On Premise Data & Cloud Services

We recently worked with a company that had the unfortunate experience of dealing with ransomware called Alpha Crypt. A separate Experts-Exchange question was open for that issue which to date has not been resolved.

The company did not have support in place to monitor and maintain their server, data and workstations and a result of expired virus protection on a workstation AND their domain controller the Alpha Crypt ransomware encrypted the workstation documents and files on mapped share points.

It also needs to be mentioned that they did not have any backups. It was thought that because the server was configured for RAID that backups weren't necessary which now brings up my question and please keep in mind that the decision maker is not at IT person and only services as contracted accountant.

Instead of having us reformat and re-install their server the decision has been made to move whatever data they can find off of their CD/DVDs, flash drives and other workstations to BOX and not have any on-premise data. In today's market cloud-based storage services very affordable for most business and the convenience has many benefits. The process of syncing on-premise data to such services is ideal and what we recommend as a solution for information that doesn't contain anything sensitive.

I'd like to inquire thoughts about using cloud-based storage services such as BOX as the primary data repository for business. As mobile broadband connections become faster, more reliable and accessible in remote areas I feel there will be an increase in cloud storage usage see this as something beneficial minus security concerns about ransomeware such as Alpha Crypt. A call to BOX to inquire what would happen in a client became infected resulted in being told that they would just perform a restore of the clients data. Alpha Crypt is one of the nastiest infections I have ever seen and it even deletes shadow copies. I am sure BOX has all of the controls in place to ensure that the client data is protected and restorable, but what about the less experienced or understaffed low budget operations?

I strongly feel that businesses should still maintain critical and sensitive data on-premise OR have the option to backup their cloud data elsewhere such as their location or to another cloud storage provider. Something like this would be possible using a virtual server and a backup application such as StorageCraft.

So with this long post - what are the community members thoughts about using cloud storage as a primary and only data repository?

Thank you for your interest and responses.
Poly11Asked:
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Tony GiangrecoCommented:
First, I'd install your anti virus Manager on a server that monitors all workstations in the network and reports back on any infections, renewal and licensing issues.  Many admins don't like Symantec Endpoint Protection because of the load it puts on the systems, but I use it because it has a Very Good management interface that I run on a server.  This would have alerted you of an expiring anti virus situation 60, 30, 15... days before it expired and it would maintain the virus definitions throughout the network.

Next, I'd install a Sonicwall Firewall with the CGGS subscription that checks all incoming packets for malware and virus infections. we use a TZ215W and it works very well. I've used and installed Sonicwall at different client locations for eight years.

Third, I prefer on premise data backup because it's always quicker to access. if you don't have much data, then of-premise backup is ok. we backup about 800 Gigs a night which is a lot of data to send over the web to a service.

Hope this helps!
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Poly11Author Commented:
Thank you for the response, TG-TIS. The virus protection and firewall are what we recommend, too however the client's contracted accountant thinks he's an IT person and is cheap, cheap, cheap! We made recommendations for protection and monitoring but he insisted on handling himself.
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Shalom CarmelCTOCommented:
There are several types of cloud storage services.

Amazon, Box, Google are cloud services with excellent operations. Those services' stability, security, redundancy, capacity to grow and availability surpass anything you can cobble up on your own in your office.  As far as I am concerned, storage is mostly a utility service, like water or banking. Do I trust it? Hell, yes. Do I place sensitive information on it? Yes, unless I am forbidden to by regulations or by the board of directors.  

Some people put up a server with some storage attached to it, share it on the internet and call it a cloud. I have to disagree. This is not by any means a private cloud. It is a shared server.

In the middle there are service providers that put up a server with some storage attached to it, share it on the internet, and lease it to you. This is also not a cloud, it is a shared server with managed hosting.
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Poly11Author Commented:
Thanks for your response, ShalomC.
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Poly11Author Commented:
Thank you for your opinions.
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Tony GiangrecoCommented:
Glad I could provide info. We see clients like that ll the time. When that happens, we don't waste time on them. We concentrate on clients who do spend properly on their IT systems and want them properly maintained.

That type of client normally does not change, so I'd suggest look for better clients to deal with.  The next time he has that problem and doesn't want to address it properly, send him to his cheap IT guy.

Hope this helps!
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