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Cisco Network Outage Data IT Support Breach Downtime

Cisco’s Outage Leaves Them in the Dark & Without Disaster Recovery

Cisco Outage

On Thursday, October 10, 2019 a network outage hit Cisco Systems affecting their entire network. A Cisco spokesperson said in an interview with TechCrunch that the disruption was traced to an internal system change. The problem, however, isn’t the outage it’s the absence of a disaster recovery plan.

The outage lasted for about five hours and prevented users from accessing Cisco’s learning portal, downloading software, signing on, and slowed down response time to support tickets.

The company’s blog also suffered from the outage.  WordPress’ install page appeared on the blog and could not be accessed. Downtime started at about 2pm GTM and lasted for approximately an hour.
It wasn’t a security threat per say but it was an odd sequence of events that could provide insight as to the internal flaws inside the company. The company tweeted later in the evening, “We have traced our disruption to an internal systems change, and are in the process of being fully restored.”

HTTP 500 error displayed on the website. The curious aspect of this story is the message that presented itself on the failed page. “Please contact the server administrator, it-webmasters.cisco.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.”

Cisco hasn’t opened up about what exactly happened and how, saying on twitter: “Cisco is continuing to address the disruption to our IT systems.” However, there are things to be learned from this event.

This outage was a huge issue for Cisco, a large company, but it’s much more common among smaller tier organizations. A business needs power to run, obviously. However, unexpected outages create situations from which it’s difficult to recover.

Outages aren’t Uncommon

Lloyd Banking Group, a British retail and commercial bank branching across England and Wales, also experienced an outage in February of 2019. Customers could not log in to their bank accounts. Furthermore, IT outages in the banking sector are becoming more of an issue, not only for banks but for their customers. An outage prevents customers from accessing valuable financial information and regaining control after such an outage is a logistical nightmare.

If a large companies such as Cisco or banks like Lloyd Banking Group can experience outages then it can happen to anyone. Outages and downtown can mean a host of services rendered useless and inaccessible. That is why it’s important to get your downtime as low as possible. 9/10 data center professional professionals say that company management is more about lessening downtime than it was in previous years.

Cisco stores its bits and updates firmware internally. In other words, it handles its IT processes internally. Publications like Tech Republic suggest the company would be better served adopting a cloud platform. If Cisco had the company blog hosted on the cloud or separated from production systems, they could have communicated their network status during the outage.

 

The Cloud and Disaster Recovery

Cloud solutions for financial businesses is not new, but financial cloud computing has one particular advantage that mitigates downtime. See, if an outage impacts a business, it should have a plan for accessing its data. Institutions who adopt a  financial cloud service have the advantage of accessing their files and backups from anywhere. Cisco failed to plan accordingly beforehand and there was no way to communicate to its users and customers of the outage, leaving many confused and disgruntled. Hosting their blog on the cloud could have prevented this.

If your facility is compromised by an outage, recovering data stored in house requires waiting for the business to regain access to the facility and hoping nothing was lost. However, a hybrid cloud approach to disaster recovery reduces risks of downtime. Some cloud providers, like Nerds Support for example, offer Disaster Recovery as a Service. Meaning, that there are financial  cloud service providers, not all, that assist with developing a strategy and recovering data stored on the cloud servers.

Disaster Recovery Plan & Downtime Prevention

The cost of downtime rose 60 percent from 2014 to 2016 according to the Aberdeen Group. In other words, cost went up from $164,000 per hour to an average of $260,000 per hour across all industries. Although costs are incredibly high, downtime prevention is often overlooked. As we’ve seen above it doesn’t matter how large or small your firm is, it’s incredibly important to have a business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place. If you or your staff don’t know what to do in the event of an outage, things could spiral out of control.

In the UK the Treasury committee launched an inquiry into banking IT failures. Last year, TSB bank in England also experienced an IT outage so disastrous the CEO, Paul Pester, was forced to quite. Even if an institution has the most advanced cybersecurity and backs up their data regularly, they’re still at risk of experiencing downtime if the infrastructure and environment isn’t monitored properly.

 

Another reason that downtime is a problem for your firm aside from the financial loss is data loss. Critical data loss often occurs during downtime. Over three-quarters of executives experience serious data loss caused by downtime, according to a 2016 poll.

Cisco Network Outage Data IT Support Breach Downtime Statistics

Is your Firm Vulnerable to an Outage?

Ask the following questions to determine whether your business is properly protected and has the necessary oversight:
• Is there a time when the digital environment is unmonitored?
• How long has it taken to recover from downtime in the past? Was it past a certain time frame?
• Are there sufficient IT personal with the required experience to manage software maintenance and respond to threats?

Some businesses and financial institutions have the resources needed for constant monitoring. However, those who don’t should consider adopting a financial cloud infrastructure. Cloud service providers should provide 24/7 support, detailed service level agreements and experienced systems engineers.
You can avoid downtime when you have the proper tools, guidance and expertise. Achieving maximum up-time is possible with the cloud. Visit the Nerds Support website to read more about Downtime prevention, cyber security, or cloud compliance.

Plantation gas leak aftermath

Plantation Gas Leak : Always be Prepared for any Disaster

Over the weekend, there was a gas explosion in the South Florida city of Plantation.  23 people were injured and the former PizzaFire restaurant was destroyed more than 20 local businesses were damaged and closed. Dozens of people’s livelihoods were disrupted by this disaster, leaving many wondering what their next move should be. Many businesses rely on some form of IT to help run their business.

When you have in-house IT, if something happens, you could lose everything and if you don’t chances are recovery will be painstakingly difficult. You are at the mercy of the elements, a victim of circumstance. You don’t really think about it, but you’re always vulnerable, and life offers no guarantees.

Chances are, no one going to work that day planned on having their business damaged in a gas explosion.  Yet it occurs without warning. If the lights go out and the infrastructure of your workplace is compromised, that could mean days and weeks spent trying to recover, which takes a huge toll on you and your business.

Crews spent that Sunday closing off the Plantation site by installing metal chain-link fencing. If you’re unable to access your workspace due to damages that could also inconvenience you and your staff. Cloud computing can be the solution to these very real issues. It provides the freedom and flexibility to manage these types of unpredictable situations and can mitigate losses tremendously.

Cloud Computing Benefits

 The cloud allows you to back up your files, applications and even desktop computers so that you can operate virtually from anywhere at any time. If some unforeseen travesty occurs, your business won’t be at a stand-still. Your employees won’t be sitting around waiting for your office to relocate or reorganize. If your computers get damaged or destroyed in an event like the one in Plantation, all you’ve lost is hardware. All of your data is secured, encrypted and protected by a network of servers that are independent of physical machines.

Nerds Support, for example, has a team of dedicated specialists that can provide a business continuity plan and help reestablish your routine workflow within hours of an event. You’ll have access to all your data and can continue working unimpeded. Cloud computing makes any place your place of business. You don’t have to look for a temporary office space or wait around helplessly for the city to clean up the damage or clear any obstructions. Dealing with the event itself is strenuous enough.

Visit our website where we have free e-books on how cloud computing can protect your business from natural disasters, accident, and even cybercriminals.

Like the old saying goes, “You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.” Let Nerds Support and the cloud be your umbrella.

*image by Daniel A. Varela, Miami Herald

hurricane harvey approaching Texas

Donating Responsibly With Data Protection in Miami

From Houston to Corpus Christi, the effects of Hurricane HarveyDonating Responsibly With Data Protection in Miami were felt over the weekend. Hurricane Harvey has become the first major hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Houston recorded record levels of rain as a result of the storm. Homeless shelters are expecting an estimated 30,000 people. Needless to say, the pictures of the damage are heartbreaking. Like every disaster, people feel the need to unite and take action. It’s incredibly understandable if you would like to donate to the victims of the hurricane, or help in any sort of way. Many sources has said that the best way to help, for those outside of Texas, is to give cash. While giving money is an effective way of lending aid to those in need, there are always a group of people who are willing to take advantage of a person’s compassion.

At Nerds Support, we have recently learned that there are fraudulent emails going around from hackers looking to capitalize off hurricane Harvey. Because it is common knowledge that most cyberattacks happen through email, our IT support experts would like to remind you to keep data protection in mind as you read your inboxes in these next few weeks.

Signs of a Potential Cyberattack

Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement regarding awareness of Hurricane Harvey cyberattacks. You are allowed to view the link here, but our Miami IT support experts have left a list of the most important ways to keep your data protected from email cyberattacks.

  •  Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages.
    • You should do a web search to make sure the links in your email are real.
  • Use caution when opening email attachments.
  • Keep antivirus and other computer software up-to- date.
    • Refer to the Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks page for more information on social engineering attacks.
  • Review the Federal Trade Commission information on Charity Scams.
  • Verify the legitimacy of any email solicitation by contacting the organization directly through a trusted contact number. You can find trusted contact information for many charities on the BBB National Charity Report Index.

Finally, if you believe you may become the victim of a cyberattack, you are urged to seek out a data protection plan right away.

How to REALLY Help

Despite those out there looking to donate to their own “charities”, there are still a lot of great, verified organizations that will need your help in the next few weeks.

  • Catholic Charities USA, the official domestic relief agency of the US Catholic Church, is taking donations to provide support for Harvey victims. They are accepting donations through text and through a webpage they created. You can access the page and find more information here.
  • Feeding Texas, the Texas chapter for Feeding America, a network of the state’s food banks, is accepting donations here. Like its parent foundation, Feeding Texas uses their network of food banks to feed the hungry. You can also find a list of food bank locations that might need help here.
  • The Texas Diaper Bank is seeking donations to provide diapers to families that have been displaced due to Hurricane Harvey. The bank has set up an Amazon wishlist for donors who would like to buy diapers for the diaper bank. The bank has also set up an FAQ highlighting the many ways you can donate . You can find both of these on the organization’s facebook page.
  • The Houston Coalition for the Homeless, which helps coordinate shelters and outreach for the city’s vulnerable homeless population, has a paged dedicated to shelters in heavily affected areas. To find out how you can help, click here.
  • Portlight is a local organization that offers relief to the disabled and older adults, has released an announcement asking for support.
  • GlobalGiving, a crowdfunding site, has launched a hurricane relief fund aimed at gathering funds for local nonprofits in the storm-stricken region. You can visit the page, and donate, right here.
  • Heart To Heart International is currently giving out hygiene kits to displaced families and need more donations in order to get more kits. The organization is also giving out water and minor medical care. To donate, click here.
  • Austin Pets Alive! has many stray pets that have lost their owners, to find out how you can help click here.

Give Responsibly

There are many great verified charities out there that are motivated to give to victims of Hurricane Harvey. At Nerds Support, our Miami IT consulting team would like to remind you to do the following before you donate to any type of charity.

  • Verify the charity – Conduct an online research on the charity that is reaching out to you. Make sure they have a website and are active on social media.
  • Stay away from suspicious links –  before you click a link, run an online search on the link name. (i.e. A link like saveharveyvictims.com/donate would require an online search).
  • Make Sure Your Data is Safe – 37% of cyberattacks can be avoided if the computer user stays careful. Only open emails from people you know and immediately delete emails from strangers.
Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan for a rainy day or a disaster

The Importance of a Miami Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan

Have you established a data backup and disaster recovery plan for your business yet? If not, remember this, the Miami area has officially entered hurricane season. When hurricane season hits, businesses frequently experience power outages, flooding, electrical fires and other destruction that leads to loss of data and the prevention of the company from operating at all. Hurricane season is technically June 1 through November 30, but occasionally severe storms will occur outside of these dates. While we prepare our homes and families, we must prepare our company’s crucial data. Putting a Business Disaster Recovery (BDR) plan in place can protect your business from an eminent shutdown.

 

What is a Business Disaster Recovery Plan?

A BDR is a solution to backup a company’s data so it can be recovered in case of a serious malfunction like a server going down, or a disaster such as a fire or flood. There are different methods of backup. Some companies use a hosted cloud server, while others backup to an external hard drive, USB drive, Network Attached Storage device mirror to another server and more.

 

Consequences of Not Having a BDR Plan

Without a BDR plan, your company is extremely vulnerable when a disaster strikes. Possible and likely consequences are:

  • Loss of confidential data
  • Cost of downtime, by losing days of work while trying to restore data
  • No way no recover data
  • Loss of clients
  • Loss of reputation

Many companies without a BDR plan never fully recover and the others completely go out of business.

Businesses in Miami and the surrounding Florida areas always have the threat of hurricanes on their minds, and we have seen the devastating destruction they leave behind. Even a tropical storm will significantly leave its mark on land. If you’re not too concerned about weather, there are other possibilities you should remember. Network problems and computer equipment failures can happen to any company. Let’s not forget data breaches by hackers looking to find financial and personal information belonging to clients and employees.

 

How a BDR Plan Protects Your Company’s Data

With a BDR plan, your business is protected against loss of data, equipment failure or theft. An IT Service like Nerds Support will work with your business to customize a solution that involves planning, prevention and protection in the event of a disaster. Our team works to routinely update the BDR plan if your company expands by adding another branch, new equipment is added or more employees are hired. We will ensure that you can access and fully recover all of your stored data. This will eliminate downtime that hinders your company’s ability to continue working and earn money. The BDR plan will work in conjunction with a Business Continuity plan and the virtualization of your network, so that your business will be up and running again in minutes, as if nothing ever happened.

 

Contact us if you have questions about establishing a Business Disaster Recovery plan for your company, large or small. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to answer all of your inquiries in a timely fashion!

A man desperate because he lost his information and didnt have a disaster recovery solution

Top Seven Reasons You Need A Disaster Recovery Solution in Miami

When it comes to disaster preparedness, how prepared are you? Over 80% of South Florida companies, large and small, report that they have experienced a financial loss due to a technological crisis. Here are 7 reasons why you having a Miami backup and disaster recovery solution is absolutely necessary.

There are no Guarantees When it Comes to IT Hardware and Software

  1. Customers expectations are high! When systems go down it can be devastating to your reputation. Once your customers are made aware of internal IT issues, their trust will begin to decline and they may not hesitate to give their business elsewhere.
  2. IT hardware starts depreciating the minute you take it out of the box. Even when it’s top of the line, your IT infrastructure is never perfect. Don’t over estimate the quality of your hardware. False security can leave you in a bind when something goes wrong.
  3. Software is fickle and needs constant attention. Even when you stay on top of updates, software is constantly troublesome for business owners. Backup plans give peace of mind when it comes to software hiccups.

Disaster Recovery Protects Your Reputation

  1. When you throw human error in to the mix, it’s no surprise that the majority of companies will report that they have lost valuable data by being ill prepared. One small mistake could cost you dearly and fill you with regret.
  2. Even the best hardware and software available will not keep your documents safe in the event that there is a natural disaster. This is a prime example of why backup and disaster recovery is absolutely necessary. Natural disasters can’t be controlled, but the damage can be minimized.
  3. Viruses can plague an entire office at the drop of a dime. All it takes is one employee clicking a bad link and every computer on the network is effected. These are things that, try as you might, you can’t guarantee immunity against malicious computer infections.
  4. When staff is able to trust in their employer they are more likely to give 100%. On the other hand, when your office experiences continued IT problems morale can plummet. Employees appreciate the security they feel when they know that their employer is prepared for the worst case scenario.

Don’t trick yourself in to thinking that backup is optional. Miami Disaster recovery solutions are the only way to protect your data, your reputation and your livelihood. Having a great Miami IT support company behind you is the best way to combat this