Cybersecurity Roundup: Snow Software, OpenVPN, Exabeam, Acronis

Using unsecured Wi-Fi for work while traveling can easily place your employer at risk.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

July 5, 2019

7 Min Read
Security Roundup

With summer vacation season in high gear, lots of people are taking time off from work, but that doesn’t mean they’re leaving work behind. And that’s great news for cybercriminals.

According to a new report from Snow Software, just 26% of U.S. employees say they leave their work device behind when they are on vacation. So most employees will still answer emails, even if they’re at a barbecue, out on a boat or watching fireworks.

As technology has continued to blur the lines between professional and personal lives, this new data suggests taking work on vacation is the new normal despite the increased potential for device loss and data exposure, not to mention unintentionally limiting IT’s opportunity to take their own vacations.

The survey of 3,000 workers globally also reveals that with “vacation work” comes irresponsibility with work devices, and approximately 30% of Americans report losing a work device while on vacation. Americans are actually more likely than travelers from Europe or Asia Pacific to lose a work device on vacation, according to Snow.

The most common places for work devices to be lost or stolen while on vacation were: restaurant (35%); hotel/rental property (34%); public transportation (32%); airplane/airport (29%); and rental car (28%).

Using unsecured Wi-Fi for work while traveling can easily place your employer at risk, according to OpenVPN. An example would be using free airport Wi-Fi to get ahead of some emails while waiting for a flight. In seconds, you and your workplace could be exposed to a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, where a third-party hacker intercepts private data from your device as you unknowingly browse the internet.

Hackers are watching unsecured Wi-Fi to find their next victims, especially as holiday travelers take advantage of free connections at any coffee shop, bus station or hotel they can find.

Francis Dinha, OpenVPN’s CEO and co-founder, tells us there are options to keep personal and company data safe while working remotely.


OpenVPN’s Francis Dinha

“A virtual private network (VPN) is a simple, effective tool,” he said. “A VPN works by encrypting your data, which means your information is translated into a code that only the VPN server can decipher. It also masks your IP address, or digital footprint, as it’s often called, which makes you unrecognizable to ISPs and the rest of the internet in general.”

If you work for a company that has a private network you access at the office, a VPN will allow you to virtually access that network safely from a remote location rather than exposing yourself and your company to cyber threats, Dinha said.

“A Wi-Fi network that requires a password is considered secure; however, attackers can still do harm on a secure network if it’s not managed properly,” he said. “Unfortunately, many coffee shops, hotels, airports and public spaces don’t use the best security practices. Because of this, it’s important for traveling workers to be aware of their digital environment and savvy about their digital privacy and security.”

Despite the risk, many people continue to use unsecured Wi-Fi when traveling, Dinha said. They likely don’t realize the risks of using an unsecured Wi-Fi network and how easy it is for someone with ill intentions to cause real harm. Or, in their desperate need for internet access, they may not care.

“There is also a popular notion people believe that ‘it won’t happen to me,'” he said. “Ultimately, people need to assess their digital footprint and determine how much their data is worth to them before using unsecured public Wi-Fi unprotected.”

Exabeam Buys Cloud Security Startup

Exabeam has acquired Israel-based cloud security startup SkyFormation, its first acquisition and following its recent $75 million Series E funding round.

The purchase will allow Exabeam to establish an office in Israel, provide access to talent and help more customers move their businesses and their security to the cloud, the company said.

Founded in 2014, SkyFormation allows organizations to collect logs from more than 30 cloud services into Exabeam Data Lake, Exabeam Advanced Analytics or any other security information and event management (SIEM) tool. Updates are made automatically whenever there are …

… API changes, so security teams don’t need coding skills or professional services engagements to ensure the right data is being collected.

Ted Plumis, Exabeam‘s vice president of channels, business and corporate development, tells us this acquisition will be “fairly transparent” for his company’s partners at first because they already are selling the SkyFormation product as Exabeam Cloud Connectors via its OEM relationship.


Exabeam’s Ted Plumis

“This relationship has given our partners a competitive advantage over other SIEM technologies because Exabeam can reliably collect logs into Exabeam Data Lake and Exabeam Advanced Analytics,” he said. “One change is our partners will soon have the ability to sell Cloud Connectors to their customer base regardless of the deployed SIEM. It will also expand our cloud offerings, in addition to our recently launched SaaS offering and threat intelligence feeds, which will expand the types and size of customers they can sell Exabeam to.”

SkyFormation has mainly sold via MSP and managed detection and response (MDR) partners, and all SkyFormation partners will be welcome in the Exabeam partner program, Plumis said.

“The timing was right because we are making a strong move into the cloud and expanding our engineering teams globally,” he said. “We recently opened an office in Atlanta and now we have an Illinois development center, which will help us grow and attract more security talent to Exabeam. We also have seen a tremendous demand for Exabeam Cloud Connectors and have had a great relationship with the SkyFormation team since 2016, so it made sense to bring them into Exabeam. In terms of acquisitions, for the near future we are focused on making sure we effectively integrate the SkyFormation team and solutions into Exabeam, but if there are companies or technologies we feel will enhance the Exabeam platform for our customers then we will explore all opportunities.”

Acronis Backup Extended to SAP HANA

Acronis, well-known for its family of backup, imaging and synchronization products, this week unveiled Acronis Backup for SAP HANA data.

Acronis now protects the entire database without requiring any knowledge or expertise in SAP HANA. More than 27,000 enterprises rely on SAP HANA databases.

SAP HANA is the latest platform supported by Acronis Backup, joining more than 20 other physical, virtual, application, cloud, mobile and endpoint systems. In addition, this new SAP HANA backup and recovery support represents the first step toward a greater connectivity between Acronis’ cyber protection services and SAP HANA’s enterprise data management capabilities.

James Slaby, Acronis’ director of cyberprotection, tells us one of the big advantages of Acronis Backup is its ability to protect the customer’s entire IT environment, from servers to mobile devices, including VMs and cloud workloads, from a single interface.


Acronis’ James Slaby

“Now add SAP HANA support to that, and suddenly Acronis partners gain access to an important, large segment of the enterprise market,” he said. “SAP HANA is widely used in business, with tens of thousands of deployments, but backing it up has historically been a headache for IT departments. It uses an in-memory architecture, and deployments are typically large, complex, performance-sensitive and data-intensive. Acronis makes backing up SAP HANA easy, efficient and secure with the use of ready-to-use, prepackaged scripts. IT operations staffs can … quickly recover SAP HANA environments from any data losses, minimizing the duration and cost of downtime from issues like hardware failures and malware attacks.”

Acronis partners now have the ability to add SAP HANA support to Acronis’ support for every computing environment, Slaby said.

“And they can sell SAP HANA customers the other innovative virtues of Acronis Backup, like restore of SAP HANA systems to a variety of destinations (physical, virtual, cloud), near-instantaneous recovery times (by restoring directly from backup as VMware VMs), and the use of native SAP HANA snapshot technology,” he said.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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