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Have you ever wondered what your work (or life) was like 15 years ago, and wanted to step back in time because you thought it was better or simpler?

I had that opportunity last week, not by choice though. My remote access program Kaseya VSA was shut down to avoid Russian hackers. (The good news is everything is back up and running as of Sunday night.)

If you are not familiar with Kaseya VSA (Virtual System Administrator), it’s what I use to access my client’s computers remotely to perform software patches and updates. A few of my clients also use it to access some of their remote computers.

But it wasn’t all bad. I got to travel some (to the clients) and relax. I was able to have face to face time with them and was able to make adjustments in what I was doing to better assist them.

Not being able to access my client’s computers remotely made for an interesting week and a half to say the least. With Kaseya VSA being down, I had to triage my clients and go onsite to treat the issues that had arisen. It felt like going back 15 years in time. Everything had to be completed in person, one site at a time instead of working on multiple locations and computers at once.

Even before Kaseya came under attack, Nay and Associates LLC computers were being reviewed and locked down using Huntress. Huntress is a program that checks to see what programs are being run in your computer and let’s you monitor them to make sure none of them have been hacked or changed. And if there are any changes, they have to be approved by me. Huntress checked and not one single program of the hundred plus programs and operating systems we use was found to be adversely affected.

Because we practice what we preach, we were able to get everything back up-and-running quickly. Besides continuous on and offsite backups at Nay and Associates LLC, we have air-gapped backups that are updated on a regular basis. For online programs we use two-factor authentication (2FA) the same as most banks.

Our Kaseya VSA came back online Sunday July 11, 2021 at 8:30 CST. Since then, over one hundred of our clients had their remote access restored. Of those, approximately 50 computers were online. All have been accessed and updated. The remaining computers will be update once online.

So the valuable lesson from all this is no matter what you do, there can still be issues. But if you are prepared for the inevitable issues that arise from hackers and other technical issues, you can recover and get back to normal quickly.

All the best and stay well,
Jim Nay

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