Expert Interview Series: Richard Patterson of Comparitech.com on Experiences Of An IT Security Expert

Posted on August 17, 2016 by

IT security

Richard Patterson is director and founder of Comparitech.com, a leading consumer advice, comparison and review site for privacy and security products such as VPNs, password managers and online backup.

Your bio states you’re a blogger with a huge passion for information security. How did that passion develop? What was your motivation behind starting Comparitech.com?

There’s lots of great information on the web for those looking to understand more about information security and how to protect their privacy, yet there’s a lack of really great resources that pull together both consumer advice, product reviews and comparison. Comparitech.com addresses that need by providing educational articles and tutorials alongside detailed product reviews and comparison all in one place.

What have been one or two of the most unexpected outcomes of running Comparitech.com?

One outcome, which has been pleasantly surprising rather than entirely unexpected, is meeting lots of great people in the information security industry and seeing the passion they have for it. In particular the passion people have around protecting privacy is amazing to see and plays a vital role in keeping corporations and governments in check over these issues.

Comparitech.com, researches and compares security and privacy related products. What are some of the hallmarks of outstanding internet security software, in your experience?

Ease of use is essential, anything that’s complicated, or appears complicated, won’t be adopted by the masses. This is particularly true in information security where having a simple effective solution is paramount.

A second is consistency, in information security working well most of the time doesn’t cut it, no one would sign-up to an antivirus product that stops quite a lot of threats. While no internet security products are 100% effective, blocking the vast majority of threats is vital or the company’s reputation will soon be ruined. Thankfully there’s data consumers can see on the the effectiveness of internet security solutions, we cover this in our reviews and consumers can also download free reports from companies like SE Labs who test the real world effectiveness of internet security products.

Are more consumers becoming interested in information security? If so, what are some of the reasons for the increased interest?

There is an increased awareness, but there’s still too much apathy towards information security with many consumers only taking an interest reactively, after an account has been hacked, their identity stolen or their files encrypted by ransomware. Sadly, the increased awareness is largely down to an increase in cybercrime with one in ten adults a victim in the last 12 months according to the ONS.

As more of our lives become connected the opportunity for hackers increases and this in turn leads to greater media coverage of information security and greater consumer awareness. The glut of high profile company hacks, the rise of ransomware and the scare stories around how hackers could infiltrate the Internet of Things all contribute to raising awareness. There is more being done by companies, charities and governments to raise awareness yet the statistics of ever increasing cybercrime show it’s not nearly enough.

Comparitech.com reviews Password Manager programs, including free and paid options. Are Password Managers secure, generally? Are there any particularly good free options out there, that you can recommend?

The security of password managers is an interesting topic, LastPass have recently been in the news after a vulnerability was exposed and some experts worry about the risk of keeping so many login credentials in one place. The consensus is that password managers still offer more benefits than risks and using a password manager to generate and remember hard-to-guess passwords certainly beats using the same password for multiple accounts. You can see both sides of the coin argued for and against password managers here.

There are plenty of good free options available, despite the recent vulnerability we still liked the free version of LastPass in our review, we also like the open source password manager KeePass, it’s free and offers great security although it is not quite so easy to use as some of the slicker commercial alternatives.

A recent Comparitech.com survey found that Windows users were prepared to jump ship and move to Mac in light of Windows 10 privacy issues, how big an issue is this?

It has potential to cause serious damage to the Windows brand and Microsoft’s bottom line. My gut feeling is that these issues will be addressed as Microsoft can’t afford not to. Any company that seriously compromises its customers’ privacy is likely to be in for a hard time.

Comparitech.com has been quite vocal in opposition to Netflix’s VPN ban, what are your main concerns?

Any company that bans products which protect consumers’ security and privacy is going to upset a lot of people, me included. Aside from the privacy and security benefits of encrypting traffic and concealing a user’s location, many consumers use VPNs to access geo-blacked content. In the case of fee-paying Netflix users who are outside the US, many use VPNs to access the wider range of content available to US subscribers. It’s currently a game of cat and mouse with Netflix banning VPNs and VPNs finding workarounds, we’re got an updated list of VPNs that work with Netflix here.

Before everything was networked and interconnected, things like print-outs and in office mail could be possible security risks. What are a few simple security risks people might be overlooking? What are some of the potential dangers of these threats?

The most basic things are often overlooked. Six often repeated yet still ignored pieces of advice are:

    • Keep your devices updated, updates often patch security vulnerabilities.
    • Don’t click on links or open attachments in emails if you don’t know who they are from or if they look suspicious, even if you know the sender their account may have been hacked.
    • Don’t use the same login and password details on multiple sites, if a hacker gets his or her hands on this they could soon be in to all of your accounts and assuming your identity.
    • Check privacy settings on social media and apps, particularly Facebook or you may unwittingly be sharing more than you think. For example, if you’re going on holiday you probably don’t want to broadcast it publicly on Facebook.
    • Use an internet security product, I’d advise using a paid one, there are plenty of good ones available. If you don’t want to pay for one the reputable free ones are certainly better than nothing.
    • Be careful how you use free public Wi-Fi, hackers can intercept data and collect valuable personal information and passwords. If you use public Wi-Fi don’t use if to provide sensitive information or for financial transactions, if in doubt use your mobile network instead. If you have a VPN turn this on to encrypt your traffic when using public Wi-Fi.

Want to learn more about information about Internet security? Click here to learn more about Backbox.

Less Talk, More Action: It’s Time to Get Real With Big Data

Posted on July 3, 2016 by

After years of discussion about the merits of big data, the best tools for analytics, and how to keep all the data backed up and secure, 2016 is the year that organizations are finally settling down and putting actual big data initiatives to work in the real world. What does that entail? Here’s a step by step guide for getting your organization out of the talking phase and into the action phase.

It’s Time to Embrace the Cloud

Big data

The debate over cloud has run its course. With hybrid solutions, you can have the security your business demands, while still cashing in on the flexibility, scalability, affordability, and convenience of the cloud.

Without the cloud, acquiring the storage and processing power you need to run a big data project is likely to be too costly. It will take years to glean a meaningful RIO from big data if you invest in all of the hardware and on-premises software you need to do everything in-house. Opt for a scalable, affordable cloud storage solution so that your big data project can begin turning a profit in months, not years. You can also invest in cloud-based analytics, and even backup and disaster recovery in the cloud.

It’s Time to Choose the Tools

For all its shortcomings, Hadoop is the go-to infrastructure when it comes to big data. However, Hadoop now plays nicely with other big data tools and solutions, including Spark, Hive, Pig, and an entire ecosystem of products. Whether you need batch processing, streaming in real time, or just a near real-time solution, the tools are there and have evolved to the point of being practical for big data analytics of all sorts. A lack of easy to understand, easy to use tools is no longer a hindrance for organizations wishing to cash in on big data and analytics.

It’s Time to Decide Where to Start with Big Data

Big data

There are many places to start with big data. Marketing gurus have leveraged it for the greatest potential, and there are excellent BI tools and security solutions that depend on big data, as well.

The best chance a business has for getting on board with big data is to begin with a single, limited project, and then to build on the infrastructure, knowledge, and skills developed at the onset. The most obvious place to put big data to work is for marketing. But you can also leverage it effectively for business intelligence, operational intelligence, research and development, and even security. Pick the greatest need and hone your skills there. Then, you can easily expand your big data operations to include other projects and departments.

It’s Time to Get Serious About Backups & Security

The ‘elephant in the room’ is always ‘how secure is your data’. When you take on massive amounts of data, you also assume the responsibility for its security. For security reasons, as well as compliance and practical reasons, it is essential to protect your data with a solid, reliable backup solution. If you engage in good data cleansing practices, you will remove all of the redundant, erroneous, and outdated information from your data stores, making it faster, easier, and more efficient to keep the data backed up. In addition to any onsite stores you have, you will also need to back up to a cloud solution, so that even if your primary data stores are compromised, you still have a safe, secure backup stored with your cloud service provider. These services also include disaster recovery plans, so that you can restore your operations even if primary stores are completely destroyed.

To get started with your backup solution, contact us at Backbox today.

At the End of the School Year, Will You Score an ‘F’ on Data Security 101?

Posted on July 1, 2016 by

There is a lot of excitement over the latest advancements in cyber security tools and solutions. Some leverage big data, while others turn to a keen monitoring system (which is also likely to depend on big data). But where most organizations are getting it wrong is in the basics. Instead of focusing on state of the art monitoring and security solutions, get back to the basics of cyber security. Once those are in place and working as they should, you can then tack on the more sophisticated solutions, and have a dependable, reliable security solution. Are you scoring well on these basics security practices?

A Reputable, Reliable Antivirus Solution — Company Wide

Data security

While the free antivirus products are adequate for most individual users, it isn’t a strong enough solution at the business level. Make sure all your devices have the best antivirus protection you can buy.

While there are a lot of free antivirus programs available online, none offers the comprehensive protection that is needed for business purposes. Since businesses have more valuable data to steal than individuals do, they are far more often the targets of phishing scams, malware, and ransomware attacks. This calls for a paid solution, which needs to be utilized across the company. One single device that accesses your network without good protection is the weak link that could break the chain.

Up to Date Software & Firmware

Patching is another security basic that many businesses receive an ‘F’ on. Yet it is essential for protecting against zero-day vulnerabilities and other new and emerging threats. Don’t forget that firmware, too! Firmware includes updated software for your routers, firewalls, printers, and other devices. Also, if you have BYOD in place, insist that all users keep their mobile devices and personal systems updated in order to access the network.

Maintain Secure Firewall Configurations

Usually, when the firewall is first installed, the IT manager or network administrator sets up and configures the firewall properly. But then, during troubleshooting, when someone needs to download something, or other mundane tasks, the firewall gets reconfigured to a less secure setting, and never set back. The surest way to prevent a poorly configured firewall from costing you the grade is to add a firewall check to your regular maintenance routine. When you back up systems, install updates and patches, etc., checking and properly configuring the firewalls should be on that list of To-Dos.

Consistent, Regular Training Across the Business

Data security

How can employees recognize suspicious emails that slip through the junk or spam filters? How can they avoid phishing scams and detect suspicious websites? Keep them trained on the latest threats and protective measures.

Perhaps the single most vulnerable aspect of any good security plan is the human element. People don’t understand what constitutes a threat or dangerous activities, or they forget, or they get distracted and let their good judgment slip for a moment. Unfortunately, a moment is all it takes. Institute a good training program, and then establish a plan for keeping workers reminded of their training, informed of the latest threats, and on their guard. A well-trained workforce is far less likely to hand over their login credentials to a phisher or to visit a suspicious website.

A Top Notch Backup Solution

Your only real defense in the event of a security breach is a good backup solution. It needs to be disconnected to your primary systems, so that any malware or other nastiness that infects your primary data stores, applications, etc. will not be able to reach and infect your backups. A cloud-based solution is ideal, because it provides both a physical and a virtual separation of your backups from your business systems. It’s also the most affordable and convenient way to achieve a good backup and disaster recovery solution.

For the backup and DR products and services you need, visit and learn more about Backbox today.

Expert Interview Series: Alexander Omelchenko of Pranas.NET/Sqlbak on SQL Backup

Posted on June 16, 2016 by

SQL backup

Alexandr Omelchenko is the Pranas.NET/SqlBak Marketing Manager.

Tell us about Sqlbak.com. What services do you offer? Who should be using your services?

SqlBak.com is an online SQL Server backup service (it only requires the installation of a tiny Sql Backup Client on your SQL Server) which makes database backup according to your schedule and sends them to selected destinations.
With the help of SqlBak.com you can:

    • Set up your settings from the web, i.e. you don’t need a direct access to SQL Server.
    • Create SQL Server database backups and send them to any of your own backup storages (local/network folder, NAS, External HDD drive, FTP, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or Amazon S3).
    • Restore SQL backups.
    • Monitor SQL Server health.
    • Get backup success/failure or SQL server outage email notifications.
    • Built in white label (private label) solution for your customers using SQL Server.

Our potential customers are:

    • Database administrators who manage their company’s multiple SQL Server servers.
    • Companies that maintain multiple SQL Server servers of their customers.
    • Companies that use SQL Server in their products and require an integrated backup.
    • POS terminal owners and servicing companies.
    • All those who want to maintain their SQL backups remotely.

What are the most common mistakes that your clients make when it comes to their SQL server databases?

Users have to pay special attention to their backup destinations; sometimes there’s simply no free space to store backups and SqlBak cannot perform next backup according to the schedule.

Another common mistake is that database backup can be performed with the help of a different backup software that takes a snapshot (VSS copies – Volume Shadow Copy) of user’s databases which can cause the chain of backups to be broken and invalidate previous DIFFERENTIAL backups.

How could these mistakes have been prevented?

We recommend users be more cautious when it comes to backup settings and maintenance. Also, it’s a good practice to periodically try to restore your backups. Advanced users say that you need not care about database backup, but you should care about database restoration.

What tools or resources should web developers use to help backup their databases?

Speaking about SQL Server, there are many backup applications available in the market today, from complex and expensive RedGates’s solutions to simple utilities like SQLBackupAndFTP (sqlbackupandftp.com).

And, of course, we recommend sqlbak.com for those developers and administrators who manage dozens of similar SQL Server instances (for example in POS terminals, store chains, etc.) as it allows them to manage backups of all those instances from a single webpage.

How has the way databases are being backed up evolved since you’ve started your career?

In the old days I had to write some custom scripts to backup databases to other media (typically tapes) and analyze logs. Today backups are sent to various online data storages located thousands of miles away with instant email notifications in case of failure. And, of course, the size of a backup has grown from megabytes to gigabytes and even terabytes.

Anyway, probably the main breakthrough is that you can manage your database backups from any place from the web (even from your phone).

What are the biggest security threats to databases today?

Of course there are viruses, hardware failure, power failure, etc., but I believe the human factor to be the biggest security threat at any given time.

How can enterprises protect their databases from such threats?

I think the best way of protecting your databases from disaster is to make backups regularly and make sure that your backups can be restored to the equivalent and operable database.

What trends or innovations in database security are you most excited about right now?

One of the most exciting innovations pertains to the domain of Security Intelligence. Because of the huge flow of investment this sector is developing very rapidly. New possibilities like data analytics as a cloud service which continuously monitors and analyzes all network traffic to prevent any abnormalities or threats. All collected data is then used to promptly create a policy to firewall network access or the data or in other cases prevent a user from accessing any particular data.

Learn more about Backbox.

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s … Your System Backups?

Posted on June 10, 2016 by

Cloud backup and disaster recovery products are soaring. According to a recent research study, the cloud backup and disaster recovery market is expected to grow at a rate of nearly 13 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between this year and the year 2020. This is compared to an overall cloud market growth rate of about 16 percent (according to Gartner).

What’s Driving the Growth of Cloud Backup & DR?

System backups Is your backup ready to hit the friendly skies and soar into the cloud? Cloud backup and disaster products are growing at a rapid pace.

There are several factors driving the growth of these cloud-based products. First, cloud backup services typically backup copies of important business files to multiple servers. That means that the data is not threatened by the failure of a single server or other piece of hardware. Additionally, cloud-based backups and DR solutions come with the highest level of encryption available — usually the same type and grade of encryption used by banks to store and transmit critical financial data.

Cloud backups are also safe from any physical threats that may damage or destroy primary systems. For example, if backups are kept only onsite, or even in a nearby storage facility, those backups would be subject to the same threats that could take out the primary systems. Many threats are regional, meaning that many different facilities in the vicinity could be damaged or destroyed by the same threats, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, etc.

Cloud backups are also more convenient. These products come with a high level of automation and very easy to use, intuitive interfaces. A simple backup does more than make IT’s job easier. Simplicity in the backup process also makes it more likely that the backups will actually get done. In IT departments that are increasingly faced with more to do and fewer resources and personnel with which to get it done, this is important.

How Can Businesses Get the Most Out of Cloud Backup & DR Solutions?

System backups Rain-proof your backups by putting them in the cloud, where they won’t be susceptible to the disasters that take out your systems.

But the same report that predicted cloud backup and disaster recovery products were flying as high as the skies also had some recommendations to make to businesses that planned to make use of these products.

First, businesses need to carefully define what a “disaster” is. The big headline newsmakers are rare, and most businesses will never face these types of events. What most companies will face at some point are mundane “disasters” like hardware failures.

Second, companies need to understand the difference between a backup and a disaster recovery solution. While backups are a critical part of a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, DR is much more. It includes documentation, a plan for recovery in any number of situations, identifies who is responsible for what aspects of recovery, and much more.

Finally, businesses need to be aware of the differences between a comprehensive “full” backup and supplemental partial backups. While it’s fine (even advisable) to partially back up only the new or altered data regularly, those partial backups need to be supported by full, comprehensive backups on a regular basis.

Are you ready to fly high with cloud based backup and disaster recovery solutions? Learn more about Backbox today.

The Panama Papers Explained: What are They, What Will Happen When They are Made Public, and What Can We Learn from the Breach Behind Them?

Posted on June 6, 2016 by

Most data breaches amount to the loss of a few thousand records. The larger ones — the real newsmakers — score a few million records. The Panama Papers are comprised of more than 11 million documents, records on 214,000 separate offshore companies, for a grand total of 2.6 terabytes. That is slightly more data than the average academic research library holds. Welcome to the biggest data breach in history. The Panama Papers were so enormous that it took a worldwide collaborative effort by journalists to piece it all together. More than 400 journalists, representing about 100 different media organizations, in about 80 countries participated.

What are the Panama Papers?

Panama papers explained

While there are legitimate reasons to set up offshore companies, the overwhelming majority of these are done to skirt paying taxes, avoid the law, or hide money from a spouse or ex, among other shady reasons.

The Panama Papers were first offered to Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) , a well-known and highly respected German newspaper. As the massive amount of information was a bit much for their staff to manage, the effort eventually grew to become a project of the ICIJ, or International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. No one could put it any better than did USA Today, which wrote, “Panama Papers read like Who’s Who of world power”. In addition to heads of state, politicians, and known international criminals, the list also includes celebrities like American athletes.

Where Did the Panama Papers Come From?

The papers — or database as it has become — is comprised of data apparently hacked from Mossack Fonseca’s database. Mossack Fonseca is a law firm in Panama (hence, the Panama Papers) that sets up “shell companies” in order to hide the owners’ assets. It includes records dating from the 1970’s to spring of this year. Before the Panama Papers, there was a much smaller leak of data from Mossack Fonseca’s records, which led to fines imposed on Commerzbank, HSH Nordbank, and Hypovereinsbank for their dealings with the shady law firm.

The database does come with a disclaimer. “Please read the statement below before searching. There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies, or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted inappropriately. If you find an error in this database, please get in touch with us.”

Who is this hacker, responsible for the largest data breach of all time? No one knows. The anonymous person reached out to SZ, demanding no payment and basically nothing for his/her efforts, apart from some security precautions. The deliverer of information said that they only wanted the crimes and criminals to be exposed.

Who’s in the Panama Papers?

Panama papers

The effects of the Panama Papers aren’t just being felt among those listed in the database. It’s already led to the closings of multiple offices of Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm where the data came from.

And exposed they have been! So far, the prime minister of Iceland, the British prime minister, and more than 140 other politicians and world leaders from 50 different countries have found themselves in hot water over their listings in the Panama Papers.

If you’re a business person or an IT pro, your question probably isn’t, “Who’s on the list,” but instead is something like, “How can we keep our databases more secure than those of that Panamanian law firm?” The answer is to turn your critical backup and disaster recovery over to the security experts at Backbox. Contact us to get started today.

Fun, Sun, and … Data Security? How to Keep Your Data Safe as the Staff Heads Out for Vacation

Posted on June 3, 2016 by

Ah, time for vacation. It’s time to slather down in sunscreen, grab the family, and head to somewhere sunny with lots of all-you-can-eat buffets and some excellent views. Who’s worried about data security? We’ve got seafood and water toys! Well, data security, unfortunately, doesn’t take a holiday. That means that your careful vigilance about protecting your systems and data shouldn’t, either. Here’s what to know as everyone heads off to paradise, leaving their good security sense back at the office.

Security Procedures Before Folks Head Out

Keep your data safe

The seagulls aren’t the only ones eyeing your beach bag for tasty treats. Hackers and thieves tend to do that, too.

Weary travelers in need of a break aren’t the only ones lurking around top vacation destinations. Most are now frequented by hackers with their bogus Wi-Fi hotspots and malware. Before leaving, update all your devices to the most current version of your antivirus software, including your smartphone. Don’t take any devices you have no real need for; that’s just risking one being lost or stolen for no reason. The devices you do take should be thoroughly backed up before you leave. Go ahead and wipe any sensitive data off the device. You can restore that from backup once you return. Be sure to leave a copy of your backups at the office and/or at home so that anything that happens to your devices won’t also happen to your backup copies. Better yet, back all your devices up to the cloud. Consider installing an app that will allow you to remote wipe a device that gets lost or stolen. Those are last resort measures, but can prevent a data breach that would be much worse.

Security Procedures While They’re Away from the Office

Workers who don’t really need system access while they’re away should just not log in. Those workers who do have a legitimate need to log in should do so using a secure VPN. Insist that workers use good judgment with their devices, because those devices likely hold login information, even if all of the sensitive data has been deleted. Remember, just because you pay for Wi-Fi doesn’t mean it’s secure. Always assume that hackers are lurking on local hotspots, because in many cases, they are. Don’t leave bags unattended in public, and don’t assume that all is safe in the hotel. Make use of hotel safes and other security measures, when available. If you feel your device has been breached in any way during your trip, shut it down and contact IT immediately. If they have a heads-up, they might be able to stop or prevent an intrusion or data breach.

Security Procedures When Travelers Come Back from Vacation

Keep your data safe

It isn’t fun thinking about cyber security during your vacay, but your efforts will be repaid when all you bring home are seashells and a sunburn instead of viruses and a data breach. Your boss will thank you.

The first thing to do upon returning home is to run a thorough antivirus scan. Ideally, you will update your antivirus software again (in case any new virus patches have been released while you were away), and then run a whole system scan. Then you can back up any data you created while you were gone, and restore your sensitive data from backup that was deleted before you left.

Are you looking for an easier, more secure way to keep your business systems backed up? Then you’re looking for Backbox. Learn more about Backbox now.

Do You Need Audit Trails or a Backup Solution for Your CRM? Actually, You Need Both

Posted on June 1, 2016 by

Say a worker sues you for wrongful termination. Maybe you have to sue someone else for the theft of your intellectual property. Or, your business could be accused of abusive sales tactics. There are many reasons why you might need to be able to produce thorough and accurate records to protect your business’ interests in court. Many companies depend on either a regular backup of their CRM software or an audit trail. Which do you need? Actually, you need both.

Why Backing Up a CRM is Tricky

Backup solution

Backups aren’t just for restoring corrupted files or protecting you against a system failure. Backups and audit trails are also essential for protecting your business’ interests in the event of litigation.

Getting a good backup copy of your CRM is a bit like trying to photograph a moving semi truck. The data is constantly changing. Most CRM software nowadays has customer-facing functionality, meaning it has to be up and available for use around the clock. Unfortunately, CRM software vendors usually only provide backups once per week, which won’t be adequate if a subpoena comes knocking. You will need to supplement your CRM vendor’s backups with your own copies. A complete copy of backups should be done about once each week, with supplemental backups that include only the data that has been added or changed, to be done at least once per day.

Inherent Flaws in CRM Audit Trails

An audit trial will allow you to reconstruct the development of critical documents and records, which is often essential in proving your case in a court of law. An audit trail needs to include the name of the record, the values of the record before editing, the values of the record after editing, the identity of the person who edited the record, and the time that the changes were made. This metadata isn’t always included in a CRM backup, which is why you need an audit trail, as well.

Backups & Audit Trails for Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity

Litigation isn’t the only reason to keep backups and audit trails of your CRM software. It’s also essential for disaster recovery and business continuity. Disasters aren’t just limited to a hurricane or earthquake wiping out your systems — it can be something as simple as accidentally merging accounts and needing to roll back to a point in time before that nastiness occurred. Or, it could be a worker who accidentally mass deleted a lot of your CRM data, which can have cascading effects. Again, there are no tools to clean up these kinds of disasters. Your only possibility for restoring the CRM to normal is with solid backups.

What You Will Need in the Event of Litigation

Backup solution

Unlike physical copies of your data kept onsite, backups stored in the cloud can’t be accessed or tampered with if someone in your organization is trying to hide their wrongdoing.

If you are called to court over a situation like one of those above, it most likely won’t happen for three to six years after the event. So, you need to be keeping seven years’ worth of backups and audit trails. This is also important for issues of compliance.

For the backup and disaster recovery solutions you need, Backbox is your answer. Contact us to learn more or to get started on your BDR solution today.

How Backbox Masters Application Monitoring

Posted on May 30, 2016 by

Today’s users are more demanding than ever. Little is tolerated in the way of latency, and even minor changes in the performance of the network or applications can lead to a flurry of complaints. That makes it essential to stay on top of application performance. But there is another issue, as well. Monitoring the performance of an application and the users and devices that regularly access that application is a critical key in terms of assuring network security. Here’s what application monitoring is, what it does, and how to get it for your business network.

Application Monitoring Defined

Application monitoring

Are your applications playing nicely on your network? Are there impending issues that could lead to performance degradation or downtime? Avoid potential problems and optimize performance with a solid application monitoring solution like Backbox.

According to Techopedia, application monitoring is a means for assuring that a software application and its related processes are performing in the way that they are expected to. It is also sometimes called application performance monitoring (APM) or application performance management (APM). The technique of application monitoring regularly identifies, monitors, measures, and evaluates the performance of a software application, and includes a means for isolating and rectifying any problems or issues that are detected. Application monitoring is usually achieved via a product or tool that collects and reports on runtime metrics regarding system performance. The metrics collected include transaction times, system response times, transaction volumes, and general system health and the health of the back-end infrastructure. A dashboard is usually provided by the application monitoring vendor to deliver the relevant information and data to the application or network administrator.

Benefits of Application Monitoring

Application monitoring allows the IT administrator(s) to see how applications are managing CPM usage, available memory resources, data throughput, available bandwidth, etc. This monitoring and reporting allows administrators to detect and correct any issues before those issues develop into full-blown incidents. The tool monitors the applications in play and sets a baseline for normal performance and activity. Using that baseline, it can then detect abnormal activity that could indicate a developing problem before it affects user performance. These tools can be used to monitor applications that run locally, as well as any cloud-based applications and/or mobile applications that are in use on the network.

What to Look for in an Application Monitoring Tool

Application monitoring

The APM reports back to the administrator via a handy dashboard, keeping them informed of application performance all of the time, including CPU use, memory usage, bandwidth consumption, and more.

The first thing to look for in an application monitoring tool or vendor is support for the applications you depend on to run your business every day. The second thing to check for is their security record. You will also need to make sure that the vendor is able to meet any requirements your business is subject to in terms of regulatory compliance. It’s also nice to have a product that does more than simple application monitoring, such as a backup and disaster recovery solution.

You can find all of this and much more in the Backbox solution. Learn more about Backbox and our full line of application monitoring, backup, and DR solutions today.

IT Shocker: New Study Reveals That Even in 2016, One-Third of Businesses Aren’t Backing Up Their Data

Posted on May 27, 2016 by

A recent survey has shed light on an astounding statistic: even in 2016 — when data breaches, ransomware, and other security threats are a dime a dozen — a whopping 49 percent of businesses have just one single copy of their data. The survey indicates an overall lax attitude about backups, meaning most businesses are wide open to operational disruptions, lawsuits, and other threats.

Only about 36 percent of all enterprise-size businesses are backing up regularly and completely. Almost the same number aren’t backing up their data at all. Another 27 percent admit that they have already lost their business data on multiple occasions, meaning that even after being hit, they aren’t wising up about backups.

Automated Backups Reduce Problems with Human Errors

Backing up their data

Tape backups are cumbersome, harder to restore, and less convenient and safe than cloud backups.

The study also found that 42 percent of businesses depend on automated backups, which is a good thing because it reduces the chances of human errors. However, this silver lining is counterbalanced by another dark cloud: almost that many are only backing up their data occasionally, many as infrequently as once each week. Around 44 percent of the businesses that participated in the survey rely on external storage devices for backing up, such as tape drives, and only about 26 percent have tapped into the advantages of convenient, secure, reliable, and affordable, cloud backup services.

Some 55 percent of respondents were very satisfied with their current backups, meaning that nearly half are in the market for better solutions. About 36 percent say that their backups are working out okay for them, which indicates that a majority are in the market for a better way to backup and restore their critical business data.

More Threats to Business Data Than Ever Before

Backing up their data

No backup solution is any better than its restore process, which is where cloud backups truly trump onsite alternatives.

While modern cyber security threats continue to grow in terms of seriousness as well as frequency, businesses are still faced with the same old threats that have always called for the need for backups — hard disk failures, server failures, and ordinary natural disasters like fire, tornado, floods, and earthquakes. Other growing threats to business data include ransomware attacks, malware threats, the theft of intellectual properties, the theft or compromise of sensitive consumer data, etc.

Why Cloud Backup Solutions are Preferable to On-Premises Solutions

The only sure way to protect against any of these disasters is a regular, thorough, and ready-to-restore cloud-based backup. Cloud backups have many distinct advantages over on-premises backups. First, they aren’t prone to tape failures and other hardware failures that often render backups useless. Second, cloud backups are far removed from the primary data center, meaning they are not likely to be affected by any natural disasters that take out primary systems. Cloud backups are also generally more secure, since cloud service providers thrive on their ability to secure and protect the businesses they serve.

To get the backup and restoration products you need today, contact us at Backbox. Our automated, cloud-based backup and disaster recovery solutions make it easy and affordable to protect the data that drives your business.