Case Study: CPI Solutions and StorageCraft Conquer Cryptolocker


The Best Defense is Solid BDR

When your company is responsible for managing 4,000+ servers and desktops for several small businesses in Southern California, the best defense against downtime is a solid backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution. StorageCraft® partner CPI Solutions knows this from experience. They take care of technology for companies throughout Ventura, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino counties. “At CPI, we’re about keeping your business up and running, resolving your problems quickly, and providing you with reliable IT support when you need it,” says Arnie Friedman, president and CEO of CPI Solutions. A few months ago, their support team was put to the test when 10 clients experienced ransomware attacks. “Typically, ransomware will encrypt all local files on the machine, then all network attached storage drives and the files on them,” says Jerry Wissinger, lead NOC technician for CPI Solutions. “This data is ‘locked up’ and cannot be retrieved unless the user pays a ransom.” Examples of ransomware include CryptoLocker or Crilock, CryptoDefense, CryptoWall, and Reveton. This type of malware may invade an unprotected computer through an email attachment or a download from a scam website. The ransomware “worms” through the computer’s files and encrypts them so the user can’t access the data without a key to unlock the encryption code. A pop-up screen usually with a countdown clock, appears with instructions for how to pay the ransom and get the key to unlock the computer. The hackers use anonymous payment systems such as MoneyPak and Bitcoin to collect ransom. According to, the creators of CryptoLocker may have collected as much as $30 million in ransom. CPI Solutions didn’t want clients to be forced to pay criminals who were holding their data hostage. So, when the first call about ransomware came in, CPI was ready to restore the client’s data – with no ransom paid. [wpfilebase tag=file id=28 tpl=download-button /]

Defense Saves Business

The first sign of trouble was when a client called CPI Solutions because she couldn’t open a spreadsheet file – or any of her files, as it turned out. The client was a property management company with three locations in California. The CPI support tech inspected the file server and discovered that all of its files had been encrypted by ransomware, not just the files on the client’s workstation. Ransomware had infected the entire server, locking up all of the company’s sensitive data, including financial information dating back several years. Because CPI Solutions uses StorageCraft ShadowProtect® to back up and protect its managed IT client data, there was a very recent backup that was still unaffected by the ransomware. “ShadowProtect allows us to take backups at frequent intervals with little interference with a client’s server resources. This enables us to choose from a variety of restore points, limiting the impact the malware has on the customer,” explains James Oberhaus, vice president of managed IT services for CPI Solutions. After accessing the most recent clean backup with ShadowProtect, the CPI technician was able to fully restore the servers within a couple of hours. While the company’s servers were fully restored and functional within two hours, the user’s computer had to be rebuilt. The workstation was fully functional within a business day. “If we had not been able to restore the servers, sensitive customer and financial data – from the years leading up to the attack – could have been lost,” Jerry says. “This particular user had access to all of the company’s financial and operational information, so the malware spread from her computer to the server, locking up the entire company’s data. It all could’ve been lost without ShadowProtect.” What happens when companies hit by ransomware don’t have ShadowProtect? “Without an effective backup solution, data must be retrieved from the hacker thieves by paying ransoms,” he says. “The typical ransom is $500. This will usually be for only a piece of the data.” Once the ransom is paid, the user is sent a decryption key to retrieve their encrypted data. Depending on how much data was encrypted by the ransomware, a company could end up paying tens of thousands of dollars to retrieve all of their data – assuming the hackers send the decryption key. Sometimes they don’t. “The whole ransom process can take days and doesn’t always help retrieve all of the data. If it does, it usually costs the company thousands of unbudgeted dollars,” he says. Since the first client’s call, CPI Solutions has used ShadowProtect to help nine more clients recover from ransomware attacks and save their businesses from loss.

Winning with StorageCraft

CPI Solutions has been a StorageCraft partner for less than two years. Prior to using ShadowProtect, they used multiple products for BDR. “We were looking for a more reliable and usable backup solution for our clients. We’d been experiencing a 15% to 20% failure rate with other backup solutions. We wanted to consolidate down to one standard option, and StorageCraft offered the best solution for us,” James says. Using multiple backup technologies wasted time and resources. After CPI Solutions standardized on StorageCraft, their business changed. “Now our failure rate for backups is only about 1% to 2% at most, typically due to hardware and networking issues and not the backup technology itself. StorageCraft has opened the door for us to have a fully managed off-site backup solution for our clients,” he says. The reliability of ShadowProtect means CPI doesn’t have to send technicians to client sites as often as before. As Jerry describes it: “ShadowProtect just works every time – it’s simple. Other products have presented a variety of issues. ShadowProtect is just the best all-in-one solution for us and our clients.”

About CPI Solutions

Founded more than 30 years ago, CPI Solutions is a regional leader in IT consulting and technology services in Southern California. They offer consulting, managed IT services, application development and audio-visual solutions, 24 x 7 technical support and cloud services. CPI Solutions provides end-to-end managed IT services for companies throughout Ventura, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino counties. They offer the ability to offload individual IT functions and workloads, or clients can fully outsource all IT functions. “With a managed IT services program in place, you can shift your focus to the things that make a real difference to your organization – while lowering costs, eliminating distractions, and attaining superior levels of service,” explains Arnie Friedman, president and CEO of CPI Solutions. The company has been recognized for its business and technical leadership with awards that include CRN Tech Elite 250, SFV Business Journal Largest IT Consulting Firm, Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company, and SFV Business Journal Best Places to Work. In addition to StorageCraft, CPI Solutions has technical alliances with Cisco, Citrix, Dell, HP, LifeSize, Microsoft, NetApp, Nimblestorage, PaloAlto Networks, ShoreTel and VMware.

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