Nonprofit’s CryptoWall Nightmare Could Have Been Mitigated


When CryptoWall locked down this organization, it took 18 hours to recover. With Quorum, it would have taken mere minutes.
Image source: creative commons licensed by flickr photo

It takes just one employee to click on the wrong link, and inadvertently download the CryptoWall Trojan. Once set free, the malware proceeds to encrypt, and hold hostage all of the company’s data. One nonprofit suffered thru this nightmare, finding itself at the mercy of CryptoWall, and unable to access 75 GB of data critical to their operations. Because their self-prescribed disaster recovery routine would require days before returning to, “business as usual,” the company found itself in a terrible dilemma – give into hefty ransom demands, or shut down operations until it could complete a lengthy system restore. The sad truth is that scenarios such as this are becoming more common. However, the good news is that there are ways of mitigating unplanned interruptions such as this. Had this organization taken advantage of available instant recovery technology, business operations could have resumed in mere minutes – and without caving in to ransom demands. Having said that, let’s take a closer look at how this organization’s CryptoWall intrusion played out; as well as how the situation would have been different had Quorum technology been at the heart of the organization’s disaster recovery (DR) plan.

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Why Deduplication Is Now the Standard for Saving Storage Space

Early deduplication fears never materialized, and now it’s the cornerstone of efficient DR technologies.
Image source: Flickr CC user moreno

It’s funny. When I look back at deduplication in the early stages, I can’t help but look at the torch-bearing crowd that was sure deduplication would be the demise of data. Only six or seven years back, when I was responsible for integrating the deduplication technology into Symantec’s market-leading backup products NetBackup and BackupExec, I had my share of discussions with concerned customers about the reliability of deduplicated data.

Instead, it has turned out to be the industry standard for saving storage space. At this point, it’s become clear that those early concerns are really non-issues. Deduplication makes sense in almost every application, which has made it a cornerstone of Quorum’s onQ services. Dedupe is one of the main technologies allowing us to offer our customers an affordable DR solution. Continue reading

The Disaster You Didn’t Plan for: Obscure Causes of Downtime

Some disasters, you just can’t plan for.
Image source: Flickr CC user Alan Cleaver

You can analyze your risks and make a disaster recovery plan, but some disasters are impossible to predict. We avert the potential threats from the Y2K bug only to be blindsided by a one-second change to the world atomic clock. We install uninterruptible power supplies only to have them interrupted by a drunken reveler. You might think you’re prepared for glitches and you probably think your backup power is infallible. But you’re wrong. The unpredictable nature of these downtime stories should have you thinking about your recovery plans and how quickly you can be running again after downtime. Continue reading

Improve Your DRP: Keep Risk Managers in the Loop

Did your risk managers give input when you created your DRP?
Image source: Flickr CC user innovate360

In every Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP), there is a Business Impact Analysis (BIA). Unfortunately, this task is usually left to IT alone. But the people most likely to recognize the full range of risks data loss can pose to your business are the same ones that grumble when tech support asks, “Did you try to restart your PC?” Your risk managers may not be PC-savvy, but they know a lot more about risk than your IT people do, so they need to be involved in your DRP. Continue reading

What to Do When the IT Budget Kills DR Planning

budget for
If you don’t have the budget for testing, you need a cheaper way to test.
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According to a study, 73 percent of companies are not prepared with disaster recovery plans. One of the major reasons cited for the shortfall was a lack of funds in the IT budget. We say that’s no excuse. There are ways to mitigate the priciest parts of disaster recovery and implement most of the steps in a secure plan without spending even one dollar more on the budget. That leaves you the money for an affordable hybrid DR solution like onQ Plus that backs you up at your business, in the cloud, and in a remote location. Continue reading

Cyber Monday and Beyond – Protecting Your Systems and Your Profits

Cyber Monday could make or break your profits this year. Don’t let servers fail at the crucial time.
Image source: Flickr CC user jbosari

Last year, Cyber Monday traffic spiked by 24 percent. Can your servers handle that? Are you willing to risk it? Cyber Monday is the Black Friday of the online business world and it’s the last chance for many businesses to turn a profit between now and the end of the year. With so much riding on this season, it’s vital you take steps now to ensure your system stays up and running for Cyber Monday. Continue reading

Do You Even Need a Data Retention Policy Anymore?

data retention
Data retention policies are no longer the best way to manage your information.
Image source: Flickr CC user brewbooks

Traditional wisdom says that leaving out the “junk” data that accumulates in systems will make your backups faster and easier to restore. As a result, many businesses use data retention policies that help them differentiate what types of data they will archive versus the data they will backup and keep handy for a restore. But Quorum makes your backup and restore so efficient, a data retention policy becomes less efficient – even a waste of time. Continue reading

Essential Steps in Disaster Preparedness, Part III: The Importance of Testing More Often

disaster preparedness - testing
Testing more often makes you more prepared for disaster.
Image source: Flickr CC user jez`

We hope you’ve been reading along through this series, designed to show you how three steps can make a big difference in the effectiveness of your disaster recovery plans. In Part I, we pointed out how the most detailed DR plans are the most successful. And we talked about setting goals to achieve your DR objectives in Part II. Today, we’ll use Part III to talk about how frequent testing can make or break your disaster recovery. Continue reading

Essential Steps in Disaster Preparedness, Part II: What Are Your Goals?

It’s important to set your disaster preparedness goals.
Image source: Flickr CC user CJS*64

In Part I of this series, we discussed the first essential step in disaster recovery. The devil is in the details when it comes to strong DR planning. But you also need to set goals if you want to meet objectives. It’s the second improvement in a three-pronged approach that will help your business overcome the challenges that achieving a strong disaster recovery plan presents: Be detailed, set goals, and test more often. Continue reading

3 Essential Steps in Disaster Preparedness, Part I: How Detailed Is Your DR?

Detailed disaster recovery plans mean better disaster preparedness.
Image source: Flickr CC user YannGarPhoto

The Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council’s 2014 State of Global Disaster Recovery Preparedness just started keeping hard numbers on how companies are faring in their disaster recovery (DR) efforts. Published in March, the study showed a shocking 73 percent of businesses aren’t prepared. We’re hoping to see some improvement in the coming spring, but there’s reason to believe businesses struggling with disaster preparedness can overcome the challenges with three essential improvements: be detailed, set goals, and test more often. Continue reading