In May, it was WannaCry. And, at the end of June (and continuing into July), it was Petya. Two related computer viruses that together have wreaked havoc on network devices across the globe, costing businesses infected with the ransomware millions of dollars, hours of lost time, and of course, customer confidence as data that was supposed to be secure has been compromised.

Petya screenshotAs of this blog’s writing, Petya, which originated in the Ukraine and traced to a type of tax software, is estimated to have infected corporate and government computer systems in some 65 countries. And, while it’s spreading more slowly than WannaCry, cybersecurity experts say it’s proving harder to stamp out. Similar in some respects to WannaCry, Petya encrypts user data and then requires electronic payment via the virtual currency bitcoin to unlock the infected system.

Of course, computer viruses are not new. The oldest of these silicon sleuths are over 30. But in the last few years, and even more so in the last several months, cyber attacks have captured front page news with increasing regularity and the specter of hacking continues to permeate our political arena. If Petya and WannaCry are warning shots, the harbinger of only more frequent and more invasive attacks, two critical questions must be asked:

  1. What are businesses doing to protect their data and their network in the post Petya age?
  2. How are businesses developing and enacting effective disaster recovery plans?


Care to Prepare: Now or Never

Whether through file corruption, power outage, or a cyber security breach, data loss and network downtime that comes in this manner is classified as a manmade failure. And although it’s true that these instances only occur about 10 percent of the time for small businesses (natural disasters are much more common) the reality is that for those businesses impacted, only 6 percent survive the disruption.

That means the first step in data loss protection and business IT continuity is the simple recognition that the improbable is possible. And it’s a risk you don’t want to take. The second step is also obvious: your business needs a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP).

What does a DRP look like? Simple. It comes down to four steps. Back up your data (either in the cloud or via off-site external storage), write down (or back up in the same way as the previous step) information essential to get your company up and running as fast as possible. Essential data might include: model numbers and warranty information for all computers and their peripherals. It also means cataloging all account names, passwords, network settings, device configurations, and support phone numbers.

Remember, too, that all of this takes time. Plan for extended down time, including its costs. Consider that step three. How long your company is working below capacity depends on how well you’ve executed these steps. Step four comes down to having a plan within a plan to ensure your transition from backups to new equipment is equally smooth.


Devil in the Device Details

Of course, there are additional challenges to the ones listed above. One of the great obstacles businesses face is the need to back up their network and security devices, including but not limited to: switches, routers, and firewalls. Surprisingly, most businesses do not have a comprehensive backup for all their devices, oftentimes leaving certain security pieces out of the equation.

The need for device backup is something that Kelly Communications Systems recognizes well. As an independent supplier of IT centered products, consulting, and support services for more than 30 years, we are pleased to partner with BackBox, the leading provider for automated backup, configuration, and recovery solutions.

Network device backup and recovery solution - BackBoxThe BackBox software configures, backs up, and recovers all network and security devices through one integrated portal and can support over 140 network and security vendors. The system is also versatile enough that it can add any non-supported vendor within 24 hours of the request. And, most importantly, your organization can be up in minutes or hours, not days or weeks.

The bottom line: when cyber attack occurs, it’s likely your network or systems manager will be overwhelmed dealing with a variety of tasks vital for getting your company back on track. With BackBox, many these most critical details will already be taken care of automatically.

WannaCry and Petya may be latest rounds fired in the global cybersecurity war. But with a strong disaster recovery plan and BackBox already in place, companies will be better equipped to fire back.


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