Office 365 and Ransomware

July 25th, 2016

Today I sent the following email to our Office 365 partners:

In the past month or so Microsoft Office 365 has demonstrated a vulnerability that you should be aware of.  The long version is here but the short version is that ransomware could wipe out your email.  Once there has been a successful attack on a system it is only a matter of time before someone tries again.  There is a lot of money in ransomware.  Just imagine that all of your email, the entire history that you have been saving in Outlook, is gone, replaced with a note that for $500 you could get it back.  Or $1000 or more.

I’m not writing this to scare you.  I’m sending you a note to ensure you are aware of the problem and that there is a solution.

As soon as I fully grasped the breadth of the problem I searched out a solution.  Fortunately  we have been working with a vendor that easily protects Office 365 data and we already put this solution into effect at Friendly Connections IT.  The solution is to back up your email directly from the Office 365 Exchange servers.

Your email is stored on Microsoft servers (the type of server is called Exchange).  The vendor we work with connects directly to the email account on the Microsoft server (rather than your PC) and backs up everything.  There is no size limit to the backup (since I seldom delete anything I’m currently backing up over 11GB of data) and it keeps the backup as long as you make the monthly payment.  In addition to protecting your company from complete data loss, if you accidently delete an email it can be restored.  And restoring the data takes only minutes.

Please note:  This is separate from data backups.  We provide FC Backup service which backs up files for our customers but with Office 365 this can only be done through a cloud to cloud service such as I’m talking about here.  Of course, the advantage of that is your computer does not have to be online to back your email.  It is all done behind the scenes.

The cost is $3 per month per email address discounted to $30/year if paid in advance.

With this same service we can also back up your Yahoo mail, Google Apps, Sharepoint, Onedrive and Box accounts.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Bill