch, Synapsys hosted a webinar series to introduce the new product to its MSP partners and the feedback was enormously positive. Highlights include:

  • Protection of videoconferencing (e.g.: WebEx, Zoom): The system runs an automatic check, and notifies the user that the call is secured.
  • URL filtering / phishing protection: The system notifies of the danger and stops the malicious site from accessing the device.
  • Native VPN capability: Customers can easily and securely connect to their corporate network.
  • Remote Desktop connection: IT administrators can access devices remotely via the web-based management console.
  • Patch Management: Software patches can be applied remotely from the web-based management console.

Let us know if you would like an introduction to one of our MSP partners offering Acronis Cyber Protect and to find out more about Cyber Protection for remote work.

This article was first published on ITWeb on 27 May 2020

image of woman watching webinar

Top tips for safe working from home, from our friends at Acronis

By 2020

2020-05-27 Even as many countries around the world start relaxing their COVID-19 lockdown rules allowing more people to return to their workplace, working from home and remote working is here to stay. For instance, in South Africa, most banks are choosing to keep many of their people at home, even after 1 June when we switch to alert level 3. We’ve been doing the same at Synapsys: even though as an essential service we have been able to return to our offices, we’ve continued working from home and are planning a phased return over the next few months where we alternate between going to the office and working from home.

Of course, as a country we’ve been warned to expect the restrictions to ebb and flow as the disease flares up in hotspots, so it is not unlikely that people who return to the office next month, might find themselves working from home again.

All this is to say that any adjustments in how you and your people work from home or remotely are for the long haul. Companies are reporting a 40% increase in cyberattacks since they started working remotely, and so our partner Acronis has been sharing some invaluable advice, especially around cyber protection, for remote workers. We’ve collected a selection of their tips here.

Maréva Koulamallah, Acronis’s Head of PR & Communication for EMEA recommends:

  1. Plan ahead but also be ready for last minute changes. 
  2. Prioritise. Keep tight deadlines in mind first. 
  3. Accept that some things might take longer but do not give up. Focus, in the meantime, where you have the strongest impact. 
  4. Communicate a lot and do not fear mistakes, that is how we learn. Correct them quickly.
  5. Do not blindly trust the technology and implement the right cyber protection.

 

It’s astonishing how fast criminals are to take advantage of a situation. These are just a few examples from around the world. And in South Africa we’ve seen our own variations: notably PerSwaysion, which targets corporate email accounts exploiting Microsoft logins, and is very sophisticated and detail oriented. Other scams include messages claiming to be from banks about cashflow relief, fake purchase orders or payment notifications, and to students and staff of academic institutions that are suddenly all remote.

More tips from Maréva.

Speaking on an April webinar around staying cyberfit during the COVID-19 outbreak, Candid Wüest, VP of Cyber Protect research at Acronis shared a number of recommendations. Here are some highlights.

  1. Update default passwords on WiFi connections and routers.
  2. Log out or lock your laptop when you’re not using it.
  3. Update and patch your software.
  4. Use sophisticated security software on all the devices on the same network.
  5. Use strong and unique passwords — a password manager can help with this.
  6. Use two factor authentication where available.
  7. Separate your home and work accounts on your laptop — this can help with productivity too.
  8. Don’t overshare on social media — that picture of your cat joining your video conference is cute but be careful about what other information you could be inadvertently sharing.
  9. Only use approved data sharing platforms.
  10. Backup all your data daily and encrypt your device or enable remote wipe.

 

Let us know if you would like an introduction to one of our MSP partners offering Acronis Cyber Protect and to find out more about Cyber Protection for remote work.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 27 May 2020

Top six technical questions about Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud

By 2020

Nick Keene

2020-05-20

By Nick Keene, Synapsys Presales Engineer

In late March and early April we ran a series of webinars introducing our partners across Africa to Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud in advance of its launch earlier this month. As well as giving an overview of the new cyber protect features and doing a quick demo of the updated dashboard, there was a chance for attendees to ask me questions. I thought these would be useful to share here as well, as they are questions other managed service providers (MSPs) might have.

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is a single solution that integrates backup, disaster recovery, AI-based protection against malware and ransomware, remote desktop, and security tools in a single agent. Read about the launch here.

In this post, I’ll cover the top six technical questions attendees asked us during the webinars, and then in two weeks’ time I’ll tackle questions around getting started with offering Acronis Cyber Protect to your customers.

1.Can a tenant be upgraded to Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud without having to reconfigure backups and agents?

Yes, it’s a simple process to upgrade your customers to the new editions. You just toggle a switch in your customers’ settings to upgrade their service.

2.If I run integration services such as WHMCS and I switch to Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud, will I have to reintegrate everything from scratch?

Typically no. You may have to wait for the developer of your integration service to update with the new offerings, however Acronis is dedicated to ensuring seamless and complete integration with its platform.

3.Will the Acronis Cyber Infrastructure scan backups if you use your own storage?

Not immediately on release. But it is an important feature that Acronis wants to roll out as soon as possible. We currently have no information on when this feature is being released.

4.Does the remote desktop protocol (RDP) run on port 3389 and is this a solution for companies that don’t have a VPN?

The Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud RDP connection is tunneled over HTTPS and doesn’t require a VPN or port-forwarding on the customer’s side.

5.Will the Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud RDP log out a current user or mirror the screen?

It will log the user out. The Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud RDP connection uses standard RDP protocols so works similarly to how other RDPs you may have used work.

6.If you only backup a single file, will Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud still protect the system from vulnerabilities, malware and ransomware?

Yes, while the anti-malware protection and vulnerability scanning forms part of the protection plan, they are configured individually and do apply to the entire machine regardless of what is backed up.

I hope that was helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions or would find a follow-up webinar useful.

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.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 20 May 2020

The Extraordinary Endurance of the Phishing Scam

By 2020

2020-05-13 Despite the increased sophistication and industrialisation of cyber crime (ransomware-as-a-service, anyone?), criminals still have a fondness for phishing scams as the entry point for malware attacks. Why? Because they are far easier to do than punching through a corporate firewall, and quite simply, they work.

They work because they use our humanity against us, by tapping into emotions like urgency, anxiety, greed, wanting to be informed, or to do good. And the COVID-19 pandemic has caught us at our most human, and criminals are exploiting these new opportunities for phishing scams to land, as we saw with the rise in pandemic-related ransomware attacks.

We are all confused, anxious, frightened, and facing new working from home conditions with additional demands and uncertainties. We are hungry for information, we are separated from our employers, friends and family, we are worried about finances and we want to help others. Together these magnify the sense of urgency that phishing scams prey on, and our defences are already down because of the strangeness of our lives under lockdown.

So we’re more likely to click on that official looking notification from the government, or our boss, or the bank, or a charity, potentially opening us up to identity theft, or an attack on the corporate networks and systems that we are accessing remotely.

Our partner Acronis recently shared a selection of new phishing scams from around the world:

  • The Trickbot banking trojan campaign targeted Italian email addresses with an email that claimed to offer advice from the World Health Organisation. The email prompted the user to enable Microsoft Word macros that installed a new variant of Trickbot onto the machine.
  • The TrickBot and Emotet trojans have started to add text from COVID-19 news stories to attempt to bypass security software.
  • North Korean hackers were spotted targeting South Korea with phishing attacks at the end of February. The campaigns seemed to target government officials with malware-tainted documents.
  • In the US a phishing campaign claims to come from a delivery company giving an update on its operations. The PDF is in fact an executable file that installs Lokibot malware on the machine and steals sensitive information from the user.

It’s astonishing how fast criminals are to take advantage of a situation. These are just a few examples from around the world. And in South Africa we’ve seen our own variations: notably PerSwaysion, which targets corporate email accounts exploiting Microsoft logins, and is very sophisticated and detail oriented. Other scams include messages claiming to be from banks about cashflow relief, fake purchase orders or payment notifications, and to students and staff of academic institutions that are suddenly all remote.

For daily updates on the latest COVID-19 related risks, see RISKIQ. (We checked the link!)

Of course user education is still the number one defence against phishing attacks:

  • Check the email address
  • Be cautious of poor grammar, spelling and low-resolution images
  • Never share personal information
  • Don’t get sucked in by a sense of urgency
  • Check suspected phishing scams on Phishtank

And this education has to be ongoing: it’s like learning to cross the street at home, and then travelling to another country where suddenly the traffic appears from the other side. The principles stay the same, but circumstances can override our common sense. We’re all human!

We’re also pretty excited about Acronis’ new cyber protection approach which combines data protection with cybersecurity featuring behavioural endpoint anti-malware. This provides a safety net against the most destructive and pervasive types of malware that commonly use email as an attack vector, such as ransomware. So if someone in your organisation does fall for an email scam, coronavirus-themed or not, these defensive measures can save you from days or weeks of costly, business-threatening data loss and downtime.

Let us know if you would like an introduction to one of our MSP partners offering Acronis Cyber Protect and to find out more about Cyber Protection for remote work.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 13 May 2020

Tackling Endpoint Security in the Age of Work from Home

By 2020

2020-05-07

By Peter French, Synapsys Managing Director

It was only a few short months ago that I attended the inaugural Acronis Global Cyber Summit in the US, where Acronis CEO, Serguei Beloussov, announced their innovative, unified approach to data protection and cyber security. One of the challenges Acronis Cyber Protect would address, he said, was the increasing complexity in corporate IT ecosystems thanks to the dramatic rise in endpoints. Acronis predicts that by 2030 we’ll have more than 500 billion devices globally, and only 1% of these will be in the core network.

Fast forward a few short months, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic this forecast has started to materialise at an astonishing rate. Almost overnight, around the world, companies have had to transition to remote working operations, with employees accessing corporate networks from a plethora of devices, across a range of broadband connections, with dogs, cats and toddlers playing havoc with work and private devices.

This is the acceleration of a well-established trend: the industry has been actively mobilising workforces for a number of years, and thanks to the cloud and mobility, many people are enabled to work remotely. Logistically, in Cape Town as an example, some companies were prepared for this overnight shift thanks to business resilience plans put in place during the 2018 drought. And the City of Cape Town has repeatedly encouraged businesses to embrace flexible hours and remote working as a way to reduce traffic congestion over the last few years.

Today, the remote work horse has bolted, even for companies that haven’t spent too much time thinking about it, or indeed have actively resisted it. There is almost no technological need for many employees to be in a central location at a set time any more, and some very compelling reasons for them not to be.

Peter French, Synapsys MD

What is an endpoint anyway?

An endpoint is any device that people, or machines in the case of IoT, use to compute. Some endpoints remain within a company network, or move backwards and forwards across a corporate firewall, and today many are remote. These remote endpoints are increasingly a vulnerability risk, because, if unprotected, they offer a doorway into a corporate network.

Now, add the uptick in cyber crime. Today it’s around the COVID-19 pandemic — the Acronis Cyber Protection Operation Centers have detected a spike in malware attacks recently — but at other times this could be due to any large global event or crisis. Combined, you start to see the makings of an infosec nightmare.

Top three things to prioritise when updating your data protection and cyber security — cyber protection — for this new way of working

  1. People first

We all know this one. Even when implementing a technology solution to a technology-driven problem, people need to come first. They are still the weakest security link, and today are anxious, confused, navigating new work habits, and desperate for information, all of which is being exploited by increasingly savvy cyber criminals.

But remember, users aren’t the only people in the equation. The IT team is now stretched, suddenly supporting a remote work organisation while working remotely themselves. New strategies to increase remote endpoint protection need to be simple, scalable and integrated to support the people at the frontline of cyber protection in an organisation.

  1. Acknowledge it’s a balancing act and make the best call for your organisation

Cyber protection is a complex challenge covering data protection and cyber security, and so needs a multi-vector approach to solving it. Acronis has a useful way of summarising these cyber protection vectors: SAPAS.

  1. Safety: Is your data kept safe, and can it be recovered?
  2. Accessibility: Can your people access the information they need, wherever they are and at any time?
  3. Privacy: Do you know who can see and access different types of data?
  4. Authenticity: Are you certain a copy is the exact replica of the original data?
  5. Security: Is all your data, including backups, protected against cyber threats?

A further complexity is that sometimes these vectors shift and work against each other. Like today, IT teams need to work to ensure that data, applications and systems are accessible to their people wherever they are to ensure business continuity. But what does this mean for other vectors such privacy or safety?

  1. Wash your hands: AKA your remote endpoints are your first line of defence

Just as we are all going to get used to sanitising our hands and having our temperature taken before entering hospitals, offices, and practically anywhere to prevent the spread of COVID-19, remote endpoint protection is going to be critical in preventing malware from entering corporate networks and spreading. And here, SAPAS applies too: each organisation is going to need to balance the competing cyber protection vectors on remote endpoint devices to keep their network and people secure. These vectors of protection are close knit, and the structural integrity of an organisation’s cyber protection relies on each vector being present and supporting each other.

Without making any predictions about the length of lockdown and how it will be relaxed, we need to assume we are in it for the long-haul when it comes to this new way of working. And this won’t be reversed, not if you want to hire the best people. Take a quick look through recruitment site, Offerzen’s company listings: hiring companies highlight remote and flexible working as a benefit as often as no dress code and a barista coffee bar. So a small silver lining is that the changes that need to be made today to protect remote endpoints are not a temporary band-aid. In fact, companies are laying the foundation for the next phase of doing business in a post-pandemic world.

Let us know if you would like an introduction to one of our MSP partners offering Acronis Cyber Protect and to find out more about Cyber Protection for remote work.

This article was first published on ITWeb on 6 May 2020

Find out why the Central University of Technology chose Acronis for backup

By 2020

2020-05-01 When Donally Phonene, Enterprise Systems Engineer, joined the Central University of Technology (CUT), he identified the need for a new backup system that was simple to use and manage, cost-effective, and could guarantee rapid full machine recovery. In addition, the new backup service needed to be able to easily support the current environment while providing the opportunity to scale up in the future.

CUT is a tertiary education institution in Bloemfontein, South Africa, offering both classroom-based and distance learning to more than 10,000 students. From an IT infrastructure perspective, and specifically in terms of its backup needs, CUT manages an environment of more than 100 virtual machines running on 15 physical servers. It also has Oracle and SQL databases in production, which added to the cost of the legacy backup system, because add-on licences were required for these databases. Furthermore, strict disaster recovery procedures were already in place and a very specific response time objective (RTO) of four hours was required for full recovery of a physical or virtual machine.

After an evaluation of several backup providers, Phonene selected Acronis Backup for CUT because it is easy to use, easy to administrate, cost effective, and met CUT’s technical requirements. In addition, Acronis Backup was the only solution evaluated that could recover a full image of a machine, regardless of whether the data is on-premise, hosted on remote systems, in private or public clouds, or on mobile devices. AI-based ransomware and crypto-jacking protection, improved backup validation, and blockchain backup authentication through Acronis Notary also make Acronis Backup the most secure and reliable solution on the market today.

Once CUT decided to deploy Acronis Backup, it took a week to completely migrate from the legacy system. This rapid deployment is thanks, in part, to Phonene having previously attended Acronis Certified Engineer training organised by Synapsys.

Phonene said: “The benefits of working with Acronis are very clear: it is easy to use, making it easy to recover VMs or physical machines thereby providing the business continuity that CUT requires.”

“The encryption feature is also particularly valuable and is something we are looking to take advantage of once we complete some hardware upgrades to speed things up.” Interviewed in 2019, Phonene said he was also planning on leveraging the functionality of Acronis Backup by backing up Sharepoint Online.

Read the full case study here.

Note: CUT is an Acronis customer via one of Synapsys’s reseller partners.

Written for publication on the Synapsys website on 1 May 2020