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Tabush Group's Cloud & Managed IT Blog

Sitting Ducks: What You Can Do to Protect Yourself from the Next Cyberattack

Not long ago I read, “The Untold Story of NotPetya, the Most Devastating Cyberattack in History,” an eye-opening article on Wired about a massive cyberattack that happened roughly a year ago in 2017. If you have 15 minutes, I highly recommend reading it. If you don't, then allow me to summarize: In 2017, NotPetya malware infected large companies such as Merck, Maersk, and others (companies with huge IT teams and thousands of employees), and literally brought their entire operations to a grinding halt for days, if not weeks, costing them upwards of $300 million in damages per company.

This attack was not targeted only at these large companies; it most certainly did the same thing to hundreds of smaller businesses, too.  The only difference is that companies with 20, 50, or even 100 employees often are not newsworthy, and some of them may not have survived the attack. If something like this could happen to these large companies, how at risk are small businesses that do not have multi-million dollar IT budgets? 

The reality is that no matter how many measures of protection a company implements, it is impossible to be 100% secure from threats, which is why backups are critical. In the SMB world, where costs are often a major concern for business owners, too often backups are where the cuts are made. Rather than taking full images of every system and storing them off-site for a period of time, businesses too often choose to save money by only backing up critical servers or databases, sometimes to on-site systems, and checking in on them periodically. This is always a cost-saving measure until it is too late and the company desperately needs to quickly recover their data, either due to a cyberattack, mechanical or software failure, or other outage. Unfortunately, at that point when they finally see the value in proper backups, it is often too late. As an IT service provider, we have lived through situations like this too many times.

In 2015, our company launched Boxtop as a way for businesses to move their entire IT to the cloud so they could leave the complex parts to us and focus on growing their own businesses. Security and backups have always been at the top of our priority list, and because Boxtop is a fully cloud-based solution, we're able to include much more security than a company would typically do on its own. Simply put, rather than having to secure and backup thousands of computers, servers, and devices at over 100 client offices, everything that we need to secure resides in our data centers and was built from the ground up to be highly secure and available. This is similar to modern day banking: every bank does much more to guard funds on deposit than any small business owner could do on his or her own.

One of the most important things that we practice in regards to security is backups. In Boxtop, aside from the many layers of security and monitoring that we employ, we take full image-level backups of every single system each day. This means we take a literal snapshot of every single desktop and server, capturing every bit of information on them, including the applications, documents, files, personal settings, utilities, preferences, even the layout of the desktop icons. We retain a history of backups (not just the most recent set) and store all backups in a completely separate environment to ensure that the backups are isolated from our production systems. Finally, we closely monitor the backups (along with many other parts of our cloud) every day and test them regularly. 

IT is the lifeblood of any business. The data that a firm's IT contains is valuable both to the business and, unfortunately, to the wrong hands should they get a hold of it. It is the responsibility of business owners to understand this and to take the proper precautions to protect what they've spent so much hard work to build. 

If you're a small business owner who is ready to protect your most valuable assets, request a demo of Boxtop.

Topics: Cybersecurity IT Best Practices Boxtop