​How Cloud Backup Can Protect Against Ransomware

Amongst all kinds of computer attacks, ransomware is the worst. While malware would corrupt some files, and adware might simply make your web-browser to slow down, ransomware is just a whole other ball game. Ransomware could be taken care of by implementing a decent security procedure, teaching employees about its dangers, adding good antivirus program, and using a robust cloud back service.
A ransomware program encrypts and locks important files and documents on a computer. The attacker then demands a ransom in exchange for the decryption key that can unlock the computer. To stay off the radar of cyber security researchers and law enforcement agencies, these attackers usually demand payment in Bitcoins, making it even more difficult to track them down. So, what can you do to protect yourself? A cloud backup service that is capable of bare metal resource is the answer.

Ransomware is the #1 Security Concern for Organizations Today

A recent survey from Osterman Research* revealed that 21% of companies did not suffer any kind of ransomware attacks with in the previous 12 months, while double that amount, 41%, of the participating organizations suffered at least one ransomware attack during the same period. Another report** released by Symantec, revealed that there were about 130,000 ransomware infections in March 2016 alone. This is shocking, but unfortunately true.
Ransomware has become a major threat for most organizations around the world. The fact that cyber criminals are able to exploit phishing emails so efficiently, and use a complex set of evasive techniques to go unnoticed by even the best security programs is a matter of concern for IT security firms.

How are Hackers Able to Attack Your Systems and Get Away With it?

A ransomware uses any of the following tactics to remain anonymous while infecting your system:

  • Fast Flux, a DNS technique that helps it to remain hidden behind a constantly changing network of compromised hosts that act as proxies.
  • Traffic anonymizers such as Bitcoin or TOR. These make it impossible for law enforcement agencies to detect it.
  • It can become dormant if need be, and be made to attack the system when it’s most vulnerable. The fact it can be fast and super effective also helps in its execution.
  • It takes advantage of domain shadowing that hides the communication between the downloader (payload) and server of origin.

How Cloud Backup Help?

No matter how strong your security system is, there is always a possibility of a cyber attack. However, when a ransomware is involved, there is little hope for protection. The only way to protect your crucial business data from these attacks is to set a cloud backup system that is capable of bare metal restore.
Ransomware hackers often destroy all of your data if the ransom is not pain on time. Thus, file systems that are in the infected machine are gone forever. If you are using an in-house, on-premise, local backup system, then a ransomware can easily render the disaster recovery mechanism useless. An experienced cloud backup solution provider, on the other hand, can provide a much better protection. Make sure that you ask for a ransomware protection when selecting the cloud backup vendor.
Data Deposit Box offers a complete cloud backup and recovery solution, via software and local appliance, which provides numerous ransomware recovery options. Data Deposit Box’s technology provides ransomware recovery for granular file, folder, virtual system, databases, and complete system restores for servers and workstations in one complete SMB-focused solution.
Unlike other image-based solutions that allow for ransomware recovery, Data Deposit Box provides customized, configurable and complete granular recovery solution, bare-metal and full system recovery (workstations and servers), file versioning, Point-in-Time recovery, SQL Database, Exchange, and VMWARE generation recovery; avoiding actual backup files from become infected.
Please visit the Ransomware page for more information.
* https://goo.gl/sGtm9i
** https://goo.gl/bMb3Eg

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What are the Options for Local, On-Premise Storage?

The majority of computer users are aware of the developments in the CPU and GPU technology. They know when the new-gen processors are going to hit the shelves, or what are the best GPUs for high-end 3D animation or other GPU-based software such as CAD. While these technologies get all the limelight, other integral components of a computer system, such as the storage is put on the backburner. By using a better storage than the traditional options, you can not only improve the boot time significantly but also minimize the chances of data corruption.
There are a variety of storage options that you can choose from:

Hard Disk Drives (HDD)

The mechanical drive, or the hard disk drive (HDD) was invented more than six decades ago, but it is still one of the most popular storage devices around the world. The reason is simple — it is inexpensive, but proved to be reliable. You can get a 6TB hard drive from Seagate or Western Digital for anywhere about $300 USD.
One major problem with mechanical drive, however, is its limited speed. The average reading and writing speeds of a standard 7200rpm hard disk drive are 128MB/s and 120MB/s respectively, which can be considered slow by many companies.
Mechanical drives also tend to have a short lifespan. This is because the moving parts (actuator arm, reading head) inside the device are delicate, and even a strong jerk or blow can render it dysfunctional.

Solid State Drives (SSD)

In comparison to mechanical drives, an SSD is certainly a major improvement. Not only its transfer rates are impressive (200 MB/s to a maximum of 1500 MB/s easily), but also it is far more reliable. This is because unlike the mechanical drives, SSDs don’t have any moving parts inside them, and hence the name “Solid State Drive” given to them.
While solid state drives are usually recommended over mechanical drives, they do come at a high price. A mere 1TB SSD will cost about $450 USD — https://goo.gl/IHqXcC. Thus, they are typically used as the primary boot drives in laptops and desktops, and not for storing large amounts of data.

Network Attached Storage (NAS)

Many small-scale and medium-scale IT companies use Network Attached Storage (NAS), mainly for backup purposes. This is because you can plug in as many hard drives in the system and store large amounts of data. Implementing a RAID system is also easy with NAS. Since NAS network is always active, you can also use it for implementing automated scheduled backups.

Cloud Backup and Storage

Cloud backup and storage allow you to access your files and documents from multiple devices at any time, from anywhere. Data Deposit Box (DDB) provides on premise and cloud data backup services.
DDB’s Smart Storage devices, powered by its patented continuous data protection technology, offer the SMB a cost effective local & cloud storage and recovery solution for Files, Folders, MS Exchange, SQL, VMWARE, System State, Bare Metal & more.


IT experts recommend using cloud backup and storage services as the primary option, and add on-premise, local backups as a secondary solution. Cloud service providers have in-house experts, whom you can get professional support from. If you are looking for convenience, reliability, compliance, and top-notch data security measures, then cloud backup and storage service coupled with on-premise local storage is your best bet. If you are already using a storage system that’s not cloud-based, we encourage you to take action as soon as possible.
Why not contact DDB and find out if cloud-based and on-premise backups are for you?

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Is the Data Backup and Recovery Business Declining?

One of the worst fears of every business owner is reaching a saturation phase. As it has been a long time since the first comprehensive Backup and Data Recovery solution was introduced, IT businesses, especially, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are wondering if the BDR industry has reached a point where it’s no longer profitable. The answer is a resounding “no”.
The Rightscale 2016 State of the Cloud Report [1] on latest cloud computing trends, sheds light on some important results that show that there is still a considerable gap in the IT industry that can only be filled by MSPs.
Here are some of the report’s most notable points to consider:

  • 32% of the respondents cited the lack of proper resources and expertise as their biggest challenge for not migrating to the cloud.
  • 17 percent of IT companies have 1,000+ VMs in public cloud, a jump from 13 percent in 2015.
  • Hybrid cloud usage also showed growth, and went up from 58% to 71%.
  • 29% cite security issues as a hindrance to moving to the cloud.

The facts state the obvious — IT companies still need quality cloud service providers, which not only can provide the bare essentials, but also a comprehensive toolset that can provide full virtualisation, data mobility, disaster recovery, business continuity, and more.
Since companies find it very difficult to find experts in the cloud computing space, they don’t get to use their private cloud services to their full capacity.
IT companies are also struggling with keeping their costs down, which is evident from the published report. This problem, however, can be easily solved by making use of managed service provider, who has the expertise and can distribute and deploy the available resources in the best way possible.

Disaster Recovery Marketing is to Grow

According to a study by MarketsAndMarkets [2], the Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) market is estimated at $12 Billion industry by 2020. MSPs specialising in Backup and Disaster Recovery solutions can scale their businesses focusing on that, and grow their business. Most small scale businesses and startups are not prepared for disasters, and since they can’t afford to build a standard recovery system themselves, an MSP is their best option.
According to another report, published by MarketsAndMarkets [3], the cloud storage market size is to grow from about USD 24 Billion in 2016 to about USD 75 Billion by 2021. Such reports are written based on a number of assumptions and as a result, the growth rates might be different depending on who wrote the report. However, one thing that’s certain is that BDR market is here to grow.
In order to keep pace with the growing demand and stay on top of the developments, a competitive MSP must ensure that they are clear in communicating their messages to their customers. All parties involved — the vendor, the MSP, and the customers — need to put an effort in understanding why MSP services can benefit their businesses.

Source links:
[1] — https://www.rightscale.com/lp/state-of-the-cloud
[2] — https://goo.gl/OeVSzZ
[3] — http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/PressReleases/cloud-storage.asp

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Migrating from Tapes to the Cloud is a Sign of Maturity

Technological advances have made it simple to transition from tape backup to cloud backup and recovery solutions. However, migrating years of data to the cloud is not a simple task. It requires thoughtful consideration.

Which Data Need to be Migrated?

Not all data needs to be migrated from tape to the cloud. Data lifetime requirements have an impact on what kind of data needs to be migrated from tape to the cloud. Short life term data may or may not be migrated to the cloud. The data can be retained on tapes and the server running the proprietary backup software may be maintained by the customer till all the lifetimes of the data have expired. Thereafter, the server and the software can be retired. Data with long-term data lifetime requirements will have to be migrated to the cloud to comply with present legal requirements for that data.

Recovering Old Data in Tapes

Tape technology itself is changing. The newer technologies / software is not made backward compatible, and much of the data copied onto tapes in the past become irrecoverable. Further, the tape owners and cloud vendors may not have access to the software that can read the data. So, the data will have to be read at the customer location using the appropriate proprietary software that was used to write the data and the output copied to a temporary location before it can be transferred to the cloud vendor’s storage.

Optimization and De-duplication

One of the significant advantages of migrating tape to cloud is the potential optimization and de-duplication of data. Incremental backup, differential backup and a host of other kinds of backup technology can be used to ensure that backup happens continuously or within a scheduled time frame efficiently and effectively.

Backup Failures Tracked

Backup failures can be tracked and corrected instantly with alerts being generated for every success or failure of a backup. Replication of data or mirroring of data is almost automatic in the cloud, but this is not the case if you are using tapes. Disk to disk replication can be automated and data can be replicated onto one or more geographically dispersed servers to ensure high availability of enterprise information. There are no replication costs, transportation costs or extra storage costs involved in the process! Further, the cloud is infinitely scalable and globally accessible, unlike tape backups.

Always Accessible

Simple web interfaces are available over the Internet and provide secure access to the information stored on remote servers in the cloud from any part of the globe 24 x 7. Data security is ensured with user access protocols and encryption of information in transition and storage.
Migrating from tape to cloud is a sign of maturity of the SMB and the enterprise. IT needs to follow technology and the cloud, unlike the tape, makes it easier to do so.
Data Deposit Box (DDB) is an award-winning cloud data backup and recovery solution, specifically designed for small, mid-sized to enterprise organizations. DDB is differentiated by its numerous value-added and industry leading features – agentless technology, on-site portable local storage, multiple off-site data centres, and virtual environments support.
About the Author: Troy Cheeseman is the President and COO of Data Deposit Box, a publicly traded (OTC: DBB), Toronto-based cloud backup service provider.

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Is It Any Good to Work with Managed Service Providers?

In Part I, we discussed how organizations can take advantage of working with MSPs to proactively save their resources. In Part II, we will further discuss other advantages of working with MSPs.

Hire or Outsource?

IT recruiters can tell you how difficult it is to find the right IT professional for a specific role. It is not because there are no qualified IT professionals, it is usually because the perfect fit is hard to come by. IT environments typically have a mix of applications from small, medium, large and niche providers – matching a resource that has the right knowledge is a long-drawn task. In addition, you need to manage the employees and provide benefits and training, have a backup person who will fill in when they want to take vacation or time off or sick days or leave for another opportunity. Outsourcing comes in handy as it will mitigate all these risks.

Filling of Organizational Gaps

IT is an important department of almost every company in today’s digital era. However, not every company works in the IT industry itself, which is why their expertise and focus might be reserved for other areas, such as marketing, recruitment, consulting, etc. In other words, not every company has a perfect IT workforce, and thus, organizational gaps exist. An MSP can be instrumental in filling these gaps. An MSP works at the core of IT, which is why not only they can improve the existing IT infrastructure, but also train your employees to develop better data management habits for improved cloud computing, online backup, and data protection, etc.

On-Demand Infrastructure

Depending on the scale of your business, writing the code for your entire cloud structure that covers the essential elements viz. cloud backup, secure cloud hosting, admin panel, centralized management system, log and alert system, etc. can take weeks, if not months. Even after the infrastructure is created, there is no telling if any vulnerabilities are left. It will take a considerable amount of time to perfect the system. An MSP, on the other hand, has all the essential tools and scripts for configuring and running a cloud-based infrastructure. Depending on your requirements, the provider can tweak its standard systems and get it up and running in a matter of a few days, allowing you huge time and money savings. In addition, you will enjoy a peace of mind knowing that your IT services are managed by an expert.


A lot of companies don’t realize how poorly they are doing in terms of their IT infrastructure until they see the improvement after joining hands with an MSP. It is no surprise managers often express their regret later, believing they should have acted sooner. If you have not worked with an MSP before, you can still give it a shot and observe the impact first-hand.

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Is It Any Good to Work with Managed Service Providers?

The IT department of any average business has to handle a variety of tasks, including cloud storage, cloud computing, cloud backup, data protection, data mobility in the data management areas, and a plethora of other tasks while ensuring compliance within a set of IT standards. Needless to say, IT department’s workload is tremendous, which is why considerable resources are allocated for its seamless operation.
Studies have shown that most companies use only a third of their available IT budget for new projects and initiatives, and the remaining two-third is used up for merely keeping the IT system up and running. However, with a Managed Services Provider (MSP), you can change all this, possibly reverse these numbers.
An MSP can reduce your IT costs by managing your company’s entire IT infrastructure remotely for a set, affordable fee. Outsourcing your IT needs to an MSP is not only convenient but also allow you to make the best use of your resources and minimize other associated costs.

Here are some of the major benefits of working with an MSP:

Predictable Costs within your Budget:

IT related costs are very often seen as expenses and widely considered unavoidable expenses to keep the company going. This means, there is no room for a “break-fix” type of model, which causes your monthly expenses to go up and down and fluctuate. This, in turn, will cause increased strain in budgeting and planning. To work around this problem, MSPs can sit down with you and come up with options so that you can pay a flat fee and divert your focus on what you do best — your business — and take the guessing out of IT budgets. Your company’s goals become aligned under such flat fee structure — any technical issues will be taken care of by the MSP, not by your local technical resources, reducing your costs. It will be in the best interest of the MSP to act quickly in the case of any issues. If not, both parties lose revenue if the issue is not handled in an effective and timely matter.

Proactive Approach

An MSP monitors your IT systems 24/7, which means problems related to the infrastructure can be detected in early stages, and fixed before any major damage takes place. For instance, data breaches can cause significant loss of important data, but with an MSP you can limit the risk almost completely through its high-level online backup mechanisms.
Another benefit of the MSP’s proactive approach is minimum downtime in an event of setting up and running cloud backup and/or cloud computing services and also recovery during a disaster.
Continued in Part II …

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Businesses must learn to mind their own business. This is the mantra of the new age. Data storage and application support services for your business are strictly not a part of your production activities. Rather, they are the “extras” you need to conduct your business efficiently. The implication is that, you will not lose control over your business activities just because you have chosen to outsource these “extras” to third party vendors.

Expensed as Utility

Outsourcing data storage and application support services could help reduce costs. Cloud technology is a utility service and hence an operational expense. Huge investments in capital goods can be amputated from budgets instantly. Salaries for a number of expensive IT personnel can be reduced to the bare minimum. Tape drives, proprietary software can be retired and annual purchases of storage devices can be regarded as expenses of the past. Disaster recovery planning can be automated and business continuity can be ensured at no extra cost.


Cloud services are scalable unlike build and own IT infrastructure. Cloud vendors ensure that they have elastic resources at their command and are ready to provide enterprises with additional storage on demand. Customers need only to pay for use and all resources commissioned can be optimally used.


Data storage, data replication and high availability of data are automatic. IT Administrators need no longer to worry about failed backups spend sleepless nights ensuring that the data archives and stores are secured against thefts, fires, floods or other kinds of disasters. Data is automatically sent off-site and/or replicated on-site using a single backup interface. Multiple copies of the enterprise data are, highly available on a global scale, round the clock. Although the data is owned by the customer, data security (physical and electronic) is the legal enforceable responsibility of the cloud vendor.

Devote Attention to Business

Furthermore, the transition to the cloud allows the IT department to shift focus and devote attention to the business needs of the enterprise. IT upgrades and computing issues can be left to the outsourced vendor, while the IT team engages itself in providing its services to the local needs of the organisation.

Flexible and Accessible

Flexibility is the unique selling proposition of the cloud. Data can be accessed anywhere, anytime using simple web interfaces. All kinds of devices —Smartphones, laptops, desktops— can connect to a single enterprise online data repository. Mobile workers can obtain essential information with due authentication and authorisation from wherever they are. They can backup their data to the central repository and make it available instantly to and management for mission-critical decisions.

Build or Hire?

In short, the cloud has disrupted thinking and created awareness that IT services need not be built or owned by the enterprise. It can be hired just like any other utility (such as power or communication) service and paid for on a per-use basis. It can help optimise on resources and free the enterprise to do what it does best—its own business. So, why build when your can hire? Why invest huge sums and tie up scarce capital when the same or better quality of services can be obtained by utilising a cloud backup and recovery vendor?
Data Deposit Box (DDB) is an award-winning cloud data backup and recovery solution, specifically designed for small, mid-sized to enterprise organisations. DDB is differentiated by its numerous value-added and industry leading features – agentless technology, on-site portable local storage, multiple off-site data centres, and virtual environments support.
About the Author: Troy Cheeseman is the President and COO of Data Deposit Box, a publicly traded (OTC: DBB), Toronto-based cloud backup service provider.

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Data Deposit Box Awarded Best Cloud Solution and Best Storage Solution at Austin ASCII Events IT Summit. Data Deposit Box presented to over 150 Austin area MSP’s, detailing our new Smart Storage and cloud backup products which provide an end to end solution for MSP’s and the SMB’s they support.
After a great pavilion and 25min keynote, the Austin partners voted and awarded DDB the Best Cloud Solution and the Best Storage Solution awards! We are very proud of this accomplishment especially considering the competition at the event (Datto, Carbonite and Storage Craft); all fantastic providers with great products. Thank you to everyone who voted for DDB!!

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Most people do not know when a server should be replaced. Here are some points which will help in identifying whether it is good to continue using an old server or replace it:

Replace Server after Three Years

IT managers usually claim that servers can be used for years. It is true that the support cost increases after three years. IDC states* that the fourth year of a server increases support costs by up to 40%. If your server has passed its five years mark, the support cost will escalate almost 200%. Keeping a server for seven years means an increase in cost by up to 400%.
Facts and figures show that a server should be replaced after three years. Customers buy new servers when an existing warranty expires, usually three years. Extending the warranty is costly and replacement parts are difficult to find after passing the three years of warranty. Server crash is the scenario that companies plan to avoid. It is good to replace a running server than replacing a crashed one.

Operating System Support

Microsoft has pulled out the support for Server 2003. Though server 2003 was running in good condition, Microsoft decided to pull the plug and ended its life. If Microsoft declares that it will no longer support an operating system, it is the right time to replace your server. In fact, it is just like killing two birds at a time. New OS will work more efficiently when it is supported with a new server. Using unsupported operating system or old server means to play with business continuity. It is the responsibility of MSPs to understand your requirements and give suggestions when hardware should be replaced and what type of configurations they need to run the system.

Performance Issue

It is very difficult to define the level of performance of a server. Employees usually know how to work with a slow performing server. If a server is giving reliable performance, it does not mean that it is running in its best possible way. Here, IT professionals can support by determining whether you need to replace a server or not. Performance of server gets low when it runs with over 70 percent capacity.
Many customers do not change the server until and unless they are given a new model that is two times or three times faster than the old one. SSDs and Intel Xeon have improved server performance. When each and every employee in a department saves 10 minutes, it adds up for the company and can save a bundle company wide. For instance, a dentist needs to view images before dealing with a patient. If the server takes time in loading images, it means less time to spend with patients.


Performance, supportive operating system and age of server are the three factors that compel to replace a server. Sometimes, it is better to upgrade a server, rather than replacing it. If the system is running fine, but you are experiencing problems due to storage space and/or memory, it is better to re-purpose that server by adding more storage and memory options.
Server is the foundation of IT infrastructure, therefore, it is recommended that you follow a replacement plan. Using an old server increases overall support costs. Remember that in case your server crashes, you will need to pay more than replacing it.
* – http://goo.gl/ywOVMK

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It is the need of every business to sort out valuable data and dispose of unnecessary files and folders on regular basis. When companies overlook such tasks, all data is saved whether it is useful or not. To keep data storage cost within budget, companies need to delete and organize data on priority basis.

Categories of Data

Mission-Critical Data

Mission-critical type of data is impossible to recreate again. Such type of data is the backbone of business, and you will not be able to operate your business without it. Legal agreements, contacts, IP, credit card info and tax documents are included in this category. Companies need to make backup of such data in the cloud, as well as in local drives. Save this crucial data in quality hardware and do not overlook data encryption.

Necessary Data

Such type of data is necessary for business, but can be recreated when required. It can be your report or email thread. It is important to store necessary data on specific places where backup option is available. Employees should be familiar with backup concept. For example, your company does not keep back-up of all data. It is expected from workers to save important files on drive with backup option. When hard drive fails, it becomes difficult to find data as employees do not know exact location for saving particular files. Make certain all workers are following the standards.

Infrequently Accessed Data

For companies, there are several documents that are necessary to store for few years. As these documents are infrequently required, they can be stored in cloud archives. There must be local copies of such data. It is not good to keep data in one place. Companies get benefit by storing infrequently accessed data in cheaper cloud archive storage options.

May be Valuable Data

Before data is stored away, companies need to organize their data according to its use and value. Some legacy documents and old statistics that are no longer in use. If you have not used such data within last six months, and will no longer use it in the upcoming year, it is possible that such data may or may not be useful for you. Confirm and dispose such data.

Worthless Data

It is often noticed that useless data for some users is valuable or “may-be-useful” for others. Therefore, figure out what is important and what is useless. Discard setup files for old programs, temporary files, old notes, joke videos and old newsletters.

Storage Policies

When a single place is used to store information by many employees, it is common to get junk files. Managing data on server becomes difficult when multiple workers are allowed to save information. In order to reduce data storage, inform employees about type of data they can store. It is recommended to remove all initial drafts when final is designed. In order to help employees, develop some policies for data deletion and storage.
Before making a decision about data storage, ask some questions to know the type of data.

  • Do you require these files in the future?
  • How long does this data should be stored?

Admin, MSPs and end users get many benefits by keeping the storage space free from unnecessary files.

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