Will your clients pay ransom?
If your clients are hit by the CryptoLocker virus they may have no choice. If you haven’t experienced the CryptoLocker virus yet, count yourself lucky. These so called ransom ware outbreaks are as insidious as they are simple.
It typically starts when your client clicks an email attachment. When nothing seems to happen they forget it and move on. But the damage has been done and the virus quietly goes about its business of finding and encrypting your client’s data files. After it’s finished, it shows a ransom message and orders them to pay $400 to get their data unencrypted. If your client refuses to pay, the files are left encrypted forever.
Removing the virus is trivially simple, but recovering the encrypted files is virtually impossible. The decryption key never existed on the target, so it cannot be recovered. And any attempt to brute force recover the key, even under optimal circumstances, would take more than 15 years. And the security experts are no help. They all insist your client should refuse to pay the ransom, but when pressed, they have no advice on how to recover the data.
Your clients only protection against CryptoLocker is to backup their data, and when the virus hits to recover their data from the day before the outbreak. Keep in mind; if an infected user has access to a network, it will encrypt all network files the user’s account has write privileges to. You should backup all data files throughout the network.
Leap to Managed Services
One popular topic we hear from our partners is that they are considering moving their business model to Managed Services. It’s a powerful tool to strengthen your client relationship and at the same time, dramatically improve the IT environment of all your clients. But the big question is how to make the transition.
The most common question we hear is — “What services should I offer”? This is a great question and probably the simplest to answer. Fundamentally, managed services are about helping your clients to maintain their systems to their optimal environment. Keeping everything up to date is a real challenge for your small business customers and they need your help to get this done.
Service patches, bug fixes and security updates are the best defense against an increasingly threatening Internet. This should be the core of any good Managed Service offering — keeping the entire network running the latest software and firmware updates.
The second part of any Managed Service offering is to review all alerts and warnings. Windows systems generate copious amounts of event logs, most of which are informational. But catching and reacting to that occasional warning or error message is the key to proactive maintenance. Early warnings mean the difference between casual preventative maintenance and catastrophic and disruptive system failures.
The third element should be to review and respond to all firewall events and virus warnings and alerts. Too often these warnings go unnoticed — but only by proactively monitoring firewall logs can you see the hackers and stop them before they gain access. International hackers from China, Russia and Korea are regularly probing your client’s network for openings — and when you see the probing you can take action to block. As a matter of fact, showing clients the activity logs from their firewall from just a single day is often a powerful tool to demonstrate the necessity of your Managed Service offering.
The fourth key element of any Managed Service offering is to monitor and manage your client’s backups. A solid backup is key to making sure your clients can recover from a wide range of errors and failures. And if your clients have Carroll-Net Healthy Server, you’ll find you have a partner as dedicated to your services as you are — Carroll-Net will handle the backup management, and free you to focus on the other elements of your offering.
There were several exciting enhancements to the Carroll-Net backup software this month. The most significant was to the Virus Scanning engine. All Healthy Server customers receive free Virus Scanning. This month we’ve upgraded the core engine. It now will recognize and report on 3.8 million virus signatures.
Here is a list of some additional enhancements:
- The SimpleInstaller executable is now downloadable right from your Carroll-Net Backup Portal. This installer will handle the details of downloading and installing the latest backup software and the software updater, which will keep your client up to date with all new patches and updates.
- JobFinished reports are now branded to include our partners name and full contact information. If your customers have any questions, they have your contact information right at their fingertips.
- Healthy Servers can now backup your client’s servers over SFTP (FTP over SSL). This makes it easy to backup HP-UX, AIX and SCO systems. Carroll-Net regularly adds new agent technology — so if you need something added, don’t hesitate to ask. We add new agents any time we’re asked and there is never a fee.
- We improved both our Linux and BSD installation system to support Systemd. Systemd is a suite of system management daemons and libraries which is becoming the de-facto standard on Linux distributions. With the new installation support in Healthy Workstation, it’s now even easier to deploy to your clients.
Let’s Get Together
Carroll-Net engineers are traveling around country, talking to partners about our backup solutions. If you’re anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic: CT, NY, NJ, MA, let us know. We’ll come to your office and even bring the coffee. (888)432-1638.
If you’re outside our region and you’d like to meet, drop us an email and when we’ve reached your area we’ll be sure to contact you.