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It’s no secret that ransomware attacks are increasing. In fact, a business is hit with ransomware every 40 seconds. If ransomware does get a hold of your data, you can pay a large amount of money hoping that you will get your data back. The alternative is to not pay anything and begin your recovery process. Whether you pay the ransom or not, your enterprise loses time and resources dealing with the aftermath.

Is your organization talking about the increase in ransomware and phishing attempts as a result of the global pandemic?

Are your stakeholders saying something like “We need to protect against ransomware. Let’s use the cloud.”?


The current global pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in cyber security concerns across the globe, with some estimating a 667% spike in email phishing attacks due to coronavirus fears. A new Tenable study says 94% of organizations experienced a business-impacting cyberattack or compromise in the past 12 months; 46% weathered five or more attacks.

While the cloud is not a magic cure for all your security concerns, Columbus and Microsoft offer solutions that can dramatically decrease your security venerability. Meanwhile, your system availability increases as does the probability of recovery in the event of an incident—including changes in conditions that impact the way you work. Columbus and Microsoft can help with three key options for improving the security and accessibility of your core business systems.

Transform your business with the latest cloud ERP

Does your current ERP solution provide you with the flexibility you require? Is your business struggling with increasing IT infrastructure investment? Are your stakeholders expressing the need for an integrated ERP solution they can access anywhere to make critical business decisions?

The solution is simple—migrate from an on-premises ERP to a cloud-based ERP solution!

Support, technical upgrades and security patches to on-premises ERP today are slowly grinding to a halt. One of the ways to ensure your business is agile enough to meet the stringent demands placed on it is moving your on-premises ERP to the Cloud. Whether you are running Microsoft AX, NAV or GP, Microsoft offers powerful Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Business Central.

If you are currently using Dynamics NAV or GP, migrating to Dynamics 365 Business Central will streamline your processes and accelerate growth while improving security and scalability.

  • Improve security, privacy and reliability
    Experience peace of mind knowing your sensitive business data is stored in highly secure, state-of-the-art data centers owned and managed by Microsoft. Your data will be there when you need it, thanks to a 99.9% uptime service-level agreement (SLA).
  • Enable scalability and flexibility
    Support business growth without costly changes to your IT infrastructure, including the ability to quickly activate and deploy new users.

    Learn more

Migrating your on-premises solution to Microsoft Azure

Are you still running Dynamics GP with on-premise servers? This can present several challenges and significantly raise your security venerability. In addition to higher maintenance costs, sole responsibility for data security and backups, ongoing hardware investments, phishing attacks and ransomware are the most challenging threats for many organizations.

Migrating your existing Microsoft ERP solutions to Microsoft Azure can dramatically improve your security and reliability posture, while reducing costs associated with running your own IT infrastructure.

There are some big benefits to getting off old on-premise servers. Here are some of the cloud’s biggest ‘wins’ for small business in moving their ERP solution to Azure:

  • Continuity of operations: Your apps are available 99.9% of the time and you no longer have to worry about somebody spilling coffee on the servers or taking your systems offline by accident.
  • Fast deployment of GP: Azure IaaS allows rapid provisioning of servers allowing quick deployment of your solution without high hardware acquisition costs. Computing power, memory and data storage are expandable (or shrinkable) and can flex with your operational needs. Don’t overbuy hardware—pay only for what you use.
  • Lower CAPEX: Microsoft Dynamics GP on Azure is a cost-effective option. Aging hardware replacement and maintenance costs will be a thing of the past.
  • Increased security: Microsoft Azure, the Microsoft Cloud, sets the standard for best-in-class security. Microsoft has a strategic goal of moving their entire client base to the cloud— they train, hire and retain the very best and leverage the most effective tools to keep your applications and data safe.

    Learn more

Improving recoverability when disaster strikes

Prevention is better than cure. That said, we understand that some organizations are not ready to make the shift to running their business in the cloud. Even without migrating your solution to it, the cloud can provide you a secure, reliable and cost-effective solution that ensures you are able to recover from challenges rapidly and place your business on a growth trajectory.

When systems are down, businesses fail to meet customer expectations leaving them stranded with their unfulfilled requirements—often resulting in ultimately tarnishing the brand’s reputation. Instead of facing such a situation, it is advisable companies have a disaster recovery plan in place and now is perhaps the opportune time to do so. With such a plan in place, all systems are backed up and replicated helping organizations carry out their business operations smoothly; even in the case of major natural calamities.

Azure Backups can be lifesavers for businesses affected by ransomware, hardware failure or disasters. An Azure Backup will generate a full replica of your data and store it on the cloud, followed by saving changes to that data at intervals you prefer. This allows you to have ‘point-in-time’ backups. If a ransomware attack does hit you, you can restore a backup of the data before it was encrypted. Azure Backup provides a lot of options to achieve your Recovery Point Objective (RPO) – you can recover your data to the right point-in-time (whether the point you need to restore data to is an hour back, a day back or a week back).

A 2014 Gartner study indicates that without a proper disaster recovery plan, businesses can lose thousands of dollars; typically up to $300,000 per hour on average. A disaster can also result in the loss of data and security breaches, ultimately resulting in businesses ending up in a situation where they cannot conduct or resume regular operations

The next aspect to consider is Disaster Recovery such as the Site Recovery offering in Azure. This allows you to have a failover environment at the ready if there is a hardware issue, a disaster, or if the production instance needs to move because of remaining vulnerabilities after ransomware. Site Recovery basically creates a copy of the configurations of all your servers and virtual machines wherever they are and keeps those replicas up to date on Azure. This way, even if a tornado hits your data center, you have a replica environment on Azure ready to come online and keep your operations running ensuring business continuity.

If you have backups without Site Recovery, you need somewhere to load those backups and run them; if you have Site Recovery without Backups, then even though you have the environment running, you’re limited to the exact version that was last saved. If your environment was encrypted by ransomware, that’s how it will load up in the recovery environment as well. The combination of the two can be the golden ticket to getting out of a rough patch. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

We recently had an organization hit by ransomware come to us. They had effective backups, but no disaster recovery and were not using the cloud. Over the course of about one to two days, we re-implemented their critical workloads in their on-premises infrastructure while simultaneously building another site on Azure—in case the exploits were present in their backups and they needed to failover quickly. While the backups allowed their business to not experience crippling disaster, the cost and downtime were much higher than if they had been on the cloud.

Another client experienced a disaster in their datacenter and their servers were rendered unusable. In this circumstance, again, the offsite backups allowed for the business to avoid catastrophic impact. However, as they were not yet on the cloud and did not have a cloud disaster recovery solution configured, the manual process to create a cloud environment on Azure and implement the backups took significant time and investment. In addition, in the process, it was discovered that their network device was out-of-date and not compatible with Azure. When this came gap came to light, the downtime got extended further. If a disaster recovery scenario had been built, these issues could have been overcome in advance and significantly reduced downtime.

In both scenarios, while backups kept the business safe from extreme issues, time was lost in overcoming the detrimental effects of these attacks and had certain costs associated with it. For a customer who is on the cloud, the likelihood of experiencing such an attack and the cost and risk of lost business are significantly reduced.

Learn more

Transform your business with the latest cloud-based ERP

Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers the most comprehensive, flexible and secure solution for many businesses. Columbus is a leader in implementing and supporting the Microsoft Dynamics 365 and ERP landscape. Learn more about How Microsoft Dynamics 365 works and why it’s time to migrate.

Migrating your on-premises solution to Microsoft Azure

Migrating your existing Microsoft ERP solution to Microsoft Azure can dramatically improve your security and reliability posture, while reducing costs associated with running your own IT infrastructure.

Improving recoverability when disaster strikes

If your organization isn’t quite ready for digital transformation and migration to the cloud right now, we at Columbus encourage you to reconsider the criticality of backup and recoverability to ensure business continuity.

Irrespective of whichever cloud solution you consider, Columbus will help you overcome the challenges and leverage opportunities optimally.

If you would like to learn more about how Columbus and Microsoft can reduce your risk of ransomware and accelerate your Digital Transformation journey to the Cloud, please reach out to us-marketing@columbusglobal.com.

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