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Protecting Your Data Assets From Security Threats

Code on screenBusinesses across the globe spend billions of pounds on trying to protect their data assets. Yet large scale security breaches are happening on a daily basis and it seems that in recent years, the threat has increased.

A recent joint study by BT and KPMG found that only one in five IT decision makers in large companies are confident that their business is prepared for a cyber attack. The research showed that businesses feel constrained by regulation, available resources and a dependence on third parties when responding to attacks. It also flagged the need for larger budgets for security and data protection - 60% of decision makers report that their organisations cyber security is currently financed by the central IT budget.

Another study by the Ponemon Institute has shown that 25% of data breaches can be attributed to human error. Many people mistakenly believe that because they are using cloud email services, the security has been outsourced to Microsoft or Google. But the recent Malware attack on Office 365 proved that businesses simply can’t rely on the built-in security tools. A layered defence is crucial.

The cryptolocker virus is arguably the most severe security threats that is affecting SMEs just now. Recently one of our major clients were hit by the Cryptolocker virus, which had come in on a laptop bought by one of the staff in the USA.

This so-called ransomware works like this:

  • A computer becomes infected with the cryptolocker virus or one of its variants
  • The virus firstly goes through your local disks and encrypts all of your office documents, PDF files, pictures, videos, and music. It uses a 256 bit encryption system which is, to all intents, uncrackable.
  • Then is you are connected to a network, it will search out active shares, on which you have read/write permission, and repeat the encryption performance.
  • At some point you will be presented with a time sensitive proposal – pay us an amount of money within a certain period of time, or lose your files forever.
  • The average cost of recovery from a virus infection of this nature is around £4000 for an SME.

So how can you protect yourself and your business from this critical threat?

  • Firstly, you need a good up to date antivirus program on ALL your PC’s, laptops, and servers. Are you going to risk your entire business on a freebie AV program with no support or warranty? A free program is better than none, but you get what you pay for. Update your staff policies to reflect this.
  • Secondly, turn on Volume Shadow Copy on your workstations and servers. If you don’t know how to do this, call Exsel on 0141 442 0202 for advice and support.
  • Thirdly, Ensure your backups are up to date and working – DO regular test restores.
  • Fourth and finally, the only guaranteed way to protect your business from this, and any other critical failure, is to backup and virtualise your server systems. The benefits of virtualisation are well known in terms of data security, recovery time, and Total Cost of Ownership.

Call Exsel on 0141 442 0202 to arrange an appointment with one of our technical architects and find out what level of protection would be suitable for your business.

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