5 Ways to Future Proof for the Cyber Attacks of Today

In a recent Facebook Live Chat, Axcient’s CTO and Founder, Kevin Hoffman was joined by DataTrends CEO, Kevin Dunn, and Len Tateyama, Director of IT at Alvaka Networks. Moderated by Axcient’s Director of Customer Success, Corey Banner, the thirty-minute discussion provides key takeaways for managed service providers (MSPs) enacting a proactive security mindset.  

Future Proofing MSPs for the Attacks of Tomorrow

Join members of the Axcient team alongside DataTrends & Alvaka Networks for a Facebook Live Chat conversation where we'll cover how a multi-layered security approach helps make MSPs and their client's data safer while saving precious capital.

Posted by Axcient on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

1. Educate end users

One of the best things you can do for your clients is to emphasize the importance of education for preventing cyber-attacks. Year-over-year ransomware and phishing attacks are getting more brutal and sophisticated. Kevin D. says some of the latest attacks come from contacts in your address book, include history and background, attachments, and even false websites that mirror the look of your own company’s website.

Regular training on how to spot phishing attempts can prevent a well-intentioned employee from accidentally exposing business-critical data. Kevin D. estimates that 80% of attacks come from someone clicking those links, so your employees have a tremendous impact on keeping your data safe. Invest in ongoing training and mock tests to keep security top of mind for your employees.

2. Disguise your VPN

While Microsoft 365 is a phenomenal product, and its single sign on feature really helps end users access their suite of products easily, Kevin D. called attention to the risk of single sign on as well. “The problem is that once a bad actor has that one login, they can access all of your Microsoft data.” Depending on the architecture of your virtual private network (VPN), that same Microsoft 365 login could also provide access to the VPN.

Kevin D. recommends establishing a second domain name for VPN access that doesn’t have anything to do with employee emails. So instead of using something easy to guess, like vpn.axcient.com for example, and allowing end users to apply their Microsoft credentials for access, create an unrelated domain name that requires an authentic login. It’s a simple practice that adds an additional layer of security between the hackers and your data.

3. Complete security assessments

Len recommends regular security assessments to gain insight into your client’s security posture and ensure best practices are being followed. Of course, with new customers it’s always good to see what they’re coming in with, and what they may need. Len explains, “It’s such a wide area – from account deprovisioning, which if they aren’t doing that right, you could have active accounts for people who have left the organization – to physical security, to the setup of the edge of your network, where there may be too many holes.” Len says an assessment will highlight vulnerabilities that needs to be remediated immediately.

4. Utilize two-factor authentication

Based on the ransomware work Len and his MSP have been doing, he says, “the majority of the compromises they’ve seen could have been prevented with two-factor authentication. Everyone should have that on all levels.” Two-factor authentication adds an additional step to your login process outside of the typical login ID and password. This is another simple and easy to implement layer of security that is highly recommended as a security best practice.

5. Implement AirGap™

Kevin H. discussed Axcient AirGap, a data recovery solution, as the very last line of defense for businesses. You may have heard backups referred to as your last line of defense, but times have changed. While most businesses are proactive with a good security offense, IT systems are full of vulnerabilities, and hackers are especially motivated with intelligent tactics. Once they infiltrate your network, they conduct reconnaissance, employ key stroke loggers, and learn all about your environment. When they feel confident, they find the backup systems and delete the backups.

And that is why backups can no longer be your last line of defense. Even if you do everything “right” and use the entire tool chain, data can still be compromised. Today, you need a data recovery plan that can outsmart the hackers – no matter what.

Kevin H. describes AirGap as, “a safety net that keeps your backups separate from what the hackers can get access to, so that you can recover it.” He goes on to explain, “The ability to delete data is removed. In our cloud the data is physically separated from the systems controlling replications and the backups that are happening in the cloud.” AirGap tricks the hackers by making it appear as though the data has been deleted, and so they believe their work is done.

Len shared his own experience with AirGap saying his clients who were victims of ransomware attacks, and didn’t AirGap their backups, had a particularly painful recovery. “The few companies that did have it [AirGap], could recover much faster. The ones that didn’t had to work with the hackers to pay the ransom in order to get the data back.”

Kevin D. also commented about how easy it would be for these larger hospital systems to recover with Axcient. “Ragnar is a relatively new ransomware, it’s common, and they are the ones that will delete your backups. The ransom starts at $250,000, so it’s a cost benefit to have your data AirGapped.”

Never even think about paying the ransom with AirGap. See this future proofing solution in action by scheduling a demo or starting your 14-day trial. With ransomware, it’s not if you’ll be attacked, but when. Will you be ready?

About the Author: 
Liz Mellem // Technical Copywriter, Axcient

Liz Mellem has been a freelance copywriter for over three years in the technology, education, and alternative medicine industries. She produces content, sales collateral, and email marketing campaigns that contribute to digital marketing strategies for sales growth and brand awareness. In her free time, Liz enjoys reading, exploring Austin, and Netflix with her cat, Harlem.