Data Protection

General data protection regulationGDPR is coming! Here’s what the security channel needs to focus on to create opportunity out of regulatory upheaval.

On 25th May 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) become law.

But despite the burden of compliance that this places on the channel, isn’t it also a major opportunity for channel partners to sell more of the solutions that help end-users to address GDPR-related issues?

Here’s what we found when we dug into GDPR, and the opportunities it potentially presents, a little further…

GDPR opportunities – 1: Greater technology freedom?

A noteworthy feature of GDPR is that it does not prescribe specific data protection technologies – like a certain encryption algorithm, for example – and, therefore, does not automatically exclude others.

Instead, it prescribes processes, meaning that partners potentially have greater freedom than before to choose from a palette of vendor solutions that can satisfy those process requirements.

It’s a growth outlook reinforced by the IT industry’s most high-profile membership and training organisation, CompTIA. They have publicly stated to IT channel partners that GDPR means “Clients will be relying on their providers to help them meet regulations, which is a great opportunity to build on your relationships, all while creating new business with current and potential end users.”

So, given that GDPR is seemingly less proscriptive on the technology front than we might have previously assumed, what are the GDPR hot topics to which security partners’ offerings need to provide a compelling (and compliant) response, if they are to make the most of the opportunities at hand?

 GDPR opportunities – 2: Data protection controls

GDPR has serious teeth, but given our background in security software distribution, and from the point of view of security partners’ offerings, we believe it bites hardest around three key internal and three key external threat scenarios, which we’ve paraphrased from this recent research:

(including employee mistakes and malicious insiders)

  • Making lost data valueless if found – in other words, encryption methods that keep data safe if a device with personally or professionally identifiable information on it is lost or stolen.
  • Remote kill and wipe, to easily remove data from lost or stolen devices, or render them unusable, no matter where they are in relation to the user.
  • Data loss prevention (DLP), to control the types and sensitivities of data that users move around or out of the organisation.

(third-parties exploiting the organisation)

  • Locking-down, to control what kind of applications can and can’t run on an endpoint
  • Virtual patching, to stop remote exploitation of unpatched vulnerabilities
  • Breach detection, to flag where a network has been compromised, and thus enable users to block attempted data theft.

Should security partners be quaking at the sound of these snapping jaws? Not a bit of it.

Security solutions are already available that enable partners to deliver many of these GDPR-focused benefits to end-users, from vendors including Trend Micro (in both SMB and Enterprise formats) and others.

Plus, a recent survey of European businesses cited in this Information Age article found that 69% of those polled are not only likely to invest in security technology as a result of GDPR, but to do so in areas including file-sharing. (This hints at a growth in the cloud app-centric security requirement space, into which, as we discussed in an earlier post, at least one vendor already plays strongly.)

GDPR opportunities – 3: The size of the market

But it’s filthy lucre, predictably, that hints most effectively at the pot of GDPR gold at the end of the partner rainbow. And make no mistake, we are talking big money here.

, for example, has predicted that GDPR will create a $3.5 billion market opportunity for security and storage vendors – in which their partners, of course, will share – as the severity of fines drives enterprises to “radically shake up their data protection practices, seeking…new technologies to assist with compliance.”

An additional push factor in the groundswell of GDPR opportunities for security partners also came with the recent comment by the European Commission's Justice Directorate, according to the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), that companies judged to have invested responsibly in security can, under certain conditions, see any fines for non-compliance reduced.

Security partners, it seems, are likely to become many businesses’ new best friends!

GDPR: What next for security partners?

This piece in ChannelPro perhaps best expresses what partners need to do, as GDPR relentlessly approaches, to turn a disruptive regulation into a profitable business opportunity:

“1. Read up on the changes and ensure they become the trusted expert on the new regulations

  1. Educate their customers about the impact of the EU GDPR
  1. Ensure they’ve got the solutions available to help customers with compliance”

From where we’re standing, point 3 looks to be the least of partners’ worries…

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Here’s the terrifying truth: according to industry analysts Gartner Group, in this recent article, only 35% of small and medium businesses have data backup in place for disaster recovery (DR) - and 70% of them do not believe that their backup and DR operations are well planned!

So that’s 65% of SMBs just waiting, apparently, for IT channel partners to sweep in with a convincing new backup or DR solution, and swathes more of them looking to the channel to help them either replace or improve the solutions they are already using.

Only it’s not quite that simple. Firstly, there is a fast-changing regulatory environment, which is outpacing many of the DR and backup solutions available.

Secondly, end-users are clamouring for unprecedented ease of use. Forget complex on-premise applications that suck up admin resource; in Gartner’s words, today’s business users want one simple data backup solution that meets all their RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective) requirements.

A big ask?

Backup and recovery challenges: is MSP the panacea?

On the face of it, backup and DR services delivered in an MSP model would seem to be a great fit for these eager but choosy end-users.

Rapid to set up (often within an hour or two), easily scalable (so the service builds margin and profitability for the channel partner as it grows), the MSP approach also removes complexity from the mix, smoothly delivering viable alternatives to partners whose long-standing offerings have too limited a scope for their business today.

And as the MSP model is naturally compatible with the cloud, it helps get the thorny mechanics of backup and recovery off hard-pressed IT managers’ desks, slashing on-premise risk and admin overheads.

But beware - there are dizzyingly stringent forces at work in the background, potentially challenging many MSP backup and DR solutions’ licence to operate. EU data protection directives are now being reworked and will become regulations – that is, they will assume uniform force of law across the 28 signatory countries – by 2017.

Make no mistake, for MSPs and other service providers, these changes are a big deal. They make MSPs, as data processors, explicitly responsible for breaches in any data they have “touched.”.

Fines may be as high as €100m or 5% of global revenue (whichever is higher), in stark contrast to the current UK limit of £500,000!

 

Backup & DR: the MSP proof points

Clearly, the data regulators are upping the ante, so here’s how to ask questions that will help to identify the MSP backup and DR solutions that can be profitably delivered in this newly draconian environment - without engendering insane levels of legal and reputational risk!

1) Data centre - citadel or sitting duck? Firstly, Is the data all in one centre, or is it mirrored between different sites so that data can instantly fail over to another centre in the case of an outage? Is the data centre elsewhere in the EU, or in the UK, where it’s ultimately more manageable?

At the very least, the data centre should be ISO 27001-certified. But additionally, consider what physical security there is on site, and how long the generator fuel will keep the centre online in the event of a power failure.

(If all this seems like nitpicking, remember that €100 million fine for the consequences of getting it wrong…)

2) Speed, frequency, and data volume – Some 80% of businesses experience a shutdown if they can’t get to their data.

 Yet the fact is that, often, when backup software is tested against large, complex data sets that emulate those of a real-world production system, the time it takes for the backup to complete  - despite even the most ample computing, I/O and bandwidth resources – does not fit within the required backup window.

And that window is shrinking. Indeed, as Information Age recently put it, “with today’s expectation that services will be available around the clock, every day of the week and with an increasing data volume, the back-up window is constantly being squeezed… more than ever before.”

This raises another pertinent point. When uploading of data is not an option, due to bandwidth constraints, can large data sets be “seeded” to the solution provider instead? And will this attract extra fees that will eat into partners’ margins?

Likewise, does the solution make it possible for the partner or end-user to instantly access large amounts of data without the prior need to download it in its entirety? The most powerful MSP backup solutions use clever technology to eliminate this latter bottleneck.

3) Security – In a multi-tenant cloud MSP environment, global encryption keys and space-saving deduplication (each of which can be used to unlock customer-confidential data) should frighten partners and their end-users alike!

 Partners need to be sure that their solution providers’ offerings use both source-side and global deduplication. This makes the data tamper-proof by ensuring that each customer’s unique encryption key remains valid only for their own data set, whilst intelligently managing the shared data pool as it changes.

Finally, solution providers should use the latest, government-standard 256-bit AES GCM encryption technology, both for data in transit and at rest.

Settle for nothing less!

4) Cost, effort, and complexity – Managing hundreds of DR and backup end-users manually does not scale, invites security errors and, ultimately destroys margins. Partners need to quiz solution providers about whether they offer integrations that simplify customer and technical management, including remote monitoring (RMM) and “single pane of glass” operating consoles.

Likewise, when things do go wrong, where is the support coming from? Chasing it down across continents and timezones is stressful, time-consuming, and, therefore, expensive. Prefer a service provider that offers UK-based support, 24/7.

 

The size of the MSP backup/DR opportunity

So with regulations stricter, but end-user expectations higher, than ever before, is there still money to be made from managing the provision of a MSP backup and DR service?

The answer seems to be a resounding “Yes”! Analyst MarketsandMarkets, for example, predicts global growth in the DR service market from $1.42 billion last year to $11.92 billion by 2020, a compound annual growth rate of 52.9%.

But, like everything else in business, it’s about backing the right horse - so choose your tipster wisely.

Brian-A-Jackson1

On a weekly basis there are now articles regarding a big brand company which has been hacked, these usually relate to what data has been lost, how they are notifying those affected and what they are going to be doing to prevent this from happening again.

So how do you prevent it from happening in the first place?

From experience I can see that if a hacker wants to get details from somewhere they will take the easiest target, the ‘Low Hanging Fruit’ as they say, in ensuring your company has some basic security principles in place can help mitigate this.

So how do you ensure you are not the ‘Low Hanging Fruit’

Simple measures can be taken within your environment to help secure it. As a basic level you should be meeting the following guide - CyberEssentials Requirements

This sets out some advice regarding Firewalls, User access control, Passwords, Malware protection and Patch management.

Once you have met the standards given within this document you should be looking to increase the security standards within your organisation. The most effective we have found is the use of education, once educated your staff will be able to react to the threats quicker and reduce the risks to your company.

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Our top security updates in the news and on the web this week

1. CryptoWall 4.0 A Stealthier, More Sweet-Talking Ransomware

When the malware makes its move, the new CryptoWall not only encrypts files, as it always has done, it also encrypts filenames. Heimdal Security states this new technique increases victims’ confusion, and thereby increases the likelihood that they’ll pay the ransom, and quickly. First posted on Dark Reading.

For the original post and further information click here

2. TalkTalk – The case for a Chief Security Officer

While the importance of the Chief Information Security Officer has been in constant growth over the past few years, organisations that employ a CISO/CSO are still far too few. First posted on Trend Micro.

For the original post and further information click here

3. Linux Ransomware Debut Fails on Predictable Encryption Key

No need to crack RSA when you can guess the key. File encrypting ransomware Trojans are almost ubiquitous on Windows, and it was only a matter of time. First Posted on Bitdefender Labs.

For the original post and further information click here

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4. Adobe Flash Update Includes Patches for 17 Vulnerabilities

In what’s becoming a monthly ritual, Adobe today pushed out an updated version of its Flash Player that includes patches for critical vulnerabilities. First posted on Threatpost.

For the original post and further information click here

5. How Scammers Are Trying To Use Your Computer To Steal Your Cash

Cyber criminals want to hijack your computer for financial gain. But how does the scam work and how can you stop them? First posted on TechWeek Europe.

For the original post and further information click here

6. Top ranking Instagram client removed from iTunes and Google Play after user data theft discovery

A software developer has discovered that a leading free app on iTunes and Google Play has been sending people’s usernames and passwords to an unknown website. The malicious app is called InstaAgent, and is touted as an Instagram client. It is also reportedly the most downloaded free app in the UK and Canada. First posted on TechWeek Europe.

For the original post and further information click here

If you have any security news that you would like to see on our blog please send it to us at bluesolutions, please include the link from the original article in the email.

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We joined industry leaders and professionals at the CompTia EMEA Conference on 5th and 6th November. This event gave our team a good opportunity to meet with our current and new Resellers and other industry professionals.

Throughout the day, our team were busy talking to MSPs and Resellers about the best technology to run their businesses, covering I.T. automation, disaster recovery, anti-spam and malware solutions.

Nicola and Janet CompTiaThe event was also a great opportunity for us to join two of our vendors at their stands - StorageCraft, a data backup and disaster recovery vendor and AppRiver, provider of email messaging and Web security solutions. Our Product Manager, Nicola Boswell is pictured left with Janet O'Sullivan, StorageCraft Marketing Manager. We also met with Western Digital, who will be joining our portfolio to enable us to provide end-to-end solutions for Resellers.

We'll tell you more about that soon...

Our Sales Manager, Emma Wale, who attended the two day event commented “being at CompTia puts us among our industry peers and shows we are committed to providing the best service and leading solutions for MSPs and Resellers”.

If you missed our team at CompTia, you can contact us on 0118 9898 222 and speak to our product specialists or visit our website.

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Article by Troy Gill, AppRiver

Over the past several days we have been seeing several malicious email campaigns posing as legitimate communication from Amazon. The first campaign is posing as messages from the amazon.co.uk with the subject line reading: Your Amazon Order Has Dispatched (#3digits-7digits-7digits). These messages purport to be order shipment notifications. These messages began hitting the AppRiver filters on 31/10/14 and have been coming in consistently ever since. So far we have quarantined just over 600,000 of these messages.

Each message contains a Word document (MD5: a75e196e6c0cabc145f4cdc3177e66ec) that contains a malicious macro. In most instances users should at a slightly lower risk with this infection vector, since macros are not enabled by default in more recent versions of Word.  The macro (if allowed to execute)leads to the install of a Trojan dropper. The malware currently creates a process named SUVCKSGZTGK.exe on the victims machine. Eventually this leads to the install of key-logging malware designed to harvest banking login credentials, email credentials and social media credentials. As we commonly see with this these types of campaigns, the payload can be changed out by the malware distributors so this dropper could pull down some other form of malware in the future.

Here is a look at the message:

Malicious Amazon message1

 

In a separate email blast, another group is distributing malicious emails posing as Amazon order confirmation emails. These emails are coming is at a slightly slower clip than the former campaign mentioned but we have quarantined nearly 160,000 of these message over the past few days. They appear from amazon.com with the subject reading: Your order on Amazon.com.

These email have a bit more of a legitimate look as they utilize actual graphics taken from Amazon. Instead of a malicious attachment, these messages utilize links to compromised wordpress sites. Clicking these links will launchthe download of a .scr file  named: invoice1104.pdf[dot]scr. Which should be a huge red flag to most users as the .scr file extension is used almost exclusively for malware infection these days. The .scr file(MD5: 09cb12d7cd0228360cd097baeaaa6552) is in fact a Trojan dropper that will lead to the install of more malware once it has infected the host. Once again, from here, the sky is the limit for the malware distributors since they can now download and install remote files of their choosing.

Here is a look at the message and prompt :

Malicious Amazon message2

 

Malicious Amazon3

 

 

 

 

This is a very popular time of the year for these types of scams with so many people in shopping mode in preparation for the holidays. With many people expecting purchase confirmations and shipping confirmations with much more frequency, it increases the likelihood that people will far for this scam.

Be extra cautious this holiday shopping season and if you are suspicious of unauthorized activity on your Amazon account, never follow any links in an email, go directly to the website and check your account from there.

 

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It's been a busy time at Blue Solutions and we wanted to keep you up-to-date with some of our changes, especially when it's good news for our MSPs and Resellers.

We've recently welcomed a new team member

We've expanded our technical team and Deane Mallinson, our new Sales Engineer joined us in September. Deane's wide ranging role will be to focus on the support function offered by Blue Solutions.

With 20 years' experience, in the I.T. industry ranging from first line support to management, Dean PictureDeane will be managing our internal, external, pre and post sales support helpdesk, while mentoring our team.

As Deane's qualifications include MCSE, MCSP, KLCT, KLCSA and GCT, he is well equipped to ensure our customers get the support they deserve.

As part of our continued commitment to supporting and investing in I.T. graduates,  Chris Kudzin has joined Deane's team as our I.T. apprentice.

 

Other changes

Emma at Blue SolutionsEmma Wale (pictured left), a long-standing member of the Blue Solutions Team was recently promoted to being our Sales Manager. With extensive experience in the I.T. and software channel distribution industries, Emma's main focus will be to manage sales growth and overall profitability for Blue Solutions.

While continuing to work as the main contact for DataFortress, the online backup solution (powered by Attix5), she will support and develop our sales and product specialists on a daily basis.

What's happening with our other team members?

Our product  and sales specialists roles have changed too.  Our sales team (pictured below) will be available to manage your orders and help with any queries on a daily basis.

Blue Solutions Team Updated

We also now have a team of vendor specialists, who are available to help you develop your business, with solutions for the channel. You can view our key vendors at our website.

Why have we made these changes? As parts of our business have moved into the managed services sector, we have restructured our sales team to ensure we continue to provide the best service for all of our customers. Your contacts are:

nicola-ImageNicola Boswell (pictured left) is our Specialist for AppRiver and StorageCraft

 

 

 

Sharon Pace has been appointed as our Blue Solutions Key Account Manager and Tom Mangion is our Trend Micro Renewals Specialist.

If you need any questions about our vendor products, please contact out sales team on 0118 9898 222.

 

The Heartbleed bug is a security vulnerability in certain versions of the commonly used OpenSSL security library. It has been filed as CVE-2014-0160 in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures database and allows an attacker to gain access to plaintext data transmitted over an encrypted SSL tunnel.  More information is available at the Heartbleed.com website.

The DataFortress team would like to confirm that the *Attix5 Pro backup software is not affected by this bug since neither the Storage Platform nor the Backup Client uses the OpenSSL library for secure communications. As an added measure of comfort, they have tested a number of public Attix5 Platforms (including WebAccess) using a reputable security firm and all of them were reported to be unaffected.

*DataFortress Cloud Backup & Recovery service (powered by Attix5)

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DataFortress , powered by Attix5, and available exclusively from Blue Solutions.  It enables Solution Providers and MSP’s to effortlessly deliver a secure and reliable service to their clients, hosted at our mirrored UK Data Centres.  Datafortress offers a range of affordable, flexible monthly plans, and billing based on consumption to facilitate recurring revenues with strong margins for the Reseller.

New Features in version 7:

Simplified networking feature allows all connections to be made through a single port. While most other backup solutions require multiple IPs and ports to achieve this,  DataFortress , powered by Attix5, turns this networking nightmare into a simple “one-port-fits-all” solution.

In the unforeseen event of a lost workstation, the bare metal recovery (BMR) feature enables instant recovery from an image-level backup (snapshot). This ensures that business continues as usual, without wasting resources on reinstalling any software programs or operating systems.

Additional key features in V7.0.3, such as enhanced restore file access, expanded operating system support and Windows backup operator mode, add immediate and lasting value to evolving technical environments.

Top ten selling features in Version 7

  1. Zero disk utilisation
  2. Faster backups
  3. Faster restores
  4. Simplified Networking NEW
  5. Zero performance impact during backup
  6. Backup Operator mode NEW
  7. Bare Metal Recovery (BMR) NEW
  8. High performance Exchange support
  9. Enhanced Restore File access NEW
  10. All-in-one Private, Public and Hybrid cloud


Learn More:  
www.bluesolutions.co.uk/datafortress

Free Trial:  www.bluesolutions.co.uk/datafortresstrial

Fill the Gap
Symantec will stop selling subscriptions or renewals for Backup Exec.cloud on Jan. 6, 2014. Make sure you are able to fill the gap for customers with a trusted cloud solution.

The recent news of Symantec’s Backup Exec.cloud discontinuing and the shutdown of backup company, Nirvanix in September, have left distributors and resellers cautious of which providers to use to entrust clients’ data to. Although these announcements came as a shock to many, it can also be seen as an opportunity to migrate to better solutions that provide more than just data storage but also added value to businesses.

At Blue Solutions we believe that stability is a fundamental factor in choosing a backup partner in order to give business customers the confidence that their critical backup data will be available for recovery in every instance. With a strong history of cloud solutions since inception in 1999, DataFortress, powered by Attix5, is a solution that MSPs can rely on to assist their SMB customers to make the best choice for their backup and recovery needs.

For this reason, DataFortress is recommended by Blue Solutions as a cloud solution that will not only fill the gap left by Backup Exec.Cloud but also but also add more value to your business such as business continuity and productivity. Cloud backup and recovery can be complex, requires continual investment, innovation, and most of all focus on the channel to ensure certainty and security of clients’ data. Blue Solutions is 100% focused on the channel and DataFortress is a cloud solution that will be available exclusively from us for the long haul.

To assure yourself of DataFortress being a secure, automated and scalable solution for your customers feel free to browse our website here:  http://www.bluesolutions.co.uk/datafortress