June 9 2016

Negotiate and win everytime when held for digital ransom 02:58 pm

Fortunately, up until now our clients have had a zero negotiation policy when it comes negotiating with cyber-terrorists.  These criminals hold people’s data and network for ransom instead of kidnapping people.  Our current negotiation policy is to have a valid backup and be 100% confident it is working everyday.

I know from being in the trenches it takes steady professional  human involvement to be 100% confident.   Even then a frequent stress test is important to really prove everything in the system works when it is called upon.

We have probably seen 15 times now when our clients data has been almost 100% completely gone unless the ransom is paid.  Not once have we asked our clients to open a bitcoin account to pay the terrorist.

When the FBI’s official position is to pay the ransom, the University of Calgary pays the ransom and other really big organizations pay the ransom it is reassuring we have kept our clients from that position.

It turns out terrorism is a good business.  This concept has been so lucrative instead of being shut down since appearing over 18 months ago the types of threats are increasing in severity and cost to go free.  If this continues it will likely increase the cost of insurance because when data is lost someone is going to pay.  If the client has an IT contractor I’m pretty sure the client won’t feel like they are the one who needs to pay….

I believe end user training, disciplined security procedures, and a great backup are all a part of preventing a digital ‘kidnapping’.  Technology can also play a great role in prevention.  If you have a sense of uneasiness about the security of your data perhaps we should talk.

Working with the team here at pcit there is always that little sense of question everytime we hear a breach occurred.  Everyone wants to reach Bernhard, our backup specialist, right away to confirm everything is ok.   Once we hear everything is ok calm then ensues.  We go on with the restore, the removal of the infection and everyone else goes back to work knowing the resolution is at hand.   Another digital heist prevented with no ransom paid and fortunately no lost data.

January 3 2014

100% Restore From Backups Successful 10:08 am

Closing the year 2013 out and welcoming the year 2014 with excitement is probably common for many businesses. PCIT is in the midst of this cycle. Revenue grew by just over 25% and 2014 looks to have potential.
As we are reviewing our year end performance one of the things we look at is how often did backup requests come in and how good were we at restoring data when requested. Initial results show 6 requests for data restores and 5 successful restores. This looks like an 83% success rate. We are counting the success rate as 100% as the one data point that was not restored was months and months older than what backups we had to access. Going back over 5 months of backup data the file was still not correct. Though the file wasn’t restored the client was able to restore the precedent (this restore was for a law office) and continue operations with no impact.
Delivering a very high quality backup both onsite and offsite is very important to PCIT as a company. This takes time and proper tools that adds up to a significant expense for each of our client sites. The alternative to careful data backup management is often ‘setting and forgetting’ it. This often looks like a viable option but we have learned from observation that the success rate from this type of approach is almost never 100%.

August 10 2012

Apple And Amazon Close Security Hole That Grants Total Control to Any Account 01:33 pm

Up until Tuesday August 8 someone with an Apple_ID and an Amazon account faced a security hole that was so big it allowed anybody with a telephone and a little common sense to get access to both accounts in under 15 minutes.  It wasn’t until a journalist from Wired magazine had EVERYTHING on his iMac, iPhone, iCloud and Amazon account erased that this security flaw became publically exposed.

With surprising ease a complete stranger got control of Mat Honan’s Amazon account over the phone in under 15 minutes last Friday Aug 3.  Who cares if someone can get your Amazon account information? With this information they could get the last 4 digits of any credit cards you keep on file.  4 Digits don’t seem like much but this is the exact same information Apple Phone support needs to reset someone’s password!  What happened in the next 30 minutes was that Mat Honan had lost all information on his Apple devices, his Gmail account taken over and his Twitter account taken over. 

Most importantly, he lost every photo of his daughter from his iMac.  The hacker’s turned out to be juvenile in nature – Mat actually talks about his online chats with the hackers.  Immature kids who wanted nothing more than to take over his ‘cool’ Twitter account.  If they had some highly malicious intent it is hard to tell how much further they could have hacked his friends and families accounts as well as contacts saved to the iCloud.  But in 30 minutes he had lost everything, mostly due to a security flaw so big it’s hard to imagine that millions of users are exposed to the same thing.

By Thursday afternoon August 9 both Amazon and Apple had stopped resetting passwords over the phone as a stop gap measure to protect others from experiencing the same thing.  However, this is only a little bit better than a temporary band-aid.  Who knows how many other clever ways someone can conjure up to accomplish the same thing?  Single accounts that control many services are convenient.  But as Mat Honan experienced this convenience comes with a potential risk not easily calculated.

February 23 2012

The Easiest, Fastest, and Safest Way to Reliably Backup all of Your Important Information 07:41 am

As a company working hard to give our customer’s a technological edge pcit has reviewed an exhaustive list of options to deliver data backup and quick disaster recovery.  After testing several options we are very confident that the Data Safe backup system we have developed in conjunction with industry leading vendors is the most competitive in the market.  Below is an overview of how the offering may benefit any organization.

Pcit Data Safe data backup and restore system is unlike many traditional data protection tools in that it does NOT require any human assistance beyond the initial installation and setup.  There is no media to install, remove, protect, or replace.  Data Safe backup is also highly secure and only you have access to your data.

How would I Restore My Data?

The Data Safe Backup client has all the capabilities to restore your data when and where you want it.  You simply launch the Data Safe Backup Restore Wizard and follow the simple yet powerful wizard. Point and click to choose what to restore in an explorer-style interface. Choose to restore the current version of your data or perform a point-in-time restore simply by selecting the date. Data can be restored to their original locations or to an alternate location.

 When restoring, choose to restore from either your local backups or the remote backups from an easy drop down menu. Enjoy peace of mind knowing that your data can be restored lightning fast from your local backups after minor emergencies, but that your data is also safely stored off-site after real disasters. You get the benefits of both worlds, all for the same price!

What pcit Data Safe Delivers

Backup from Anywhere – Secure backups can be accomplished from any Internet connection.

Flexible Version Control – Provides unmatched flexibility in storing multiple versions of the same document.   Definable down to the individual file.   Easy to recover a previous version.

Secure Off-Site Storage – A redundant copy of all of your critical information is stored in our secure data center.  If your system crashes or your laptop is stolen, your important information is still safe and easily restored at any time day or night.

No Hardware to Fail or Maintain – No bad media, broken tape drives, misplaced tapes or faulty CD drives.  Your secure backup process is completely software driven and your backup is stored off-site without the hassle of putting tapes or CDs in another location. 

Automated Processing – Be sure your data is being backed up correctly with our easy to use automated system.   No operator error or forgotten backups.   You even receive automatic reminders if you forget to backup your data!