Call (716) 373-4467

When was the last time you seriously thought about your business’s disaster recovery plan? If you’re like most small businesses you’ve thought about it briefly and then put it aside as something that is not pressing and can be dealt with another day, when your to-do list is shorter or you have more time. According to a Forrester Research Study 24% of companies polled had experienced a full data disaster and with less than 40% of all small to medium-sized businesses properly and regularly backing up their data, many are unable to recover. Now is the time to put in place a backup and disaster recovery planbefore your company experiences an unexpected disaster and becomes one of the 70% of businessesthat goes out of business within two years of suffering a serious data loss.

One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is believing that a disaster will never happen to them. For many people the word disaster is associated with big weather events like hurricanes or earthquakes and the ensuing damage from flooding and fires but disasters are day-to-day occurrences. When it comes to technology many of us have done something that could endanger our data to the point of no return, whether it’s accidently downloading a virus from an untrusted email attachment or deleting something by mistake, and it’s important to plan for the human error we all are susceptible to. Your data is the backbone of your company and keeping it safe from all potential negative forces is key.

At Databranch, we promote implementing an intelligent business continuity solution and our preferred solution is Datto. Having an intelligent business continuity solution not only ensures the backup of your data but provides a speedy recovery leaving your business with very little downtime. You may be thinking, “It’s OK, we’re a small business, not a multi-million dollar company, we can afford to be down for a few days” but according to the National Archives and Records Administration, 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more file for bankruptcy within the year. It’s time to consider the actual cost of downtime for your company including how much it would cost to pay employees that aren’t able to work and what it would cost to lose a customer because you couldn’t provide service to them in a timely manner. (If you would like to see your recovery time and downtime costs try this calculator (http://www.databranch.com/managed-services/data-disaster-recovery/rto-calculator).

We know it can be hard to change from something that has been working for you and that you are familiar with, but the reality is traditional backup solutions like tape and disk are no longer sufficient. With traditional solutions it can take weeks to recover your data, there is high risk for human error in creating the backup, it’s difficult to test if your backup is working properly, and when recovering data, tape failure rates exceed 50%. This does not mean we are suggesting you eliminate local storage and put all of your data in the cloud. Instead, we recommend a hybrid cloud solution to all of our customers through Datto.

Having a hybrid cloud solution gives your business the best of both worlds. You can perform easy local restores from your on-site Datto device but also have the reassurance that if something happens to your local device your data is safely located off-site in the cloud, in two separate bi-coastal data centers. This means that once set-up you will have three distinct copies of each file automatically backed up, eliminating the possibility for human error. At Databranch, we can monitor your backups, verify a successful completion, and take action if a backup doesn’t complete successfully. You no longer have to worry if your data is being backed up correctly and can have the peace of mind that if a disaster strikes, you won’t find out that an important file has been corrupted or backups haven’t taken place for months; both problems that often occur with traditional backup. By implementing a Datto business continuity solution your downtime is drastically reduced and with the virtualization capabilities of the SIRIS device, you can turn your device into a virtual server, keeping your business running while potential problems like server failure are being addressed.

In today’s day and age it’s essentially impossible to be without access to your business data. Technology is critical to everyday business practices and having a backup and recovery system you can count on is imperative. The time to develop an intelligent backup continuity system is now, not next week, not when your schedule calms down, but today. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Databranch can help provide a solution for your company’s business continuity and disaster recovery needs. If you would like to learn more, please call us today to speak with an Account Manager, or visitwww.databranch.com/Data-Disaster-Recovery

 
 
 

Cloud computing can not only help reduce upfront computing costs, it can also help your business become more efficient.

Small-business owners often have big dreams. Whether that dream is to keep your business small or to grow it into a big business, you want your business to run as smoothly as possible—every step of the way. You might start your business as a sole proprietor with just a laptop and a few software programs. As your business grows and adds employees, you have to start thinking about security, backups, remote access, and coordination of effort.

One of the reasons small businesses switch to cloud-based software is to reap the benefits of big-business infrastructure, without having to implement and manage it directly. Until recently, your software and servers almost always resided in your office, where they would be administered by you or your IT staff. This type of deployment is referred to as “on premises.” In the last several years, “cloud based” software has become more popular.

Cloud-based software (also called cloud computing) enables companies to access software and servers located in a secure data center, maintained by the software provider. These services are delivered in real time over the Internet.

Your Microsoft Hotmail account is an example of cloud-based email. Business users might be familiar with Microsoft Office 365, which offers a subscription-based suite of Microsoft-hosted, online applications that includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online. Office 365 also includes the familiar Office applications: Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, and Publisher.

Small businesses are finding the many attributes of cloud computing very attractive. Here are seven reasons why:

  1. Cloud computing can improve employee productivity. Using tools like Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, employees can easily access documents and emails while away from the office. Many small businesses have employees working remotely, who need both mobility and flexibility. Cloud computing is a straightforward and affordable way of addressing those needs, especially when you are using intuitive, familiar software that your employees already know.
  2. Cloud computing helps reduce upfront costs. Choosing a cloud-based solution for such things as email, document sharing, and web conferencing reduces the upfront cost associated with starting a business. There are no servers to buy. The cloud–based subscription model allows small businesses to easily increase or decrease their use of cloud services according to their needs.
  3. Cloud computing boosts collaboration. Employees everywhere can access and work with the same files in real time—no more emails back and forth with attachments to open. Better collaboration improves productivity and creativity.
  4. Cloud computing provides business resiliency. Numerous studies have shown that more than 50 percent of small businesses will go out of business within a year after a major data loss. In a cloud environment, if you lose your laptop—or worse, your whole office—you can get back to business in no time. All your business information and files are securely in place.
  5. Cloud computing is easy. The transfer of business information into the cloud is very straightforward—no need to install new hardware or software, no IT administration. It is often seamless to the user. Saving a document to a Microsoft OneDrive Pro follows the same process as saving it to a hard drive. No training is required.
  6. Cloud computing is accessible. Offering easy access and file sharing from any Internet connection, cloud computing allows employee access via smartphone or computer.
  7. Cloud computing can be more secure than a traditional IT infrastructure. Cloud- computing providers like Microsoft build multiple levels of security and redundancy into their data centers.

The great thing about cloud computing is that it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. Even if you already have servers and an IT staff, you can pick just one application that you think would be better served in the cloud. Considering cloud computing? Click here to reach out to Databranch or call our office at 716-373-4467!

Courtesy of Microsoft Community Connections

With spring fast approaching and the Windows Server 2003 end of support date right around the corner, many organizations have been looking to refresh their hardware and spruce up their network. We recommend looking at your often neglected UPS devices as potential opportunities to upgrade your technology infrastructure and APC has a great program that allows you to trade in your old devices for up to a 25% discount on new devices.

You may be wondering, “What is a UPS?” and “How does it benefit my network?” A UPS or uninterruptable power supply is a battery backup that plugs into your network devices like your servers and provides power long enough to smoothly shut-down any equipment during a power failure. When equipment is not shut-down properly, you leave your organization open to hardware failure, data loss, and costly downtime.

We have had many clients experience power emergencies this winter who were saved because they had UPS devices in place. The APC Trade-UPS program is a great opportunity for clients to upgrade their devices at a discounted rate. If you decide to participate in the program, the device you upgrade to can be up to four times the VA rating of the device you are trading in and it must be of at least equal size to your old device. Once the new device has been purchased, you have thirty days to return your old device to APC. If you can’t remember the last time you purchased a UPS or you know it’s been five years or more, reach out to a Databranch Account Manager to see if you can take advantage of this program today!

  1. Login Notifications – Enabling this feature allows you to be notified when your account is accessed from a computer or mobile device that you have not used before.
    1. Click on Settings ==> Security ==> Edit
    2. There are two notification methods: Email or Text Message/Push Notification.
      • If you choose the Email Option:
        1. You need to check the box and save changes.
        2. You will now receive notification emails to the account associated with your Facebook Account.
      • If you choose the Text Messaging Option:
        1. You will be prompted to enter your cell phone number.
        2. You will receive a text with a confirmation code.
        3. To finish set-up, you will need to enter the code on the site and click save changes.
        4. You will now receive notifications to your phone.
      • You can enable both notification methods!
  2. Login Approvals – Enabling this feature allows you to use your phone as an extra layer of security to keep others from logging into your account. This means that when someone tries to log-in to your account from a browser that has not been previously used to access your account, you will receive a notification requiring your approval before access is granted.
    1. Click on Settings ==> Security ==> Edit
    2. Check box “Require a security code to access my account from unknown browsers”
      • Benefit: You are able to prove that it is actually you trying to access your account.
      • Note: These codes can only be sent to your cell phone via text message or through the Facebook app
    3. Click Get Started ==> Choose your phone type: Android, iPhone, iPod touch, or Other
      • If you choose Android, iPhone, or iPod touch:
        1. You will be asked to make sure you have the latest version of the Facebook App on your device.
        2. Next, you will need to activate Code Generator which will create new security codes in your phone’s Facebook app every 30 seconds. Follow the 4 steps provided on your screen.
        3. Using Code Generator, you will enter the security code provided.
        4. You then will have the option to delay needing a security code for a week after set-up or requiring a security code right away. We recommend you check the box that says, “No thanks, require a code right away.”
      • If you choose Other:
        1. You will be sent a text message with a code to confirm access to your phone for login approvals.
        2. Enter the security code once you have received it.
        3. You then will have the option to delay needing a security code for a week after set-up or requiring a security code right away. We recommend you check the box that says, “No thanks, require a code right away.”

If you set-up either feature below or are already using Login Notifications/Login Approvals, leave a comment below with your thoughts!

Over the past few months we have had a few clients come to us with the same problem, their computer is locked and they can no longer access their important files or applications. Databranch has been able to help all but one recover their systems. The difference between the clients we could help and the one we could not is backup. This is why we emphasize the move to business continuity and our preferred solution, Datto, to all customers and prospects. It’s that important. When we have succeeded against this newest strain of malware, the victims have all had a recent, comprehensive backup to restore from.Below I will breakdown what ransomware is, ways to prevent it, and how to take back your computer if you happen to be hit.

What is Ransomware?

  • Malicious software (Malware) that infects your computer and restricts access until you pay a ransom to unlock it.
  • Common strains are CryptoLocker and CryptoWall

Signs That Your System has Been Infected

  • Any prompt asking you to pay money to decrypt your files. One common reason the attackers give for locking your machine is that you have done an illegal activity on your PC and are being fined by your local police force or the federal government. Always remember that these are false claims attempting to scare you into paying the ransom and that reputable organizations would never work in this manner.
  • Increase in pop-ups especially concerning your anti-virus or memory usage.
  • Sudden changes in your computer speed. If you turn on your computer one morning and it’s running much slower than the day before you should investigate what’s causing the changes.

Should I Pay the Ransom?

  • NO – There is no guarantee that paying the ransom will make the criminals hand over the key to your files and by paying you may be allowing them to gain greater access to your system and strengthen their attack.

How Can I Prevent Ransomware?

  • Have a business-class anti-virus installed and performing regular updates on your server and computers. We recommend Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud Edition.
  • Keep all software up to date. Applying updates as soon as they become available is imperative to keeping the bad guys out. When you wait because you’re too busy or don’t want to deal with possible changes or a computer restart, you leave your network exposed because the most common reason patches are released is to fix security flaws in your programs.
  • Make sure your business has a firewall installed on your network and that it is turned on at all times. Having a firewall defending your network is a great first step to block out hackers and viruses. (Want Databranch to manage your anti-virus, Windows updates, and firewall? Click here to learn about our managed service offerings!)
  • Avoid clicking on any links or attachments from unknown senders. If you receive an email from someone you know and regularly communicate with and it looks suspicious, trust your gut and reach out to the sender before opening anything from them.
  • Be wary about what websites you visit and what software you download. Recently, ransomware has been found in advertisements on popular sites like Yahoo and oftentimes the “free” software you find online is riddled with malware.
  • Prepare for the worst and implement a backup solution that stores your data off-site and is not directly attached to your device. Click here to learn more about Databranch’s recommended backup solution.

My System has Been Infected! What Should I Do?

  1. Turn off your computer
  2. Disconnect your computer from the network.
  3. Contact Databranch or your IT service provider. Ransomware is continually evolving and becoming more destructive. Databranch can help remove the malware from your system and restore your data from your most recent backup.

Have you experienced a ransomware attack? Share your story or ask any questions in the comments below!

Request your free security risk assessment and consultation with a Databranch Security Expert here:

If you are still using Symantec Backup Exec.cloud for your company’s backup it’s time to move to a new solution. January 6, 2015 is the last day services will be available and it could be sooner for those whose current service ends before that date.

What does this mean?

  • You will no longer have access to any of your data stored in the cloud. Symantec has made it clear that there will be no exceptions.

What should I do?

  • Determine when your subscription ends. You can do this by logging into your Symantec portal and clicking on the Subscription link.
  • Restore your stored data prior to the end of your subscription. If you need assistance, please contact us.
  • Choose a replacement backup solution and migrate prior to your subscription ending. Our Databranch Account Managers have been working with current clients and helping them transition to either a new cloud backup solution or a full-fledged business continuity solution and we can do the same for you.

Don’t get caught with an expired subscription and no way to retrieve your precious business data! We want everyone to feel confident that their data is protected and easy to access at all times, even during times of disaster. If you have any question or need assistance with your transition, please contact us at 716-373-4467, sales@databranch.com, or click here to Get Started.

Last week one of our customers was contacted by “Microsoft”. He was told that a virus had been discovered on his computer and that the “tech” needed access to his machine. By the end of the call his perfectly good computer was so infected with malware his best option was to wipe the device and start fresh, losing his personal data.

The worst part of the story is he thought he was talking to a Databranch engineer.

This scam has been around for a few years now and is showing no signs of slowing down. Here are a few tips to help you recognize the situation and avoid becoming their next victim.

  1. Unless you are expecting a call from Microsoft or Databranch, it is relatively safe to assume the call is not legitimate. If you are concerned, please hang-up and reach out to Microsoft or our office (716-373-4467) directly. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm, so if you get called outside of that time or at your home, please hang-up!
  2. DO NOT download any software, go to any links, or provide any personal or credit information. These scammers are looking to install malicious software on your machine to steal your passwords, online banking info, etc., trying to get you to click on links that give them remote access to your machine, or get you to provide them credit card information to pay them for their services. In the end, it’s all about the money and how much they can get from you!
  • Common organizations the scammers pretend to be from:
    • Windows Helpdesk
    • Windows Service Center
    • Microsoft Tech Support
    • Microsoft Support
    • Windows Technical Department Support Group
    • Microsoft Research and Development Team

If you have been victim of a telephone scam please take the following steps:

  1. Change your passwords
  2. Scan your computer for malware. One free program we recommend is called Malwarebytes.
  3. Install/Update Anti-Virus Software
  4. Report the call to the FTC – 1-877-FTC-HELP

When your system is compromised, the best thing you can have is a good back-up of your data. If your system is recoverable, the consequences of an attack are less severe. Click here to learn more about are favorite back-up/disaster recovery solution.

For another take on this scam check out this article from Forbes Tech: http://onforb.es/VOG9FI

Have you been a victim of a telephone scam? Share your story or ask any questions in the comments below!

Last week it was announced that financial institution, J.P. Morgan had suffered from a security breach. This cyber-attack has affected 76 million households and 7 million small businesses, the exact number of individuals who have been exposed is unknown and has not been released.

Good News

  • The attack is under control and has been stopped.
  • The hackers were unable to obtain any credit or debit card information, social security numbers, passwords, or date of birth information.

Bad News

  • If you use Chase.com, JPMorganOnline, Chase Mobile, or JPMorgan Mobile your name, phone number, address, and email have been compromised.

What Should I Do?

  • Be prepared for an increase in phishing emails, especially emails that appear to be coming from JP Morgan. A reputable company will never ask for your personal information through an email. If you believe an email is legitimate, take the time to reach out to a company representative at an established phone number. The primary goal of a phishing email is to steal your personal information or money.

Please comment below with any questions or concerns you may have about this recent security breach.

Our Databranch account managers can help you develop a security solution that fits your business’s needs. We offer a comprehensive network security assessment and our engineers have the security expertise to keep your network safe. You can reach us at 716-373-4467, sales@databranch.com, or click here to get started.

Over the past year the tech world has been flooded with talk about Windows XP, which went out of support this past April. Recently, Microsoft has announced Windows Server 2003 will experience the same fate as XP and on July 14th, 2015 this highly used server operating system will no longer be supported.

The primary concern when a software product becomes end of life is security. Microsoft will no longer be creating or releasing updates for Server 2003 leaving your business vulnerable to security threats. In 2013 thirty-seven critical updates were released for Server 2003, without these patches you leave your network and company data exposed. If you’ve been watching the news lately you know hackers have been having some success, think Home Depot or Target. It is predicted these attacks will become even more prevalent as companies fail to upgrade outdated technology. As a business, you also need to be concerned about staying in compliance with your industries standards and regulations. Many times software that is no longer supported will not measure up.

The time to start planning your migration from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 is now. The first thing to do is determine how many, if any, instances of Server 2003 are being utilized in your current network set-up. Next, assess the upgrade path for all applications that are currently running on the Server 2003 operating system. We often find that business specific applications that are currently running on this older operating system will also need to be upgraded or replaced to be compatible on newer systems. Finally, allocate resources and budget for any necessary hardware upgrades that may need to be completed prior to transitioning to Windows Server 2012. It is likely that your business will need to upgrade your server infrastructure for the new operating system to run at its most effective levels.

The good news is we are still almost a year away from the end of support date but it’s important to start preparing soon. At Databranch, we have successfully migrated numerous customers from Windows Server 2003 to newer, supported operating systems. Our account managers are excited to work with you to create a migration plan for your business and are available to talk now. You can reach us at 716-373-4467, sales@databranch.com, or click here to get started.