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Does having antivirus software on your computer protect you and your data from cyberthreats? What else should you be doing? Backups, software updates, firewalls, there are lots of options to consider.

Let’s start with a few basic definitions:

Virus – A small program or piece of computer code that alters the way a computer operates without the knowledge or permission of the user. A computer virus executes and replicates itself.  The worst computer viruses of all time include ILOVEYOU, Melissa, WannaCry, CryptoLocker, Conflicker, Mydoom, and Shamoon.

Antivirus software – Helps protect your computer against malware and cybercriminals. Antivirus software looks at data traveling over the network to your devices and searches for known threats and monitors the behavior of all programs, flagging suspicious behavior. The most popular (based on market share) antivirus software includes Avast, Microsoft, ESET, Symantec, and AVG.

Backup – Backing up your files is one way copying – a snapshot of a version of a file or data, from one location to another (computer drive to hard drive, computer drive to file server or NAS, computer drive to cloud drive), at a specific point in time. It is used to protect a file, in case of loss or corruption. If a user wants access to a backed up file, they will often have to restore that file to their computer, from their backup. The most popular backup products are Data Deposit Box, iDrive, Carbonite, Acronis, AWS Backup, Azure, Google Drive and iCloud.

Firewall – A network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing traffic on your network. The most popular firewall products for business includes Barracuda, Bitdefender, Cato Networks, Kaspersky, and FortiGate.

An Overview of Antivirus

Antivirus software is a key element of any cybersecurity strategy; but, it does have limitations. Traditional antivirus software is becoming less and less effective. 73% of attendees at Black Hat in 2017 felt traditional antivirus software no longer services a purpose. In the past antivirus software could protect against 80-90% of security threats but now it is believed to protect against less than 10% of threats. A 2018 report from McAfee found there were an average of 480 malware attacks a minute. The reality is cybercriminals are savvy and have found other ways to gain entry onto computers and networks, ranging from Adware to phishing to sophisticated malware.

Limitations of traditional antivirus software:

  • It’s reactionary – Antivirus software countermeasures only start when malicious code or a virus is found. As a result, it may be too late, unless you’ve backed up using versioning.
  • Needs regular updates – Hackers are always one step ahead of the Antivirus software companies. Unless you’re updating almost real-time, you could be exposed.
  • Performance issues – Antivirus software runs continuously in the background. As a result, it requires a significant amount of memory and resources.  This can have a significant impact on the speed of your PC and/or network.
  • Human negligence – Even the best antivirus software can’t protect against people who aren’t educated about malware and internet security practices. Often, infections occur through poor computing practices.  Learn more about what NOT to do here.

An Overview of Backups

Backup refers to the one way copying of data (folders & files) from one location to another. Generally, most users and small businesses backup files to external hard drives, servers, or the cloud. Backing up is the most reliable way to protect your data and ensure business continuity when you experience major problems such as hardware failures, viruses, or natural disasters. Various software and services automate the process of backing up at the schedule you determine. Cloud based backup services eliminate the need for you to have the necessary infrastructure in your business.

Not all backups are equal.  To backup properly, your backups must use versioning.  Versioning ensures incremental backups of changed documents – storing different versions as it changes over time.

Data Deposit Box provides cloud backup protection and peace of mind – guaranteed. With Data Deposit Box you can backup and manage everything with one app. You can backup an unlimited number of devices to your account, including Windows and Mac OS servers and computers, iOS and Android mobile phones, Synology and QNAP NAS devices.

Antivirus + Backups = Excellent Protection

A combination of antivirus software and cloud-based, versioned backups will provide you with the confidence that your important data is safe from hardware failures, viruses and natural disasters.

Follow these best practices to protect yourself and your data:

  • Stay up to date – Keep your devices and their software (antivirus, OS, firmware, applications) up to date. Schedule 10 minutes in your calendar each day to check for updates.
  • Use firewalls – Install firewalls on routers and devices.
  • Backup to the cloud, with versioning – Implement a cloud backup solution to ensure your important data and files are safe, and ensure you have versioning turned on.
  • Education – People are one of the weakest links when it comes to cybersecurity, as a result make sure you EDUCATE!!

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The news headlines suggest it isn’t.

This infographic provides an easy to read overview of the warnings in 2019 relating to computer vulnerabilities and data security. If you have a Dell PC, iPad, iPhone or use Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, and mobile apps; make sure you update your software and systems to ensure your data is secure.

(View infographic as a pdf)

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The difference between sync and back up

Many people think that syncing and backing up files are the same thing – but they are not.  There are many major differences, that are both unknown and misunderstood.

Let’s start with some basic definitions.

Sync – sync ensures that files and data on one or more devices are the same on all devices (that are part of the sync). Sync is typically used to provide anywhere, anytime access to files, and for sharing files across groups of users. Users will also sometimes sync files across devices – their phone with their computer.  Syncing is typically real time, and if used by groups of users, can pose challenges related to file conflicts (when two users access and update a file simultaneously). The most popular sync products are Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, iCloud and Dropbox.

Backup – backing up your files is one way copying – a snapshot of a version of a file or data, from one location to another (computer drive to hard drive, computer drive to file server or NAS, computer drive to cloud drive), at a specific point in time. Backing up is used to protect a file, in case of loss or corruption. If a user wants access to a backed up file, they will often have to restore that file to their computer, from their backup.  The most popular backup products are Data Deposit Box, iDrive, Carbonite, Acronis, AWS Backup, Azure, Google Drive and iCloud.

Sync

Backup

Definition

Ensures the files and data on one or more devices are the same on all devices.

A snapshot of files and data taken at a specific point of time and saved to another device (hard drive, NAS, cloud drive).

Usage

Provides anywhere, anytime access to files for an individual or group of users.

Protects files in case of loss or corruption, by providing a backup file that can be restored to computer.

Pros

Great for collaboration and sharing information with others.

Reliable way to automate the protection of data and ensure business continuity.

Cons

Can be confusing and files often get misplaced. Security is a concern as anything infecting your computer can sync to the cloud.

Many methods of backing up, which leads to confusion. If not backing up to the cloud additional infrastructure and hardware are required.

Syncing in detail

Syncing is a great way to collaborate and share information with others. Popular services like Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive enable users to store their information in a cloud based data repository that can be accessed remotely, with permission of course, from a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

While there are many pros to syncing there are also downsides. When syncing files between machines it can get confusing and files often get misplaced. Depending on the service the search functionality is often less than stellar when a user has a large number of files. Security is also a concern when syncing with services like Dropbox. Whether it is the security of your data itself or the fact you are still susceptible to viruses, malware and ransomware. In these situations, anything infecting your computer can sync to the cloud and infect those files as well. Restoring your data can be difficult and very time consuming unless you have backed up your files.

Backing up in detail

As noted above, backing up refers to the one way copying of data and files from location to another. Most users and small businesses generally backup files to external hard drives, servers, or the cloud. Backing up is the most reliable way to protect your data and ensure business continuity when you experience major problems such as hardware failures, viruses, or natural disasters.  Various software and services automate the process of backing up and enable you to feel assured your valuable data is being backed up at the schedule you determine. Cloud based backup services eliminate the need for you to have the necessary infrastructure in your business.

Data Deposit Box provides cloud backup protection and peace of mind – guaranteed. With Data Deposit Box you can backup and manage everything with one app. You can backup an unlimited number of devices to your account, including Windows and Mac OS servers and computers, iOS and Android mobile phones, Synology and QNAP NAS devices.

Which is right for you – backup or sync?

Don’t feel like you need to choose between syncing and backing up. A combination of backing up and syncing will provide you with the access you need to your files and the confidence that your important data is safe from hardware failures, viruses and natural disasters.

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Your PC’s hard drive could fail at any time or a software bug could erase your files, so backups are critical. However, you don’t need to back up all the files on your PC. That would waste space and make your backups take longer to complete.

Below is our list of the top 5 folders you should backup up on Microsoft Windows.

AppData and ProgramData

In the AppData folder (C:/Users/{Username}/AppData) you will find both Roaming (moves with user to another system) and Local (specific to a system) data. Prioritize the Roaming data and backup apps that require user specific configurations. The ProgramData folder (C:/ProgramData) stores app settings and data that are not tied to individual users. Backup files that you might need in the future.

Documents

Your documents folder (C:/Users/{Username}/Documents) is generally where all of your personal files and documents are saved. Some software developers also use this folder to store app-related data. Regardless this folder should be top of your list to backup.

Downloads

The majority of web browsers and media default to the downloads folder (C:/Users/{Username}/Downloads) for downloading files. Backup this folder or the individual files if you don’t want to download again.

Email

There are a number of email clients out there and they all store data differently. In general, if you use IMAP you don’t need to worry about backing up your emails. However, if you use POP3 you may need to back them up. Further investigation will be required to see if you need to backup your emails.

Music, Pictures, Videos

Similar to the documents folder, Windows provides special folders for storing personal media files.

Music (C:/Users/{Username}/Music)

Pictures (C:/Users/{Username}/Pictures)

Videos (C:/Users/{Username}/Videos)

Some apps use these folders for storing local files. If you have media files not saved elsewhere or don’t want to download the files again backup this folder.

Now that you have gotten through the top folders and files you need to backup you are probably wondering which you can ignore. Drivers and program files (C:/Program Files and C:/Program Files (x86)) are specific to your machine and don’t make sense to backup. Temp files are exactly what they say they are – temporary – and no backup is required.

Backup to the cloud today with Data Deposit Box!

 

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Is My Data Protected — Free Assessment

Virtually every individual and business will be impacted in some way by cyber crime, ransomware and hardware failures. The stories are all different but the end result is the same – data loss. Putting a cost on data loss is difficult. For an individual measuring the loss of years of photos is a loss impossible. On the other hand for a business, the impact of things like ransomware are quantifiable. There will be an estimated $11.5 Billion in losses due to ransomware in 2019. Not surprising considering 92% of organizations have seen malware/ransomware in email attachments over the last 12 months.

Check out the infographic below to see the real cost data loss has on your business.

Start taking measures today to protect your business.

A team of backup and security experts has created a simple assessment tool to help identify and quantify your security risks, and suggest how to better protect yourself. The assessment takes < 3 minutes and provides a comprehensive report outlining your specific risks, deficiencies and suggested improvements.

Threats won’t wait! Is your data protected? – find out now!

(View infographic as a pdf)

Malware Ransomware Infographic 2019 Data Deposit Box

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On June 4th the National Security Agency (NSA) published an advisory warning Microsoft Windows administrators and users to “ensure they are using a patched and updated system in the face of growing threats.” Dubbed “BlueKeep”, the threat has also been the focus of many “Update Now” warnings from Microsoft. The threat could spread without user interaction across the internet and potentially impact millions of machines that are still vulnerable. A recent Forbes article highlights a “straw poll of some 255 IT security professionals attending the Infosecurity Europe show earlier this week found 79% were unaware of the BlueKeep vulnerability.”

Are you asking yourself – Is my data protected? A team of backup and security experts has created an assessment that will help identify and quantify risks you may be facing, and how to better protect yourself. Spend less than 5 minutes answering questions assessing backup policies, data protection, cost of downtime, cost of data breach and receive a free comprehensive report outlining deficiencies and providing suggested policy improvements.

Threats won’t wait! Is my data protected – find out now!

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What is ransomware

You may have heard of ransomware or even experienced its devastating effects, but what exactly is it and how does it work? At its core, ransomware is a type of software that is designed to steal your digitally stored data and hold it hostage until a sum of money is paid to the captor. These sophisticated pieces of software can seriously compromise your cybersecurity and end up costing you thousands to regain or replace stolen data. Here is some more information about ransomware and how to keep your information protected from the cybersecurity professionals at Data Deposit Box:

Ransomware Stats

Some people don’t believe the devastation of ransomware, which is why statistics are helpful to illustrate their real-life effects. Here are some shocking facts and figures about ransomware:

  • 97% of phishing emails deliver ransomware.
  • 70% of companies infected by ransomware end up paying the ransom to their attackers.
  • More than 50% of attackers demand between $10,000 and $40,000.
  • 1 in 4 who paid their attackers never recovered their stolen data.

Types of Ransomware Programs

There are two different forms of ransomware:

  • Encryption Ransomware: This type of ransomware program uses complex encryption algorithms to encrypt stolen files. The digital thieves then demand payment for the decryption code. CryptoLocker, Locky, and CrytpoWall are three such software programs to be aware of.
  • Locker Ransomware: This type of ransomware locks you out of your central operating system, which means the program blocks access to your desktop and any apps or files on your computer. The difference from encryption software is that individual files aren’t encrypted, but the hackers can still demand a ransom to unlock the infected system.

What Makes a Company Vulnerable to a Ransomware Attack?

There are a few mistakes that companies make which make them vulnerable to ransomware attacks and other breaches of cybersecurity, including the following:

  • Not backing up their data
  • Lacking even the most basic cyber protection
  • Not keeping cyber security software up-to-date
  • Not investing in cybersecurity solutions

At Data Deposit Box, we’re committed to providing you with the latest in digital backup and cybersecurity services. We’ve been providing small to mid-sized businesses with affordable and secure cloud backup technology and services since 2002, making us one of the most trusted names in the industry. Protect your company from ransomware and other similar cyber attacks with Data Deposit Box. For more information about our cybersecurity and digital storage products, contact us today.

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How to take your IT career to next level

In Part I, we discussed on how to improve one’s IT career by getting certified and creating something new and practical project, which can help you take your career to the next level. Continuing in Part II, we will further consider other career advancing points. Read more

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How to Take Your IT Career to the Next Level

IT is definitely one of the hottest industries today. We see the rise of revolutionary technologies such as Big Data, IoT, Artificial Intelligence, etc. with which the demand for IT experts, in both hardware and software has skyrocketed. However, with this increasing popularity, the competition in this domain has also picked up pace. So, how can you stand out among other individuals vying for the same jobs? Let’s find out.
Since IT industry is extremely dynamic and growing at an exponential rate today, one of the most important things that you must do is stay current. You must be aware what’s going on in the industry. What are the trending programming languages? Which software companies are shaking up the industry? These are some of the questions you must have the answers to. However, mere knowledge won’t cut it – you must keep your IT skills up-to-date as well.

Here are some of the ways you can give an impetus to your IT career and reach new heights:

Get Certified

Whether certifications are really useful in taking your career to the next level is debatable. However, it is unlikely that clearing a few good certifications would do any harm. Some organizations place some value on certification, and use them as a way to promote advancement and salary increases; while others do not give any value to certification. It is true that some IT people will study only to pass the test. However, in general, those people who have passed tests tend to keep their IT skills current.
Certifications can make your resume a lot better and give you an edge over others. Besides, when there are almost 2,000 different kinds of IT certifications, you are bound to find something that may work for you and interest you. Although they might cost a lot of money and time, some of the best certification options that you might want to consider include: PMP, CISSP, VCP and MCSE.

If you are unsure which certifications are best for you, then follow these steps:

  • Do some research. Find out which programs are in demand, and will stay in demand for at least a few years. If possible, attend a few seminars that’s relevant to the trends and advancements in the IT industry.
  • Consider the programs that compliment your existing skillset, instead of starting from a scratch.
  • Make sure you consult with a few knowledgeable people in the IT industry before making the final decision.

Start Something of Your Own

Nothing does wonders for your resume than the mention of a first-hand experience with a software project. It is one thing to master a programming language in theory, and a totally different thing to use it for making a software of your own. By learning a new software language and using it for creating your own product, not only you get to understand it much better, but also get a chance to put your creativity to work. An employer is much more likely to prefer someone with actual experience with a skill they are looking for, rather than someone who has good theoretical knowledge.
One way to get some hands-on experience is by volunteering. So, if you find that someone wants a new website built in node-js, or an iOS app for their business, approach them and convince them to give the project to you. Even if they are paying a modest sum for the service, accept it. The experience is way more valuable than any amount of money.
In Part II, we will further consider some points on how to take your IT career to the next level.

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How to Hire and Retain Top IT Professionals and Engineers - Part II

In Part I, we discussed how to hire top IT professionals and engineers. In this Part II series, we will further discuss how to retain the top hires.
Hiring a top talent has its own challenges, but retaining top performing talents would be even more challenging. Here are some points to ponder on employee retention:

Participation

Many companies make the mistake of keeping their staff isolated, for which they often pay dearly. When employees feel left out, it becomes easier for them to entertain the idea of looking for other opportunities. So, whenever possible include them in the decision making processes that could affect the company, specifically their team. In fact, good engineers are usually quite opinionated, and they want to be listened to. So, allowing them to make some calls and express their opinions won’t only make them happy, but also benefit you with valuable insights.

Avoid Micromanagement

Micromanaging your employees could lead to a dysfunctional team. If you have the right people in your team, they understand what should be done to come up with very creative solutions to existing and future problems. As a team leader or a manger, let your team know what the desired result should be (or the problem you want resolved) and allow your engineer to come up with the best solution. Avoid the temptation to tell them how the problem should be resolved. Instead, ask for their input. Such autonomous environment will make employees feel that they are valued, are in charge, and empowered. This way of management will increase your employee satisfaction significantly.

Flexible Work Hours

Job satisfaction and comfort have become the top priorities for employees today, while bonuses and other monetary perks are gradually losing their charm. So, as long as you can ensure that your IT staff gets to work in a comfortable environment and enjoy flexible work hours, you won’t have to worry about retaining them. Engineers working collaboratively with offshore teams might need to work outside of typical 9 to 5 hours. Flexible hours will allow employees to have the perfect work/life balance.

Actively Listening and Giving Praise

Listening to your employees, and showing appreciation for their good work can go a long way. Recent studies have proven that recognition that comes from executive level management can have a powerful impact on their employees.
Other ways of attracting and retaining employees are: investing in training, providing access to new technologies, offering free perks (like weekly lunch, gym, promoting from within the company, and providing competitive compensation package).

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