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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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March 5, 2020 | Brian Helwig

As Attacks on NAS Devices Rise, Use Cloud to Simplify 3-2-1 Backup

Cloud backup is less expensive, you don’t have to maintain the hardware, and it’s an easy off-site storage solution.

With hackers now targeting network-attached storage (NAS) devices, using the cloud to store backup data for clients is looking like one of the better best options.  for MSPs seeking to improve their data protection strategies for backup and disaster recovery (BDR) need to leverage platforms that offer flexibility and security to ensure backups are recoverable.

Kaspersky last year identified a number of new ransomware families focused solely on NAS. Despite efforts by the MSP community to curb ransomware attacks—which they’ve done to an extent—the global cybersecurity company’s researchers are expecting this relatively new type of ransomware attack to grow in popularity this year—mainly due to the profitability of the attack vector and the cost- effective accessibility to of intrusion detection software, advanced firewallls, and other high-end tools to prevent attacks like Intrusion Detection and advanced firewalls.

Operators of these new types of attacks on NAS devices are doing things a little bit differently. Instead of using email or planting exploit kits on websites, they’re looking for accessible NAS devices by scanning IP addresses, Kaspersky’s researchers noted. Some of these accessible devices unfortunately are running integrated software with vulnerabilities, which is how attackers are installing malicious software designed to encrypt all data on the devices connected to the NAS.

If you’re following the traditional 3-2-1 backup rule, which you probably are, you’re pretty much in good shape, but if you’re not or haven’t incorporated the cloud into your 3-2-1 backup strategy, you may want to reconsider your BDR approach, especially with attacks on NAS devices expected to rise. 

3-2-1 Backup Explained

As you probably know, the 3-2-1 backup rule is recognized as a best practice for backing up client data. Even the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), an organization within the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency, recommends the 3-2-1 rule to organizations

The 3-2-1 backup rule is easy to understand and follow, even if you’re unfamiliar with it. 

First, always have at least three distinct copies of your data, the original data itself and two backups. Each copy should contain the same version of the data. 

Second, at least two copies of your data should exist on storage devices physically independent from one another (storing different copies of data on different internal hard drives within the same server doesn’t count). 

Finally, one copy of your data should exist at an off-site location, such as a cloud-based data center like AWS S3 or Wasabi.

Using the Cloud to Make 3-2-1 Backup Simple 

While you can satisfy each part of the 3-2-1 backup rule without using the cloud, you may want to consider cloud storage for several reasons: You don’t have to maintain the hardware, and you virtually eliminate hardware failure in at least your cloud destination. It’s also typically less expensive, a distinct type of storage medium, and an easy off-site storage solution.

Before selecting a cloud storage provider, evaluate your options. As you know, there are plenty to choose from. Make sure you consider the costs of retrieving your data, and the egress charges and timelines.

But what’s even more important is choosing a cloud-agnostic backup solution for your 3-2-1 backup strategy. Here’s the thing: You may need two different clouds to provide two independent storage mediums. If that’s the case, avoid backup software that limits you to one specific private cloud.

One final tip is to select a backup vendor that offers hybrid backup. Using one software application and one process, hybrid backup enables you to copy data to local storage and to the cloud at the same time. This eliminates the need to create local and cloud-based copies of your backup separately, and improves operations efficiency and uptime for your customers. 

Even though you don’t have to use cloud storage to abide by the 3-2-1 backup rule, you should consider it, especially as attacks on NAS devices become more prevalent. 

BRIAN HELWIG is CEO of MSP360 (formerly CloudBerry Lab), which provides cloud-based backup and file management services to SMBs.

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