Remote Workforce Security in the Shadow of Coronavirus

Telecommuting is emerging as the best protection from Coronavirus (apart from the 20-second hand wash). If your organization has switched to remote working, you’re in good company; all major organizations globally – Apple, the US Government, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and Google – have en masse advised their workforce to telework. This has triggered the largest-scale migration to remote work in corporate history, with business-critical workflows and processes now conducted with distributed telework in the cloud. How can you empower your remote teams to work confidently and securely in the cloud? Four pointers to implementing remote workforce security:

Four pointers to improve remote workforce security

#1 Facilitate remote access

Ensure that your workers have high-speed and reliable internet access and remote devices – upgrade their home internet plans/mobile data access, provide webcams/multimedia headphones. Your organization’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) which was probably designed to be used by only a small section of employees, will now be inundated by thousands logging in 24×7. Increase the number of licenses and robustly test the VPN. Consider purchasing bulk plans with real-time collaboration tools like Slack, Trello, Skype, Zoom, Webex, GoTo Meeting, etc. If you’re not already on a SaaS platform like Office 365, G Suite, Salesforce, Box or DropBox, the timing couldn’t be better to get on one ASAP.

#2 WFH requires training too

Employees that have worked from home for the odd day, will now be doing it for more than a few weeks at a stretch. Create video tutorials and guides to train them on using remote applications and technologies, particularly those recently introduced. Assign a local support number or champion for employees to quickly resolve their tech queries/issues.

A productive remote workforce is only possible with a cultural shift to a more flat, inclusive structure with effective mechanisms for digital collaboration. Consider regular video lunch-and-learns, video standups for the team, daily video updates from team leaders, weekly retrospectives, and digital whiteboards.

#3 Secure your devices, applications, network…and employees

While VPNs are secure and encrypt data in transit, they cannot secure the remote employee’s device. An entire spectrum of devices and applications will be connecting to your network and accessing important data. Check that all firewalls, anti-virus software, network monitoring tools are active and auto-updated. Enforce Two-Factor/Multi-Factor Authentication (2FA/MFA) for all work applications.

The weakest link in your organization’s security is your employee, especially the remote employee. Social engineering, phishing, spear-phishing, and business email compromise are top cybersecurity threats that account for 98% of cyber-attacks. Mandate video security training for all your employees on good cybersecurity practices, anti-phishing policies, and secure email hygiene.

#4 Backup your business-critical SaaS data

All that valuable data on your SaaS platforms – Office 365, G Suite, Salesforce, Box, and DropBox – needs a safety net like never before. While they are extremely secure solutions, they cannot protect you from data loss at your end due to malware, hackers, human error, sync errors, and/or malicious deletion. With a majority of your workforce going remote, the likelihood of a data breach due to such issues will rise exponentially.

In fact, in addition to top IT analysts and regulatory laws,  your SaaS providers also strongly recommend that the best defense against a security breach is third-party SaaS backup and recovery. 

Empower your remote workforce to work confidently in the cloud

Your business-critical SaaS data is only as safe and secure as the accuracy of its backup and reliability of its recovery. It can massively improve your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) leading to quick disaster recovery and seamless business continuity. All essential components of remote workforce security. With the majority of workforce remote, it is important to select a backup and restore solution that is geared to the enterprise – scalable, secure and compliant. One that dependably backs up your data with easy restore options – to blunt the stress of data loss in an already volatile situation. So you and your remote workforce can have complete peace of mind to work on the cloud.

CloudAlly pioneered SaaS backup almost a decade ago, and our solutions are proven, robust and top-rated. Over 10,000 IT pros ranked us as a leading backup solution provider in a recent Newsweek survey. We offer comprehensive automated backup of Office 365, G Suite, Salesforce, Box, and DropBox with easy, self-service recovery from any point-in-time with unlimited data retention. Additionally, our solutions are stringently secure with Amazon S3 storage, OAuth/MFA/2FA capability, global data centers, and GDPR/HIPAA compliance checks. Our backup and recovery solutions will empower your organization to confidently thrive in the cloud knowing that your data is safe and secure.

Secure your SaaS data and empower your remote workforce to work confidently on the cloud.

Try a free trial or book a quick demo now!

Nodersok: How Can You Protect Your Enterprise From Malware Threats?

By Slava Gorelik – Founder and VP R&D


Malware threats to data

Hackers are getting more ingenious by the day with fileless invisible malware types that escape detection. Nodersok is the latest in the line, but it is only one amongst many. Top 10 malware infections in 2019 included Emotet, Wannacry, ZeuS, Dridex, and Kovter. How can an organization secure itself against such: malware threats to data?

What is Nodersok?

In September 2019,  researchers from Microsoft’s Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) team discovered a fileless multi-stage infection, node.js based malware. They dubbed it Nodersok. Fileless threats pose a different level of  Malware threats to datachallenge compared to file-based ones and need advanced techniques to manage prevention. Nodersok uses valid tools and ensures nothing malicious is written to the disk. The malice resides in-memory. The entire Nodersok campaign runs in four stages, finally disabling the Windows Defender Antivirus and turning the machine into a proxy. Nodersok has affected a range of industry sectors with a particular fondness for the education sector.

How prevalent are malware attacks?

Different though they are, these forms of malware show certain common aspects:

  • Microsoft Office is a favorite
  • Email is the primary attack vector
  • Over 60% of the attacks target the small business category. 

How do you protect your organization and data from them?

Malware protection in Office 365

New call-to-action

If your enterprise has moved to Office 365, you have taken a step in the right direction. Office 365 comes with built-in protection that prevents the introduction of malware into Office 365 via a client or from an Office 365 server.  Exchange online ensures that all emails travel through the Exchange Online Protector (EOP) which scans and quarantines in real-time.

Microsoft also offers Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) with an email filtering service that provides additional protection against phishing. Similar protection exists for Sharepoint Online and OneDrive for Business as well.  With all the defense in place, malware threats to data still do materialize and while there is no consistent globally agreed way to track and report a cost per infection, in 2018, in the US alone the average cost per breach was $7.9 million.

Data loss from threats like malware are an established reality and enterprises both big and small cannot afford to take the risk. For malware to infest your organization, all it takes is one wrong click, one crafty phishing attack, one infected flash drive. Office 365 cannot protect you from data loss/corruption due to such attacks at your end. This is why third-party SaaS backup is so critical to protecting your organization’s data.

How can SaaS backup protect against Malware threats to data?

The damages of malware threats to an organization include data corruption, data loss, identity theft, and security/network breaches. The repercussions of such an attack go far beyond financial loss; they can decimate a company’s reputation and customer base, which has taken years to build, in a few hours. When struck with a malware attack, the best way to minimize its damage is to ensure business continuity with quick disaster recovery.

Central to that is having a reliable backup and recovery solution. SaaS backup of Office 365 can enable you to easily and quickly recover an accurate copy of your data and can completely blunt the malware attack. Office 365 does come with native solutions like Recycle Bin, however, they offer limited-timespan restores and recovery can be cumbersome. 

How can CloudAlly help?

CloudAlly pioneered cloud backup way back in 2011. Resultantly we have nurtured a mature suite of robust SaaS backup solutions for Office 365 Backup, Sharepoint and OneDrive.  We were also ranked #1 by Newsweek by over 10,000 IT Pros.

We offer a full-featured 15-day free trial which you can activate and start backing up your data in minutes and are very highly rated and recommended by our users. We also offer considerable discounts for educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and as a part of our partner program. Contact us and we will be happy to have an expert guide you.

Malware Removal

Malware Removal (& Ransomware off course)

The information technology industry has for some time now recognized the need for Malware and Ransomware protection, in the form of tools, software, best-practices, and backup. Malware removal – in particular is recently becoming a hot topic with IT pros.

Malware RemovalAnti-virus software firms, and anti-Ransomware detection & removal institutions have long sought to counter this threat to business continuity, in a joint effort to protect, and defend by cyber security methodology.

Surprisingly, in an out of the blue announcement the FBI releases what appears to be a free ‘do-it-yourself’ solution for companies attached by a vicious Ransom virus – GandCrab: “FBI Releases Master Decryption Keys for GandCrab Ransomware.

 Apparently, the FBI has shared this with multiple European agencies in an effort to combat an ultra threatening virus, which makes this a 1st in cyber anti-crime global cooperation.

The full code & story is shared here: www.bleepingcomputer.com 

 

What is GandCrab?

GandCrab operates using a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) business model, selling the right to distribute the malware to affiliates in exchange for 40% of the ransoms. GandCrab was first observed in January 2018 infecting South Korean companies, but GandCrab campaigns quickly expanded globally to include US victims in early 2018, impacting at least 8 critical infrastructure sectors. As a result, GandCrab rapidly rose to become the most prominent affiliate-based ransomware, and was estimated to hold 50% of the ransomware market share by mid-2018. Experts estimate GandCrab infected over 500,000 victims worldwide, causing losses in excess of $300 million.”

Its never too late!

Alternatively, some CIOs conduct preemptive measures to recover from such disasters, by backing up on alternate data centers, such as Amazon AWS (which differ from their business solutions data centers on Azure or Google), and gain the ability to restore from any point in time, any user or their whole MS exchange data, into a new cloud solution installation.

It makes sense to backup on cloud, and for the initial 14 days its completely free to fully try out the capabilities of a backup & restore solution such as CloudAlly.com provides.

Malware Restore

Malware Watch – Restoring from a Malware Incident

Malware Restore – IT managers are often faced with information technology incidents which alter their work environment, and affect their on-going operations, causing them to take measures which restore daily business activity.

Such incidents (where malware restore is necessary) are often ex-organisational and pose a serious concern for business continuity.

Malware activity is such an incident, but what is Malware?  The classic Wikipedia description of Malware is: ” Malware is any software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, client, or computer network. Malware does the damage after it is implanted or introduced in some way into a target’s computer and can take the form of executable code, scripts, active content, and other software. ”

Malware Restore

In a recent real incident a US Florida town decided to pay malicious hackers $600,000 (£475,000) to get its computers working again.  Malicious hackers managed to break into this US town’s computers, and insert a Malware code, which enabled them to disable IT operations until the ransom was paid.

In this case payment was made by Bitcoin, 65 Bitcons, in return for a return to normal IT operations.  This story was recently reported by the BBC Florida town pays $600,000 virus ransom.

It might seem so but this is not an isolated event, news & media organisations such as Associated Press have reported that in 2018, 1,493 such ransomware attacks occurred, resulting in an estimated payout of $3.6m for hackers.

Cyber security firms are a proven resource for trying to stop such incidents before they happen, but more and more its become recognized that 3rd party cloud to cloud backup is an effective recourse to restore data in main business solutions such as Office 365 email exchange, G Suite, Salesforce.com, etc.  Companies which backup their cloud business solutions, are able to restore their data, and setup IT operations again (on a new IT environment), avoiding ransom payments to hackers who wish to disrupt their business and gain from such activity.

Data Protection – Malware Restore

In order to enable a point-in-time restore, its obviously necessary to start by activating a backup for the selected business solution.  Click Here to download our why backup eGuide.

If you’ve experienced such a Malware incidents, and want to learn more about backup, email us.

 

 

 

 

Myspace Data Loss

Loss of cloud data

Loss of data on the cloud can occur for many reasons. A perfect example why business should backup their cloud data applications such as Microsoft Office 365, G Suite, and such … because you can afford to lose your personal cloud stored on 3rd party solutions data, but not your business data.

A recent example of loss of personal data (and business if you’re an artist).

Some IT managers and CIOs (might not be concerned) with or remember Myspace, but in the early 2000’s, it was the leading music-sharing platform. It had millions of songs uploaded to its site between 2003 and 2015, but those songs and all that content are now gone thanks to a server migration error. This week, the social networking company admitted to losing 12 years worth of music—a loss of around 50 million songs.

“As a result of a server migration project, any photos, videos and audio files you uploaded more than three years ago may no longer be available on or from Myspace,” the company stated on its website. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

From 2005 to 2008, Myspace was the most popular social media site before Facebook took over. It was credited with launching numerous music careers for artists such as Kate Nash, Arctic Monkeys, and Calvin Harris, all of whom were discovered on Myspace. And even though it’s been in decline for years, it still held the music of up to 14 million artists that now may be lost.

For many artists, it’s an incredibly sad situation, and it could have been prevented if Myspace had instituted a proper backup and restore solution.

Why Your Cloud Needs a Backup and Restore Solution

The unfortunate truth is that your personal cloud data isn’t 100% safe, particularly during a data or server migration. The problem is that all it takes is one error or sync issue while you’re transferring your data from one system to another and the whole thing could fail. This is especially true when it comes to complex and large projects where many basic conditions must be met throughout the entire transfer.

Even with careful planning of your server migration, things can go wrong that are outside of your control, but these issues are common knowledge to IT managers;

  • Your SaaS provider may experience an outage that halts the migration and accidentally deletes data.
  • Consolidation and virtualization of your data can bog down the system or overload it.
  • During the cloud migration, the security of your data could be compromised.

In all of these cases, your server migration could fail, and your content could be lost permanently.

CloudAlly provides a point in time restore, which protects all of your critical data on a separate system unconnected from a migration situation.  In the case of on-going backup, its necessary to activate a cloud to cloud backup solution for services such as G Suite, Box, Dropbox, Salesforce, Office 365 and more.