Cheap S3 Storage: What’s the Wait?

NetDepot’s S3 Storage Savings

Companies are amassing more information every day, across every sector of business, related to all aspects of their industry, consumer base, and supply lines. That’s a lot of data to collect, store, access, and mine. The are finding a need for a data storage facility that provides all those services, as well as top-of-the-line data security features and flexible scalability a must. And they need it all at a reasonable cost.

NetDepot’s S3 Cloud Object storage (Simple Storage Service) meets all those needs while also promising a multitude of additional support services.

Why Cloud Object Storage?

The short answer is because cloud object storage is the most comprehensive way to manage today’s burgeoning lakes of unstructured (‘object’) data. Cloud servers are larger and more complex than most on-premise servers, so they can handle more information, and handle it better than most on-premise servers, too. And they’re managed by cloud management experts whose sole focus is to monitor and maintain those systems.

The longer answer includes all the benefits and features provided by cloud storage, such as its flexibility. As your company’s needs change, so can your cloud storage services, so you’re not locked into a single ‘solution’ for many computing challenges. Cloud storage also offers easy access to your files, so your workers can access critical corporate data from anywhere they may be. Cloud storage providers also often provide invaluable backup and restore services in the event your organization gets hacked or suffers an outage. Backups and disaster recovery services are usually always best handled by experienced, skilled service providers.

Only you can know what type of cloud configuration will work best for your enterprise, and NetDepot offers all. Depending on the computing demands of your operation, you may elect to establish a private or a hybrid cloud storage option at a proprietary data center. However, if both of these options are often too expensive or require too much work, many companies choose to access the cloud storage services of a public cloud services provider, such as NetDepot.

Why NetDepot’s S3 Cloud Storage Service?

Two factors pop up when comparing NetDepot’s S3 Cloud Storage services to those of the other industry giants: reliability and affordability.

Reliability

You’d think that the ‘Big Guys’ would get it right all the time, but you’d be wrong. In many cases, these prominent industry leaders suffer major failures simply because their organizations are such a behemoth, and there are so many opportunities for disaster.

For example, in 2017, Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage Service) failed when an Amazon team member, intending to remove just a small number of servers from a particular network, instead, inadvertently removed many more servers than was planned. The single erroneous entry launched a cascading effect that eventually took out AWS services in the entire US-EAST-I region. The system failure caused inordinately slow loading of the websites of 54 of the nation’s top 100 retailers, including Lululemon, One King’s Lane, and Express. The outage itself lasted only four hours, but customers throughout the affected area experienced service delays of up to 11 hours. Clearly, just because it’s big and charges high prices doesn’t mean that AWS can guarantee its customers safe and reliable services.

In contrast, NetDepot has spent its 20 years in the business perfecting the services and options of its much more selective enterprise. The company’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service, colocation, dedicated servers, managed hosting, and cloud services live in two Tier 4 Data Centers located in Houston and Atlanta (with a third coming soon in San Francisco), and guarantee 100% of uptime service levels. These ‘big’ services offered through the smaller but state-of-the-art NetDepot servers ensure that no NetDepot customers experience losses like those experienced by AWS clientele.

Affordability

Pricing matters, too, and every company must maintain a vigilant eye on the bottom line if it intends to stay in business. Although Amazon pioneered the S3 technology, providers like NetDepot can offer the same high-quality service at a much lower rate than the tech giant offers its clients.

As an example, consider the need to store and access a large quantity of TBs, say, 210,000 TBs. With AWS, that service would cost over $331,000, while at NetDepot, the exact same service costs a mere $26,000, an 80% savings. For the same service.

NetDepot’s debt-free management style is a testament to the company’s financial intelligence, which is demonstrated by the way they share their economic savvy with their customers. And its customers gain the same great support and service as they would at AWS, but at exceptional prices:

  • Direct Connect options are as low as $150 per month for 1 Gigabit; only $2500 per month for 40 Gigabits.
  • Expert migration support is available, too, to assist the move from your current S3 provider to NetDepot, and it’s free when you sign up for a new account.
  • Scaling your enterprise is less expensive, too. Just multiply the same low price you pay for your cloud data storage service by the value of scale you want to achieve. NetDepot will help you get there.
  • Finally, but not insignificantly, as noted above, NetDepot’s 100% uptime accessibility guarantees that access to your stored data is always available, which makes NetDepot’s S3 storage service a virtually priceless asset to your company.

Any company requires access and management of its data at every moment of every day. NetDepot’s S3 Storage Service gives you the storage capacities you need to accomplish today’s and tomorrow’s goals at a price you’re happy to pay. Perhaps it’s time to chat with the experts at NetDepot to find out why their S3 cloud storage service is the best solution to your data storage problem.

4 Steps to Creating Your IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Catastrophe can strike at any moment, often in the most unexpected of ways. Depending on your business, your IT environment, and your location, you may face disasters such as:

  • Natural (tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, floods)
  • Physical (power outages, hardware failures)
  • Human (insider threats, data breaches, cyberattacks)

Most business owners are at least subconsciously aware that these events could happen to them—yet these concerns are hand-waved away as something that only happens to “other people.” As a result, far too many businesses are unfortunately flying blind when it comes to a disaster recovery plan.

This happy-go-lucky attitude is one reason why disasters are so devastating for so many companies. According to a report by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40 percent of businesses never reopen after suffering a disaster, and another 25 percent of them fail within a year.

Of course, disasters are inherently sudden and unexpected—but that doesn’t mean that you have to be unprepared when disaster strikes. There are methods and steps you can take before, during, and after a disaster to protect the continuity of your business processes and the integrity of your organization.

In this article, we’ll discuss 4 of the most important actions to take when creating a disaster recovery plan, so that you can be as prepared as possible if and when you face a catastrophe.

1. Build a risk assessment plan

A risk assessment plan is a concise yet comprehensive summary of the various risks that you face as an organization, helping you understand your most critical vulnerabilities.

If your headquarters is located in Florida, for example, then you’re much more likely to suffer a hurricane than an earthquake. On the other hand, earthquakes and other catastrophes such as wildfires are a top-level concern for disaster-prone regions like the Los Angeles area.

Risk assessment plans should discuss a variety of possible disasters, from those that are merely inconvenient to those that could threaten the existence of your business. Many companies overemphasize the potential worst-case scenarios in their risk assessment plans, believing that this will make them more knowledgeable and prepared. However, this tendency can be dangerous: it draws attention away from less critical (yet still dangerous) events that might be far more likely to occur.

In addition, don’t forget to include an assessment of all the possible risks to your business: natural, physical, and human. While you might fear falling victim to the latest malware or virus, for example, you should more likely watch out for the insider threats posed by your employees and contractors instead. IBM reports that insider threats (both intentional and unintentional) account for 60 percent of all cyberattacks.

2. Perform a business impact analysis

Once you better understand the risks you face as an organization, you can create a business impact analysis that evaluates the potential impacts that these risks would have on your business.

Your business impact analysis should include an estimate of the costs and repercussions to your organization in the event that a catastrophe occurs. The impact of a disaster on your business is likely greater than you realize, even for relatively minor events.

According to a 2016 survey, for example, 98 percent of businesses say that an hour of downtime would cost them more than $100,000, while a full third say that it would cost more than $1 million.

To calculate the costs of downtime for your own organization, don’t forget to consider the following factors:

  • Your average hourly revenue
  • The number of your employees and the hours they work per week
  • The number of your employees who would be affected by a disaster
  • The lost productivity for each employee affected by the disaster

With the hourly cost of downtime in mind, you can then decide on two parameters which are essential to any IT disaster recovery plan: RTO and RPO.

  • Recovery time objective (RTO) is the maximum amount of time that can elapse before your data, applications, and processes are fully restored. Essentially, RTO determines the level of comfort that your business has with experiencing downtime. Businesses that require a high level of availability (perhaps on the order of seconds) will have a lower RTO than businesses that can survive downtime lasting minutes or even hours.
  • Recovery point objective (RPO) is the maximum age of the backups that can be restored in order to preserve business continuity. In other words, RPO determines how much data your organization can afford to lose: could you survive after losing 5 minutes’ worth of data? 1 hours’ worth?

3. Cloud backups, on-premises, or hybrid?

Speaking of backups, we all know that backing up your data and software applications is a must. It’s perhaps the most important step your business can take to make yourself more resilient and protect yourself from disaster.

By storing your IT essentials in an off-site location, you can more quickly and easily restore operations in the event of a catastrophe that could otherwise cripple your business.

Yet not all backups are created equal. The first question to answer when backing up your data: will you back up to an on-premise server, to the cloud, or to a hybrid solution that combines both options?

Cloud backups are an increasingly popular option for companies who want to preserve their business continuity after a disaster. Storing your data “in the cloud” means sending it to a secondary off-site location with a server that is managed by a third party.

There are several different types of cloud backups:

  • Public cloud backups store data on a remote server owned and managed by a third party known as the “cloud provider.”
  • Private cloud backups store data on a server that has been exclusively designated for your use.
  • Hybrid cloud backups combine the public and private cloud, offering a more flexible cloud backup solution.

Whichever option you choose, cloud backup solutions are on the rise. In a 2019 survey, 60 percent of organizationsreport using cloud backup features such as short-term data storage, cloud archiving, and DRaaS (disaster recovery as a service). What’s more, of the remaining 40 percent, more than half are planning to adopt cloud backups in the year ahead.

Meanwhile, on-premise backups store data on a server that is under your exclusive ownership and control. This server may be located within the physical confines of your business, or off-site. Note that on-premise backups stored in the same location will be vulnerable to the same natural disasters that threaten your primary servers.

Of course, you can also opt for a hybrid backup strategy that combines the cloud and on-premises storage. Many organizations decide to use a hybrid backup strategy when they have certain data that cannot be stored in the cloud due to compliance or security reasons. A hybrid backup strategy also gives you the benefits of both options: the scalability of the cloud, combined with the speed of access of on-premise storage.

4. Document and test your plan

Just like any other emergency plan, your IT disaster recovery should be well-documented and well-tested in advance of a catastrophe. Every employee has a role to play following a disaster, and your plan should make it obvious what that role is and how to execute it successfully.

Your complete IT disaster recovery plan should include:

  • A brief overview and summary of the plan.
  • The contact information for executives, critical personnel, and members of the recovery team.
  • Clear, comprehensive steps to follow in the immediate wake of a disaster.
  • A list of the most important elements in your IT infrastructure, and the maximum RTO and RPO for each one.
  • Insurance documents and contact information for your insurance provider(s).
  • Suggestions for dealing with the financial, legal, and reputational repercussions of the disaster.

The more information your plan includes, the more important it is to test it on a regular basis. Full tests should run at least every quarter, and smaller-scale tests can run more frequently outside of standard business hours.

Conclusion

Creating an IT disaster recovery plan isn’t the easiest or the most fun part of running a business—but in a world where natural and digital disasters can strike at any second, it’s an absolute necessity.

Working with a skilled managed services provider can be a lifesaver when creating an IT disaster recovery plan. Look for an MSP with experience in disaster recovery and qualities such as:

  • Fast recovery speeds
  • Ease of use
  • Scalability of storage and backups
  • Knowledge of security and compliance issues

NetDepot’s cloud-based DRaaS (disaster recovery as a service) platform can give your business the peace of mind you need. Our DRaaS solution is flexible, scalable, and offers near-zero recovery times that can get you back up and running within a matter of seconds. To learn more about how we can help preserve your business continuity, get in touch with our team today.

Disaster Recovery in the Cloud

Protecting your data from threats requires the same level of advanced thinking and planning as any other aspect of your business. However, too many companies continue to rely on old-style programming and systems as ‘protections’ against today’s advanced techno cybercriminals who specifically target data stores and bases. Worse, environmental concerns are now also presenting equally significant challenges to the security of corporate data. For forward-thinking company owners, embracing the values offered by the cloud’s advanced data disaster recovery (DR) technology is the only way to maintain the safety and security of their enterprise information, whether they are attacked by criminals or Mother Nature.

The value of a data backup and DR plan

Surviving a cyberattack or natural disaster is usually the result of proper planning, not good luck. Disasters can happen at any time for almost any reason. In many cases, the debacles cost both the company and its customers millions of dollars in damages and recovery expenses.

Things don’t have to go that way, however. Having a full-fledged data DR plan in place provides you with assurances that access to and use of your corporate databases will continue both during and after an attack, and can even reduce your organization’s exposure to excessive damages.

A ‘full-fledged’ data DR plan accomplishes many of your corporate goals:

  • It will minimize disruptions in your operations while your IT department addresses the crisis. Keeping services in motion ensures ongoing revenues and satisfied customers.
  • It will limit the extent of the damage that occurs. The plan can direct your IT professionals to the location of the breach or failure so they can make appropriate repairs as quickly as possible.
  • It also anticipates when alternative data sources are required to maintain productivity, so it ensures that your organization has backup data and processing resources available when needed.
  • Finally, the DR plan provides a structure to support full recovery practices, ensuring that your critical corporate data and processing aspects return to their pre-event condition but improved by the knowledge gained during the incident.

Once you’ve established your plan, you’ll want to ensure you optimize its capacities by engaging optimal resources.

Secondary data centers as DR resources

For many companies, a secondary data center is the DR response of choice. They simply duplicate their primary data stores in the secondary data center to use as a fall back if or when a disaster occurred.

The reliance on that resource is becoming less than optimal, however, as technologies and threats emerge. Many legacy data centers don’t have the protections needed to keep corporate information safe from today’s predatory cybercriminals. Further, their design and architecture are often expensive to maintain, and the DR purpose usually doesn’t require access to their full (and expensive) range of services.

Unprotected threats

Emerging cyber and environmental concerns now threaten the previously safe haven of the secondary data center, making it difficult – and expensive – for you to prepare for and maintain sufficient and appropriate DR resources on those secondary servers.

Cybercrime attacks

Innovations in technologies are the most significant contributors to the rise in cybercrimes in recent years. The Internet of Things (IoT) is of particular concern as each individual smartphone, tablet, and computer expands the vulnerability field of every system it accesses. People who use those digital tools may not follow their recommended security protocols. When they don’t, any level of cybercriminal can access the data contained on their device, as well as, potentially, data held in any system with which that device engages.

This challenge is significant in organizations that permit workers to use personal devices for work purposes. The data security for those companies is only as sound as their least attentive employee, and any worker who doesn’t utilize security practices on their device leaves their employer open to an attack. As organizations add more devices – both personal and corporate – to their networks, they are also adding new opportunities for cyber-attacks on all of their data centers through any one of them. As those threat levels rise, so does your cost to protect against them across your data center campus.

Environmental woes

The range of environmental threats to secondary data centers continues to grow as those legacy back-ups and DR systems become more elaborate and complex. Almost any environmental risk can become a disaster when there aren’t sufficient preparations made for the secondary data center:

  • In 2017, an unexpected electrical surge in a data center forced British Airways to ground hundreds of planes and thousands of passengers. Baggage handling, ticketing, and check-in services all went offline as the data center failed, and the company didn’t have a backup plan for those servers if or when they failed. (In the U.S., squirrels are often the cause of power outages.)
  • Lightning strikes can also take out a data center; both Amazon and Microsoft lost computing services when an electrical storm targeted their data centers.
  • Storms, in particular, have been especially damaging to data centers in recent years. Hurricane Sandy took out several data centers across New York and New Jersey, as rising flood-water inundated the generators that powered those servers. The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and Gizmodo all lost power as a result of that storm.

Chances are, data security is not your company’s primary business. Therefore, it will become increasingly challenging for your organization to engage the technologies and expertise required to keep safe both your primary and secondary data centers.

 The cloud as the optimal data DR resource

Just as technologies flex to accommodate your operational needs, so do cloud-based DR technologies flex to accommodate your specific data security needs. The cloud DR strategy can both backup and restore your data if disaster strikes, giving you a foundation on which to work while your primary servers are under repair (or being replaced). Cloud DR services offer users multiple options, based on their particular use cases and corporate goals. Plus, the wide variety of implementation strategies can accommodate almost any budget, and give even small companies robust recovery plans that they could otherwise not afford.

How it works – as a backup and recovery tool

Fundamentally, the cloud ensures continuity of your operations by providing a second, cloud-based site from which they can operate if hard- or software systems go down. Known as a ‘failover,’ this service replicates the capacities of a second ‘backup’ data center, ensuring your organization has access to its data if its primary center becomes unavailable. It differs from your secondary centers, however, because its costs are born mostly by the service providers, who charge you on a pay-per-use model, a capacity model, or a bandwidth model. You aren’t paying for the hardware, software, physical plant, maintenance or upkeep costs, so using the cloud is much less expensive for your company than running a second data center for DR purposes.

Further, the cloud offers varying options for what and how your organization can ‘failover’ its information:

  • You can choose to failover just your data, keeping it safe from intrusions that may occur in your primary data center.
  • You could also choose to failover entire applications, which is significant for companies that rely on proprietary programming to achieve corporate success.
  • A third choice option is a virtual machine, which can replicate single or multiple operations on a virtual machine in the cloud itself. The virtual machine performs all your activities in the cloud until you get your home network restored.

Each of these options includes a ‘failback’ service that returns your data and programming to your primary data centers after they’ve been recovered.

How it works – as a strategy tool

Beyond gaining the peace of mind that comes from knowing your data is safe, a cloud-based DR plan also offers other benefits to improve the strength of your enterprise. Developing the DR plan, then tying it to cloud services provides a series of opportunities for the evaluation and analysis of how well your business works and how you can use cloud services to improve those processes.

  • Threat analysis

Your company faces threats that are unique to its business. Some companies may be vulnerable to data hacks, while others may be more vulnerable to floods or fires. Determining where your vulnerabilities are highest will help you decide which cloud services best address those challenges.

  • Impact analysis

Another point to ponder is how well your organization would bear the brunt of an attack. A loss of inventory data might not be as significant as the loss of consumer data, so you might consider investing more resources in one over the other.

  • Downtime analysis

You’ll also want to determine how long your enterprise might be down as it recovers from an attack. You may have internal resources to tide you over till the crisis passes, or your company may go down altogether within minutes of the onset of the event. Your strategy should address the challenges posed by down times to keep them as short as possible and facilitate a return to full functionality as fast as possible.

Crafting your data DR plan using cloud resources can improve your understanding of how your company functions and how well it’s working to achieve its goals.

Cloud providers as backup support systems

Not insignificantly, cloud-based DR services with NetDepot come with a team of dedicated cloud professionals who are available to help you solve all your data security concerns today and into tomorrow. With 24/7 support, NetDepot is here to help you keep your data safe from known and future threats, and to help maximize your DR strategy.

Cloud Backups 101: Why Cloud Backups Are the #1 Cybersecurity Tool

Introduction

“The cloud” is no longer a tech buzzword—it’s an established best practice for businesses large and small. According to RightScale’s 2019 State of the Cloud report, 94 percent of organizations now use cloud computing in some form or fashion.

By migrating their computing resources to remote servers, companies who use cloud computing free themselves of the obligation to manage their own physical servers or run software on their own machines. Instead, data, applications, and infrastructure are all provisioned to users over the Internet, lowering IT expenses and overhead.

Cloud backups, in particular, have emerged as a savvy business strategy. By protecting valuable enterprise data and ensuring business continuity, cloud backups play an indispensable role for thousands of organizations.

If you’re wondering “What are cloud backups?” or “Why should I use cloud backups?”, this article is for you. We’ll go over everything you need to know, including what cloud backups are and the benefits of cloud backups.

What Are Cloud Backups?

It’s never a bad idea to back up your enterprise data, preferably on multiple servers and in multiple locations. The more redundancy you build into your IT operations, the better chance you have at quickly recovering from disaster and maintaining business continuity.

Cloud backups are copies of files or databases that are sent to a secondary location “in the cloud,” protecting them from failures and catastrophes. In the event that data or equipment are damaged or destroyed, you can restore the previous state of your files and databases using these backups, getting back on track with minimal disruption.

Providers of cloud backup services offer users a secure interface that allows them to access and transfer files to and from cloud storage. Data is always encrypted both in transit and at rest, protecting it if it falls into the wrong hands.

There are three main options for cloud backup solutions (and for cloud computing in general): public, private, and hybrid.

  • Public cloud backups involve storing your data on a third-party remote server and accessing it over the Internet. The cloud provider, who owns this server, is responsible for all management and maintenance tasks.
  • Private cloud backups involve storing your data on a server that is designated exclusively for your use. Note that the private cloud is not location-dependent: this server may be located in your own data center, or hosted remotely by a third-party private cloud provider.
  • Hybrid cloud backups involve a custom mixture of both the public and private cloud, giving you more control and flexibility. You might back up less sensitive or less important data to the public cloud, for example, while assigning business-critical backups to the private cloud.

In contrast with cloud backups, on-premise backups involve storing your data on servers that you own and that are physically located within your place of operations. Many businesses also opt for a hybrid solution, in which some data is stored in the cloud and other data on-premises.

5 Benefits of Cloud Backups

1. Lower costs

Every organization has its own needs and objectives, and there are certain situations where on-premise backups are cheaper than the cloud. Before switching from on-premise to cloud backups, it’s important to do a detailed cost-benefit analysis of your options to verify that the cloud is the right choice.

Still, most businesses agree that in general, cloud storage is less expensive than its on-premise equivalent. This is partly because cloud storage uses a different pricing model than on-premise storage:

  • With on-premise storage, organizations make a large upfront purchase (the server), while also paying for the cost of installation. Servers are usually upgraded every 3 to 5 years. Beyond the cost of ongoing support and maintenance, however, businesses do not have to spend any more money in between server replacements. This is known as a capital expenditure (CapEx).
  • With cloud storage, organizations pay a recurring monthly or annual fee in order to keep using the provider’s services. This fee may incorporate factors such as storage capacity, bandwidth, and number of users. Support and maintenance are the provider’s responsibility, and occur behind the scenes at no extra cost. This is known as an operating expenditure (OpEx).

Backing up data in the cloud also saves you the cost and trouble of doing support and maintenance yourself. There’s no need to maintain a large internal IT team; instead, you can streamline your IT operations by passing these obligations to the cloud provider.

Moving backups to the cloud therefore lets your IT team can focus less on tedious support and maintenance tasks, and more on generating value for your core business activities.

2. Better scalability

Due to the CapEx vs. OpEx debate discussed above, making your on-premise backup server scalable can be a challenge. If you run out of storage space with your on-premise backup solution, you have little choice besides purchasing a new server. However, this option is both costly and wasteful, paying for additional storage space that you may not ever use.

The cloud, on the other hand, has scalability as a founding principle. Cloud resources such as storage are virtualized, so you can provision exactly the amount of space that you require for your backups. This incremental, as-needed approach makes the cloud more cost-effective and flexible than on-premise offerings.

3. Improved security

It’s easy to believe that on-premise backups are more secure, due to their closer physical proximity. While understandable, this feeling of safety is a peculiarity of human psychology that largely doesn’t play out in the real world.

First, making backups in the cloud helps prevent malicious actors and insider threats from breaching your physical defenses, tampering with your data. Public cloud providers have strict physical security measures at their data centers that prevent unauthorized individuals from entering the premises.

Second, the reputation and business model of these providers depends on ensuring the security of your data. Public cloud providers employ some of the world’s top security experts and developers in order to remain on the cutting edge of cloud security.

The security of your on-premise backups, meanwhile, lies entirely with you—and you likely don’t have access to the same resources and expertise as these tech titans.

Most businesses have come to agree with the perception that the cloud has better security than on-premise servers. In a survey of IT professionals at medium and large enterprises, 64 percent agreed that cloud infrastructure is more secure than legacy on-premise systems.

4. Disaster prevention and recovery

Disasters such as fires, floods, storms, earthquakes, and more can wreak havoc on the unprepared organization. According to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), more than 40 percent of businesses never reopen after a natural disaster.

Yet natural disasters are just one type of disaster that can befall your IT infrastructure. Cyberattacks, employee accidents, and power outages can take your business out of commission for hours or days. As a result, you’ll lose valuable productivity and harm your customer relationships.

Cloud backups prevent both natural and man-made disasters by duplicating your data in a remote location. Even if your on-premise servers suffer physical damage and destruction, your data remains secure in the cloud, ready to be restored as soon as possible.

5. Malware protection

Backing up your files and data to the cloud is especially effective against malware attacks such as ransomware, which can bring your business shuddering to a halt.

Ransomware is malicious software that prevents users from accessing the files and applications on their computers. The software extorts users to pay a “ransom” in order to unlock their machine within a narrow time window, or else they will lose access forever. Attacks such as the 2017 WannaCry cryptoworm, which cost businesses around the world an estimated $4 billion, underline the gravity of the ransomware threat.

The good news is that cloud backups allow you to sidestep ransomware concerns entirely. Assuming you make backups at regular intervals, machines that are infected with ransomware can be restored to the most recent ransomware-free backup, with little or no disruption to your operations.

Conclusion

Cloud backups have advantages over legacy on-premise systems such as cost and scalability—but the benefits don’t end there. As an essential part of any cybersecurity toolbox, cloud backups enable you to restore your business operations quickly and effectively after a disaster or malware attack.

If you’re considering a cloud backup service for your organization, get in touch with the NetDepot team to schedule a consultation. No matter what your business requirements, we offer a variety of cloud, managed, and dedicated server options that fit your needs.

Cloud Backups Reduce Ransomware Damage

Cyber crime continues to plague global industries, and ‘ransomware’ is proving to be an ever-growing criminal threat. Both large and small businesses are targets, and attacks cause unexpected productivity disruptions as well as millions of dollars of losses. Maintaining a sound and reliable backup – preferably in the cloud – is both your best defense and your best recovery tool.

Ransomware Attacks on the Rise

Ransomware prevents your organization from accessing some or all of your digital resources until you pay a ransom, and it seems no business or entity is immune to this crime.

  • Last year, about 70% of ransomware attacks targeted small businesses, with the ransom demand averaging $116,000 (although some demands were in the millions of dollars).
  • Small businesses aren’t alone with the threat, however. In May of this year, the the “Robbin Hood” malware struck the City of Baltimore, disabling almost all of its online and computer functions. It took more than two months for employees to recover their email files, and they were forced to provide services manually while IT was restoring the system.
  • Pitney Bowes, the multi-billion-dollar ecommerce giant, was hit just this month (October 2019), with attackers targeting its core mailing and shipping services. The company is still working on restoring its programming, but the losses caused by the disruption in services will be significant.

In the Pitney Bowes case, it doesn’t appear that sensitive information was exposed, but that may be simply because of sheer luck. Ransomware perpetrators often focus on organizations that retain sensitive information, such as customer names, accounts, and finance records. In the ten months of 2019, more than 140 ransomware attacks in the U.S. targeted two specific victim-types, governments and healthcare providers. The thieves were looking for ‘personally identifiable information’ (PII) that fetches high prices on black markets. In Texas, a coordinated attack affected 22 state agencies all on the same day, locking their IT systems to prevent access to files and programs. And the healthcare industry reports over 700 cyber incidents in 2018 alone, 85% of which were ransomware attacks.

No entity is safe, apparently, from this menace.

Who’s Vulnerable – and Why

The challenge posed by ransomware is its ease of access to your machines and servers. Email systems are a favorite ransomware format, and ‘phishing’ is a common method of gaining access to corporate servers. ‘Phishing’ involves luring a worker to click on an attractive but infected email, which, when opened, unleashes the malware into that machine and its connected servers and networks.

The infected email can wear many masks, too, making it easy for users to disregard it as a threat:

  • It often resembles a note from a trusted source, so workers will confidently click on it.
  • ‘Malspam,’ unsolicited spam email carrying the malware, can introduce booby-trapped attachments or contain links to infected websites.
  • ‘Malvertising’ emails look like attractive offers for something users might want. Clicking on them, however, opens access to their machines by criminal servers that scan for vulnerabilities, then demand ransoms for the data contained in those now-infected files.

So what makes a company susceptible to ransomware? In most cases, it is simple user error. Email is ubiquitous, so anyone who uses it is vulnerable to a ransomware attack. Ergo, for many companies, their defenses are only as good as their employee training on email management.

However, other circumstances also increase the risk of being a target:

Your business is in a susceptible industry

As noted above, any industry that handles sensitive PII is a target for malware. If your business involves obtaining and retaining confidential consumer information, it’s also more likely to be targeted over companies that don’t hold that information.

Your systems aren’t current

Many companies don’t spend money on critical programming updates, only to find their aging software can’t protect them from viruses those programs were not designed to recognize.

Your organization regularly uses mobile devices

Those disparate endpoints are often not protected from malware nor connected to the security protections provided by your enterprise, especially in this day of “Bring Your Own Device” to work. Again, if your workers use their personal devices for corporate activities, then your data security is only as safe as your most lax employee.

Poor employee training

Some companies provide no security training for their workers, so they are exceptionally vulnerable to successful ransomware or other cyber crime attacks. Those that do provide training may not emphasize the concerns posed by malware, or provide appropriate precautions for their workers to use when accessing potentially vulnerable systems.

Poor policy enforcement

Even companies with excellent worker training, however, remain vulnerable if they don’t enforce the policies that underscore that training. In this case, the corporate culture may be the most attractive element to the criminal if it fails to follow through with enforcing its rules about data management. In many cases, hackers simply follow an employee into sensitive data stores through the workers’ insufficient ‘access’ protocols.

Recovering from a Ransomware Attack

Obviously, taking the time to correct any insufficient in-house practices can go a long way to preventing being the victim of a ransomware attack. Be sure to analyze how your organization manages its data, and implement protocols to emphasize industry best practices in data security behaviors and activities.

However, it is also essential that you take appropriate actions so you can recover from an attack and your organization remains on the job even after an attack has occurred. For many experts, the best and fastest way to recover is by having a fully functional backup resource to turn to, and for many companies, that resource is the cloud.

The Cloud Offers Solutions to Malware Threats

Cloud computing offers a myriad of opportunities; acting as the backup resource for cyber crime victims is only one.

Cloud-based experience and knowledge

Cloud services providers are in the business of keeping your business safe, so they are up to date on current ransomware and other security threats. It is also their business to remain educated as threats emerge or subside, so their security programming is (almost) always more current, comprehensive and more affordable than anything you can generate in-house.

Cloud designed specifically for malware threats

Cloud programming evolves as threats evolve. The best cloud providers use software that automatically scans for emerging malware and shuts it down or removes it before it causes damage. Further, because the cloud is remote from its client, many threats are eliminated before the customer even knows they were in danger.

Cloud eases rollbacks

Cloud backups offer versioning capabilities, so your files can be rolled back to the most current, pre-attack standard. Optimally, your backup schedules keep your backup files current or almost current with your primary servers, so rolling to the backup system won’t cause delays in your productivity. Staying in business while managing the attack eliminates much of the stress that may interfere with the clarity of your thinking at that incredibly stressful time.

Cloud provides built-in precautions

Not significantly, because the cloud is not connected to your network, it won’t be affected by malware introduced onto your systems. Consequently, while the attack may slow down your business activities, it won’t also pose a threat to your customers’ confidential data.

Retaining the Value of On-Prem Resources

Many companies are concerned that embracing the cloud will reduce the value they’ve already invested in their on-prem servers. For data and system security issues, the cloud offers the best opportunity for optimal safety and recovery, making it the optimal choice for this purpose. However, that doesn’t mean that on-prem resources lose their value. Depending on the data and systems requiring backup, on-prem servers are accessible in a hybrid solution that retains them for immediate availability while using the cloud service for backup storage functions.

The Cloud Enhances Business Opportunities, Too

Most companies experience significant gains in business productivity because of their cloud investments, even as they achieve enhanced data security levels with safer backups. In fact, the cloud backup opportunity offers protections against other concerns, not just cyber crimes.

Physical threats

Today’s weather is posing challenges all across the country, and most companies aren’t prepared when their physical location floods, burns, or is blown apart by gale-force winds. The cloud backup opportunity provides a second rendition of their corporate programming; in inclement weather, they may lose their building, but they won’t lose their business.

Competing cloud customers eroding service levels

Some companies fear they will lose their cloud access to other cloud customers during peak demand times, so they stick with their on-prem servers. Many cloud services providers offer dedicated servers specifically for individual clients so that all that processing capacity is available when needed. Providers configure these dedicated servers to facilitate every digital tool necessary, including email, domain names, and FTP (file transfer protocol) services. There’s often a control panel included, too, that facilitates easy management of applications and functions.

Compliance requirements

Cloud backup solutions provide optimal resources for companies that must retain data for compliance purposes, too. Compliance requires adhering to industry standards and also being able to prove that adherence, usually with the help of older records. Retaining those records in a cloud backup configuration assures that they’ll be available, accurate, and accessible when needed.

Economics

Cloud backups also help to reduce corporate costs, especially for companies invested in growth. New locations can easily access the cloud-based files for scaling purposes, so they can launch using current standards on day one. And cloud servers themselves, dedicated or otherwise, are usually better able than on-prem resources to expand to encompass the growing volumes of data produced by multiple corporate branches.

Cloud as a Solution to Ransomware and Other Challenges

No business is immune from cyber crime threats, but the cloud backup solution ensures every company can remain in business if attacked. Further, cloud backups provide solutions for many other enterprise-level challenges, offering flexibility and efficiency at a reasonable cost, regardless of the size of the organization. If your company might benefit from accessing a cloud backup for security or other reason, call the experts at NetDepot to find the services you need.

Dedicated Servers – Gaining a Better Understanding

dedicated servers

 

When it comes to dedicated servers, speed and flexibility are two main benefits for consideration. Having a dedicated server is like having a powerful machine all to yourself. There are no shared resources to worry about. Dedicated hosting works especially well for large sites with huge database applications, streaming media, and e-commerce offerings. It can also serve customer needs by offering multiple domains or websites. The cost factor is also an element of consideration. A website’s cost per website goes down dramatically when dedicated servers are used.

 

Dedicated servers offer exclusive use of a physical machine, and at Netdepot we recommend them for high traffic websites or when exceptional security is needed. This type of server is usually rented or leased with a specified amount of memory, disk space and bandwidth dedicated to a single client. Many hosting companies offer dedicated packages complete with domain names, email and FTP services, and usually a cPanel to provide easy user management of applications and services.

 

 

Benefits Provided by Dedicated Servers:

When you lease a dedicated server, you have all the resources at your fingertips without the hassle of managing your own hardware. Services and resources are private, and you have full control on a secure platform for your web project. Security is ensured, and Netdepot suggests choosing a reliable and certified host. Other features you should look for are flexible resources. Customers like having the freedom to customize and configure their server. How the server works is totally up to the customer.

 

  • Choice of Operating System
  • Root Access
  • Custom Kernal Implementation
  • Development Platforms
  • Fast Data Access
  • Choice of Database
  • A great deal of flexibility over hardware and software configurations
  • Full access and use of dedicated IP addresses
  • Safe storage facility housing

 

Security

Security is always a concern with customers looking for a dedicated hosting solution. The great thing about dedicated hosting is that no one, other than you and your hosting service, has access. Dedicated servers offer true web security, and through DdoS protection and firewalls provided by your host your data is secure. With a dedicated server you have the option of adding your own security measures, and most hosts provide scanning applications for protection against virus, hackers and other network hazards. Security experts monitor the host’s networks to guard against any intrusion and obtrusive invaders on their systems.

 

 NetDepot Bandwidth graph

Performance

At NetDepot.com, we can offer both performance and reliability. Performance is need for a number of reasons. For instance, you may have a need to post numerous high-resolution photos and a ton of video-clips. This requires lots of bandwidth, and a scenario of short-load times. If your website is an e-commerce site, you need a lot of bandwidth to operate. There is also a benefit of having enough dedicated space to accommodate traffic spikes. Downtime is simply not something our customers can afford.

 

 

Managing the Server

With dedicated servers, you decide on the level of management you want or don’t want, and you can decide to upgrade or downgrade your package when needed. Most hosting companies offer cPanel for convenience, and you choose the software you want to install. Unmanaged packages put you in charge of maintenance, patches and upgrades, and the command line is available with security tiers of your choosing for administrators.

 

The Most Powerful Choices Available

Dedicates servers can offer the most powerful hosting choices available. You can reboot your system when needed, and your software can be completely customized to suit your personal business needs. Dedicated servers can generally run anything that comes their way. They can place a plethora of resources at the customer’s discretion. Thus, the customer views their performance possibilities as being more predictable. Packages are available for dedicated servers which include the hardware, ram and hard drive you need   in various increments, but we suggest finding a package size that allows some growth. Some hosts offer small beginner packages that include all the features you need to get you up and running. Whichever size package you need, dedicated servers offer you a safe and secure web environment for development and hosting.

 

If your company need a truly dedicated and custom environment, a dedicated server solution is the way to go. Scalability is built into the whole process, and this can benefit companies from the very start.

Support that goes Above and Beyond

Quite a few hosting companies write blog posts about support but this one is going to be a bit different than the norm. At the beginning of this year we made a resolution to provide EPIC Support to all of our customers and we have in many ways.

Startup Stock Photos

Recently the team here at NETdepot took the time to go above and beyond to reach out to our customers and get some feedback on ‘how we’re doing’ and ‘how we can better help our customers’! The responses we got were fantastic and we would like to share one of our favorites with you. 🙂

We reached out to Jeremy to get to know him as well as how we could serve his company better and this is what he had to say:

NETdepot has been amazing in all areas! Reliability, communication, support, value—everything is awesome.

My business has grown and shrank over time and I have never had to think about where to go for reliable and honest hosting since moving to NETdepot. I feel like I have a real personal partner with NETdepot and I’m not just some worthless line in the accounts receivable system or a support liability.

I like to have as much control as possible and fix technical issues myself but when I need them NETdepot has always been there to solve the problem with a personal and technical level of service that is hard to find anywhere.”

Then Jeremy went on to tell us more about his business and finished up what he had to say by making some suggestions about how we could improve:

“The only thing that I could recommend would be domain name registration and SSL ‘directly’ through NETdepot at wholesale prices just to keep it all under one provider. Dealing with other re-sellers of re-sellers of re-sellers with horrible support has not been fun. I know that is a different business but handling it all with NETdepot would be top notch.

At this time there is nothing I would like to discuss further so no need to schedule a call. Just a wast of our time. However, the offer to talk in person has reinforced how I feel about NETdepot being a professional partner with a personal touch.

Keep up the good work and I am a customer for life.

Sincerely, thank you for standing behind me and providing first class service at an honest price. 

Take Care,

Jeremy”

NetDepot Cloud managed & dedicated servers

We value what each and every one of our customers has to say whether they have 100 dedicated servers with us or just 1 of our cloud servers—it doesn’t matter, a customer is a customer. That being said, a good hosting company is also adaptable. NETdepot doesn’t just stay inside a box! We like to go outside of it and thanks to Jeremy we’ve now implemented domain registration and SSL!

NetDepot’s Focus on Support

It’s 2016 and at NetDepot, we’re making a resolution to provide EPIC Support to all of our customers hosting with us. By implementing bullet-proof procedures, building new tools and hiring new faces, we’re making sure that our EPIC Support just gets more EPICer.

Bullet Proof Procedures

bullet-proof-small

We know one of the biggest hangups in getting anything done is making sure it runs smoothly. You can’t run and engine without oil and you can’t provide support without procedures. We’ve put plans in place to make sure you’re up and running as quickly as possible on:

If you have any questions along the way, we’re always a ticket away. With our entire staff getting notifications on new tickets and our “Ticket Escalator” in place, we receive, and respond to your ticket faster than ever.

 

Building New Tools

escalatorLets talk escalators.

While there is a right way and a wrong way to use an escalator, there’s one thing they all have in common. They escalate.

Our Ticket Escalator is one of the many tools we’ve built to ensure your support needs get the utmost attention. At the top of every support ticket is an “Escalate Ticket” button that will instantly send out a message to our entire staff, including the President of the company. We’re that dedicated to making sure you get the support you need.

 

Hiring New Faces

Net Depot Account Representative

The latest team member to join our company is Account Representative, Mitch McMullen. He is here to help with any account needs to make sure you have the best support possible and can be found answering tickets, taking calls and chatting on our website.

Cloud Hosting and Baseball

If you could bat with 10 bats at once, would you?

What if I were to tell you that hosting with NetDepot’s Cloud Servers is like stepping up to the plate with 10 bats? Imagine having multiple fail-safes to ensure you crack that ball into the stands. You would take that opportunity in a second.

multiple-bats

That’s exactly what hosting in the cloud is like. With multiple servers connected and your data spread across all of our cloud, if one fails for any reason your online presence doesn’t miss a beat. Get the best performance, relilability and epic support with NetDepot.

What are the benefits of cloud hosting?

  • Redundancy, redundancy, redundancy.
  • The fastest connection, guaranteed.
  • Data loss protection across multiple servers.
  • Ability to expand storage, RAM and bandwidth.
  • Priced hourly for quick deployment.
  • Did we mention redundancy?

Getting started with cloud hosting.

Setting up your cloud server is easier than ever with our NetDepot Portal. Simply login or create an account and click the “Add Servers” link on the menu. For detailed instructions on setting up a cloud server check out our how-to on Setting up a NetDepot Cloud Server.

If you have any questions about getting started never hesitate to contact one of our sales professionals for help, or start a chat below.

Bitcoin @ NetDepot.com

bitcoin at NetDepot
Bitcoin is Here

NetDepot.com is one of the only hosting providers that embrace bitcoin for all of its products and services. You can signup today for Dedicated Servers, Cloud Servers or any other service we provide and pay directly with BitCoin through BitPay.

 

FAQs

  • Can I remain anonymous while paying with Bitcoin?
    Absolutely.

Other Payment Methods

Credit Cards

NetDepot accepts all major credit cards as a payment option, including Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

The information we need to proccess a credit card is:

  • Name of the credit card holder as it appears on the card.
  • Full address of the card (street, city, state, zip).
  • CVV2 Code (3 or 4 digit number on the back of the card.)
  • Expiration date.

PayPal

The “smarter, faster, and safer way to pay”, PayPal is used worldwide as a form of secure online payments.

To use PayPal as a form of payment you will need:

  • The PayPal username/password for the account.
  • Funds in the PayPal account or…
  • A bank account connected to PayPal.

US Check or Money Order

Incoming checks or money orders must have sufficient funds in US Dollars with a check number, clear banking assignment and routing instructions.

Send incoming US Checks or Money Orders to:

NetDepot.com LLC
PO Box 131420
Spring, TX 77393

Wire Transfer (Domestic & International)

Funds may be transferred electronically via wire transfer.

Additional details are provided during the payment process.