Office 365 Outages Are Out of Your Control - But Your Data Doesn’t Have to Be

Microsoft Office 365 has more than 155 million monthly active users, which means Microsoft’s uptime is critical to millions of businesses worldwide. Yet during the last several months, Microsoft has been struggling to ensure that users don’t experience interruption. The latest outage occurred this past Monday, February 18, crippling Microsoft Teams users for several hours.

While it’s easy to expect technology to “just work,” the truth is that for myriad reasons it doesn’t always. That’s true whether you’re leveraging cloud solutions like Office 365 or local storage options. The difference in the cloud is that you’re “renting” a solution that operates remotely. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to maintain control of your data.

Let’s consider three common instances when using Office 365 can prove costly for the unaware.

Back up before your company updates Windows 10

It’s been 34 years since Microsoft released the first version of Windows and changed the way business computing is done. Today, the tech giant’s flagship software remains the leading operating system for businesses of all sizes, owning 75 to 86 percent of the total operating system market.

One reason for this success is the way Microsoft approaches operating system updates, making it easy for businesses to get regular improvements that fix reported bugs, close security vulnerabilities, enhance performance, and ensure data protection compliance – without straining in-house IT teams.

But Windows 10 updates have a history of problems. Backing up before you start the process ensures you won’t lose time or money if your company's Windows 10 update fails.

Hard Lessons from the Catastrophic Attack on VFEmail.com

Imagine yourself as a service provider who wakes up one day, pours a cup of coffee, and checks email, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – only to discover a flurry of panicky messages from customers about your service being unavailable. You rush to your management console to find that nothing is working; your entire operating environment is an unresponsive black hole. Racing to your data center, you discover a faceless attacker has wiped out every bit of data you own and maintain on behalf of your customers, erasing every hard drive on the premises.

What’s worse is they have also managed to destroy your backup servers. You have no recovery options.

That’s not an imaginary worst-case scenario. That’s what happened earlier this week to VFEmail.net, a US-based provider of secure email services.

Acronis Disk Director 12.5 is here

The reliability of your computer has a lot to do with how your system disk is structured and organized. So anyone whose livelihood requires them to have a reliable computer – from professional consumers like freelance photographers, videographers, and independent IT consultants to small businesses with a small handful of employees – an affordable and easy-to-use tool for organizing their hard drives is vital.

For many of these “prosumers” and small businesses, Acronis Disk Director has become their preferred solution – and with good reason. It enjoys the reputation for being the most feature-rich toolkit available for managing your data and hard drives.

Acronis Disk Director users will be excited to learn that we’ve just released an updated version of this award-winning disk management and data manipulation software.  The newly released Acronis Disk Director (v 12.5) delivers even greater control to anyone looking to optimize their system.

Outdated software is the weak link in your data protection

New computers and software can be expensive. If you're using your laptop for your child's homework assignments or keeping your fledgling small business going, you might be tempted to not update your device or software that often. After all, it’s getting the job done, and as the saying goes, “If it’s ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

A lot of people think this way. A recent report found that most people in 2018 are using computers that are on average six years old. Only 2.54 percent of users have a machine purchased in 2017, and nearly 75 percent of users who own a device bought it in 2011 or earlier.

The problem with relying on an older computer is that updating to newer software – from apps to operating systems – can become more difficult. More importantly, relying on outdated operating systems, file- and print-sharing utilities, and applications can expose your computer and all the data you keep on it to tremendous risks.

We recently asked our cloud partners what was on their 2019 wish list for support – what they needed most to realize new success. The overwhelming reply: Help in knowing how to better market their services. 

As a result, we created a comprehensive Acronis MSP Marketing Guide to help service providers boost their business with greater ease. Here’s a quick preview of what it covers.

Cyber Insurance, Cyber Warfare, and Modern IT Needs

Insurance company cites act-of-war to deny ransomware damages claim

You purchased cyber insurance to protect your business, just like you bought health insurance to protect yourself and your family. However, in the same way that health insurance can deny a procedure or medication, cyber insurers may deny your claims for business disruption arising from cyberattacks. 

Security professionals talk about cybercrime as though it’s a war, an ongoing battle against malicious actors. Apparently, insurance companies now agree.

Acronis Foundation starts building a school in Senegal

In November 2018, the Acronis Foundation partnered with the non-profit buildOn to send a group of Acronis employees on a buildOn Trek experience to build a new school in Soupa Serere, Senegal. Of the 200 Acronis employees who volunteered to participate, 20 applicants from countries around the world were selected to represent Acronis in Senegal. They spent two weeks in Soupa Serere, working on the construction site together with the local population, playing with community children, teaching them English, and learning more about their educational needs.

This trek became a meaningful experience both for Acronis employees and the local population.

Surveying the Malware Landscape for 2019

Looking back at 2018, the fight against malware showed glimmers of promise, as new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) were successfully deployed in some quarters to fight high-priority threats like ransomware.

The outlook for 2019 is less rosy, though, as malicious state actors and cybercriminals prepare for battle with a new array of tools and techniques designed to create mayhem and reap profits at the expense of everyone else.

Buckle up, IT security pros: the following trends indicate the anti-malware ride in 2019 is going to be a bumpy one.

Stopping cryptomining malware

One month after the release of the Acronis True Image 2019 Cyber Protection update, we’ve already gotten some interesting findings and amazing results to share from our update to our Acronis Active Protection defensive technologies. One of the major features added as part of the Cyber Protection update was the ability to detect and stop potential cryptomining malware in Windows systems, safeguarding the machines resources, performance and potential hardware of Acronis True Image users.

While we did not expect to see a lot of detections during the initial rollout, the telemetry data collected so far – surprisingly – shows the opposite.