Cyber attacks are inevitable, according to Ron Husey, founder, president and CEO of Carson City-based Xogenous, but their crippling effects are not.
“If they really want to attack you, there is very little you can do to stop them,” Husey said in a phone interview about the barrage of attacks his staff sees on a daily basis. The form attacks take is constantly evolving.
Ransomware is the attack du jour. When a computer system is infected with ransomware, access is restricted unless the user pays a ransom, and systems and data are destroyed if they don’t.
Planning ahead ensures all is not lost.
To recover quickly, businesses need “a disaster recovery plan (DRP) in place with good backup — a snapshot of everything you do stored outside your facility,” Husey said.
“Unless you’re willing, and many companies just aren’t willing, to be proactive; unless they get attacked, they don’t see the value in it,” he said.
Xogenous is primarily a full-service IT company that also has a data center. The company has 18 engineers that work with companies to keep their systems up and running and up-to-date so business can continue. Creating a DRP specifically for the business is one of their services.
“It’s a very customized approach,” Husey said, adding that giant data centers have a cookie-cutter approach and leave it to the client companies to manage their data and IT systems.
Cyber attacks are only one type of disaster that can shut down a business. Fires, floods, power outages and more can also destroy data and programs that keep a business in operation.
A U.S. Department of Labor report cited on the Xogenous Web site states that overall, 93 percent of companies suffering significant data loss are out of business within five years.
A key component of a recovery plan is offsite backup, where the data is out of reach of the disaster, be it cyber-inflicted or Mother Nature’s fury. For many business owners, the cost seems prohibitive. But without offsite backup, data recovery can be even more expensive, if not impossible to retrieve.
Husey said northern Nevada business owners are slow to embrace the cloud as a data location.
“I think what’s unusual about this particular area is that people don’t understand, don’t trust, cloud-based systems,” he said. They see large companies like Target get hacked and it makes them uncomfortable about cloud data storage.
“Unfortunately, the business population here is such that they haven’t embraced the cloud. People still prefer to keep their system onsite and we’re happy to support them wherever they want it.”
Nevertheless Xogenous staff work to show their customers the cost benefits of off-site storage. Companies with an onsite data center must maintain equipment. An onsite power outage can shut down air conditioning with devastating results. If a major piece of equipment dies, the replacement cost comes directly out of the business’s account. Additionally, waiting for it to be replaced, can cost the company a week or two of operations.
Off site data storage companies such as Xogenous have multiple layers of redundancy in system storage, air condition and electrical generation.
“All those things are expensive to support (for an individual business),” Husey said.
Advances in technology allow data to be stored far away from a business’s office. Although most Xogenous clients are in Nevada and northern California, they have some as far away as Pennsylvania.
Should a major disaster happen, such as a crash of the East Coast power grid, their data is still safe in Nevada.
Xogenous IT staff can even maintain computer systems on the other side of the continent.
“When the cloud came along, it turned things around. Instead of us coming into your business and running (IT) for you, your data is stored at our data center,” Husey said.
“It brought facility management to the cloud and cloud-based (management) to our place in Carson City.”