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Blog, Cloud, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, Security, Technology, Uncategorized

How to Prevent Cloud Security Threats


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The end of winter is always a little grim, especially around the UK. The trees are bare, it gets dark way too early, the two-minute dash to the car threatens a soaking and the prospect of sitting outside with a cold beer/cocktail after a long day of work is surprisingly not tempting at all. I hate to be the harbinger of bad news, but it could get worse. Imagine coming in one morning, wind-swept and dripping, to the news that overnight your cloud was victim to a cyber-crime? At that point a cold beer in the snow seems like the best remedy for the situation. Despite everything, the internet isn’t as safe as you’d think, with devious no-gooders lurking around every corner, eager to take advantage of any vulnerability to make a quick buck. It’s especially important when your organisation is connected to the cloud, where your data is internet-facing instead of nicely locked up in an on-prem data centre. It doesn’t mean you should go out and raid Curry’s PC World for enough data storage to build a makeshift data closet though. Here are a few tips to keep your cloud secure, while enabling the innovation, data access and flexibility that you wanted in the first place.

We’re all in this together
The beauty of the network is that it’s all inter-linked. That’s how you can collaborate so easily, and throw your data and apps onto the cloud to access them whenever, wherever. Just remember, every ‘point of entry’ can be the weakest link, so it’s important to educate everyone in your organisation on how to protect themselves to protect the wider network community. It’s important to involve your entire organisation, making them aware that cyber security is just as much their responsibility as it is yours. Unfortunately, the biggest percentage of criminal infiltration comes down to users accidentally letting the cyber criminal in, usually through phishing or malware attempts. Phishing is a bigger threat to your organisation than ransomware is, and it all comes through malicious emails that get acted on. In this super quick blog post, I’ve already covered how to reduce the risk of getting on the phisherman’s hook. Also, it’s important to set up a (non-judgemental) plan for any user who feels that they might have been compromised, without them having to resort to throwing their laptop out of the window. Then you can be sure that they won’t be throwing out hardware willy-nilly, or sweeping incidents under the rug that could cause you harm in the long run.

Secure your data backup plan (just in case)
Data loss is a serious worry, always. Thankfully, in the case of cloud, this worry is slightly less. By storing your data in the cloud, it’s super simple to link your network to a backup storage solution to make sure that whatever happens you’ll be secure. We think that backups are so important that we’ve created a whole extra branch to Cetus; the Continuum Service. I’ve already touched on the 21st century’s answer to tape backup (it’s replication, by the way), and that’s what we offer with Continuum. It’s a full infrastructure recovery, and not just your data- making sure that your underlying server and desktop infrastructure is a-ok to get your business back on its feet in record time. It’s testing, on a regular basis, automatically verifying the integrity of each virtual backup server on its way to cloud, so that you know if something happens there’ll be minimal disruption. It’s a fully-managed service that allows your peace of mind knowing that we have a whole team on the situation, 24 hours a day. It’s a holistic backup and recovery solution that provides local file and VM restoration.

Who has access?
You can build the strongest walls around your building, adopt the most up-to-date firewall and screen every little thing that enters your network, but sometimes it’s important to be weary of the trojan horse plodding through your hallways every day. And by trojan horse, I mean an employee that could be stealing, irresponsibly sharing, or compromising your data. As an IT department, it’s important to assess who has access to what. There is absolutely no reason for Sharon in HR to be able to view or edit financial records, and what on earth could she be doing popping in twice a week at 3am? Establish access controls so that you can manage risk, tying user identities- even external ones- to back-end directories.

It’s important to put security measures in place that will ensure that your data and apps are protected. Why not embrace the latest technologies and adopt a smartphone access control system that will allow you to manage users and assign door access from anywhere?

Encryption and passwords are key
Your cloud can be quite vulnerable. Sitting up there, without the safety of your watchful eye, anything could be happening. It’s a bit like a spaceman floating in the big black expanse that is space, tethered to the International Space Station. He is protected by nothing more than his spacesuit, which shields him from the general elements, but there’s only so much you can do if he gets hit by a meteor. What he needs is an extra layer of bubble wrap and diamond outer shell. In the case of your cloud, this would look less rigidly cosy and more like good passwords and encryption.

In this example, we’re going to look at your spaceman’s bubble wrap; your password. Files in your cloud are zipped and protected with passwords, so it’s important that you choose a strong one. Having a unique password for your cloud is a must- if a hacker gains entry, they would have access to a huge amount of your data so it’s crucial that you keep it as safe as possible. Look into multi-factor authentication (which I’ve already discussed in detail in this post), adding an extra level of protection that you can control with fingerprint and retina biometrics.

If passwords are your spaceman’s bubble wrap, then encryption is his diamond shell, and it’s crucial. Cloud encryption allows your data and apps to be transformed by encryption, shooting up to the cloud securely before being stored. Encrypt at your network’s edge, ensuring that the data gets protected before it even leaves your network. But make sure to keep the encryption and deciphering keys stored away from where you store your data!

So, before you cobble together a makeshift data centre in a panic to protect your information, take a look at the level of security your cloud solution allows. The integrity of your cloud is vital for the health of your business; protecting your data and the access to it should be a priority for IT teams. Contact our Cetus experts to see how we can provide the ultimate protection for your cloud environment.

Speak to an expert

Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

 

Blog, Cetus Solutions, Cloud, Continuum, Technology, Uncategorized

Keeping Up With The Backup Trend


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It’s 2018. IT is evolving at the speed of light. Our mobile phones can do just about everything and still fit in the palm of our hands. We’re talking about 5G data and the possibility of never having to think about broadband again. Scientists are predicting holidays on Mars, being able to travel in drones and creating huge underwater cities- that we could live in. So obviously, in our little corner of computing, all things IT solutions are moving at the speed of light, right?

Right! IT solutions are keeping up and ahead of trends and security risks, while creating new and improved ways to work and use our mobile devices- and this is every day. And this includes backups.

Disaster recovery, business continuity, backups; we all know how important it is to have copies of our data ‘just in case’. And the most prolific of those is,- and has been for over sixty years-; the humble tape. But why? Surely, surely, some IT geek out there has come up with something better, cheaper, more reliable- I don’t know, digital? It’s crazy that in a world where Netflix replaces DVDs and Sky, and Spotify replaces cassette/vinyl/CD collections, we can still be storing our entire businesses onto tape en masse. Especially when we have other options to keep things safe; USB, replication, CDs? So why, with all the new advances in tech, are we still using tape?

Tape does have its limitations, there’s no doubt about that. If a file gets corrupt, you’re stuck; any error and your data will be unrecoverable. Tape can be lost; fire and floods will most definitely disagree with them. If you haven’t a good enough backup you could lose a significant amount of data. Hardware failure, poof. Gone. And if you want to be extra safe and store your backup tapes in a separate location, say to avoid losing everything in the case of a building flood or fire, the time it would take to transport all of those servers would be a cost in and of itself.

Thankfully, the future has arrived. The answer to the modern question; replication.

Replication is the copying of an organisation’s data and then moving it between that organisation’s sites. Unlike a tape backup, replication only stores a ‘snapshot’, keeping the most recent copy saved, instead of the file’s history. But, while it is expensive, it is more in tune with business continuity; should your original system go down, it can take only milliseconds (if you’ve a good one) to switch to the second site- even if it’s hundreds of miles away. You shouldn’t even notice the switch. For all businesses, this is a crucial factor; time offline can cost hundreds of thousands, even if only for a few hours.

Continuum is Cetus Solutions’ answer to all things backup. It comprises four distinct but interconnected elements to give you the best experience in backup. A local Veeam backup solution will gather backups and provide you with a local backup and restore repository. A local cloud backup will provide you with the optimum offsite cloud location for the local repository to target. A backup archive provides a long-term, deep archive repository for replicated backups. And finally, hot running provides the ability for the client’s infrastructure to be run in the Cetus Continuum Cloud. It was designed with your business needs in mind, addressing business continuity challenges that you haven’t even thought of yet;

1. Full infrastructure recovery- and not just data.
For every well-defined disaster recovery plan, there is a focus on data. And this is the focus of Continuum; recovering and protecting the underlying server and desktop infrastructure to make sure that your data remains secure and accessible is one of our top priorities after a disaster, just as much as getting your business back on its feet.

2. We test. A lot.
Testing once a year is no good. You know that, we know that. In the face of a disaster, knowing that everything was hunky-dory when we tested it out a year ago just isn’t going to cut it when you’re having issues now. So we automatically verify and check the integrity of each virtual backup server on its way to the cloud. On top of that, we perform a full recovery test on a regular basis to suit your business needs, that way you just know that if something were to happen, we’ll have you back up and running with minimal disruption. That’s true peace of mind.

3. Fully. Managed. Service.
You read that correctly. Cetus Continuum provides you with not only the state-of-the-art technology, but a whole team of IT professionals who are working behind the scenes to make your business float. We’re on hand 24 hours a day to make sure that your replications and backups are completed successfully each day, and initiate the recovery process in the face of a disaster. So you know that we’re behind you at all times, ready and waiting to come save the day. You could almost call us superheroes.

4. A holistic backup and recovery solution.
What we do at Continuum isn’t rocket science, it’s basic sense. Our ‘secret’? We combine a local backup repository with our secure cloud repository. Tah dah! Because we do it this way, Cetus Continuum provides local file and VM restoration- either under your control or ours, whichever suits you best-, restoration from our cloud or full infrastructure and workspace recovery in our cloud.

We do rave and rave about backups at Cetus. We know that while it is such an important part of your IT, it’s one of those niggly bits that you can easily ignore and put on the long finger- until disaster strikes and you kick yourself for not having sorted it out sooner.
So have a quick chat about Continuum with our experts today and step into the 21st century’s answer to backup.

Speak to an expert

Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.