When Newcastle University was targeted in a cyberattack recently it caused weeks of disruption affecting all new and existing students starting their new terms.
This attack also followed breaches at other academic institutions including Northumbria University, Bolton Sixth Form College and Leeds City College. As a result of the security breaches the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned colleges and universities of a spike in ransomware attacks targeting the education sector, leaving college principals fearful they would not be able to accept students when the term started.
The NCSC said more than a dozen criminal groups were currently targeting the education sector – particularly with remote learning students – earning millions by encrypting their victim’s insecure networks and then leaking stolen documents online to extort money.
The rise in ransomware attacks
Targeting education is just one example of the huge variety of sectors where organisations have become ever more vulnerable to ransomware attacks and vulnerability breaches because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Consequently, it’s more important than ever for businesses, public sector organisations and academic institutions to understand how to ensure the safety of their data and backup services, particularly when so many employees and students are working remotely.
For Too Many Clouds, data protection and secure backup systems are key to business success in these uncertain times. There’s no doubt that the workplace and halls of learning have changed radically in the past six months and those changes will continue into the foreseeable future.
It’s important here to emphasise that for the peace of mind of any organisation, Too Many Clouds doesn’t just provide data protection as a service, we provide infrastructure as a service as well. Replicating all data – that’s the company’s and people’s personal data – in a totally secure environment.
Remote infrastructure for any business
As a result, we are able to provide a remote infrastructure for any business of any size, in any location. While COVID-19 has been terribly tragic on so many levels, it’s also increased the need for organisations to be agile, nimble and provide a different offering for their workforce.
For example, companies are now sending laptops and equipment to every employee’s home address. This even includes a desk chair and everything else to make sure that person has the creature comforts of an office environment at home.
But underpinning this are some really complex issues: how quick and agile can that business perform? It’ll need to spin up, say, 250,000 users as a remote workforce and there are companies really struggling with this. While many are making positive steps to ensure Office 365 is able to do the job for remote working, most managers are not thinking about data protection; who’s handling the data, emails being opened at home on insecure networks, shadow IT being downloaded, the use of personal devices for work-only processes etc. We don’t want to be the harbinger of doom, but this is why the academic institutions have been targeted, why small businesses are suddenly under attack – because they’re the most vulnerable.
Since it was set up in 2006, Veeam has become one of the top providers in the data management market as more organisations have transformed their cloud operations and need to know their data is secure and under control.
Starting as a data protection solution for on-premise environments, Veeam has since dominated the VMware backup market and continues to evolve to meet the data management requirements of thousands of organisations that are undergoing digital transformation. IT departments have to change to be able to scale up because of all these home offices and it’s difficult for resellers to understand how to manage these endpoints correctly, with bandwidth constraints and backup and storage requirements.
And ultimately all this is a huge challenge for data protection and compliance. Data protection should not be only about defending data from attacks. Crucially, understanding the visibility of the data helps an organisation to become more innovative and forward looking. At Too Many Clouds we look at Veeam as a platform building a solution for safe data storage and backup storage for our own business first – then we roll it out to customers. We provide disaster recovery, so backup as a service is an obvious step.
As a result, all bases – backup, disaster recovery and cloud data management – are covered. This is for all types of companies, institutions and organisations and includes on premise, hybrid or multi-cloud infrastructure solutions. Every company is different; no two deployments are the same. That’s what gives Too Many Cloud’s its strength, by using Veeam’s ability to accommodate and service a myriad of requirements.
But, importantly, our data protection service also gives organisations the visibility over their data assets to help speed up and deliver their digital transformations. This is critical. So, for us, data protection also becomes an intelligent enabler, helping to create a credible, competitive future for organisations as they move at speed to the cloud.