Ace Distributing

Saved from Disaster after Cyber Attack

Location: Wrightsville, PA

The Company: Ace Distributing is a leading wholesale beer distributor in South Central Pennsylvania. It has 1,500 brands from over 60 suppliers in its portfolio. Ace switched to eoStar® from manual paper tracking and was able to increase efficiencies in their operations. The eoTouch® iOS app also allowed them to use handheld devices on the go. The software on these handhelds is what eventually saved the company from disaster.

The Challenge: Ace Distributing was a victim of a recent ransomware attack, their data was breached and they were locked out of their entire server environment. They lost all of their records, pricing, sales history and product information. They needed a way to recover all of their lost data.

The Solution: Rutherford & Associates’ team of eoStar technical experts quickly identified that because Ace Distributing uses eoTouch, all was not lost. Within hours, the eoStar team was onsite, working with Ace Distributing to develop a custom program to pull historical data from handheld devices.

It was around 2 a.m. when Adam Reeder, COO of Ace Distributing, received the call alerting him of the ransomware attack – a common occurrence in today’s world, especially for small businesses (in fact, 55 percent of small businesses will experience a cyberattack in a calendar year).

Through vulnerabilities in permissions on the company’s physical, onsite servers, Ace Distributing’s data was breached and the entire server environment was locked. “Since our first truck left at 4 a.m., we started to put together plans on how we were going to troubleshoot,” Reeder said.

The company took initial steps to mimic a small database on a spreadsheet and began delivering items using paper to get through the first day of deliveries. Understanding this wasn’t the most efficient process (nor a long-term solution), they reached out to the eoStar team the very next day.

Avoiding a catastrophe

Ace Distributing was faced with the real possibility of long-term damage as a result of the attack. Not only did the company lose all employee and customer records, it no longer had any sales history, product information, pricing. Everything that a distributor needs to run their business. To make matters worse, the company recently doubled in size after a merger a few months prior, and none of this data had been backed up by its third-party IT vendor. “We were starting from zero after the attack, and it had the potential to be catastrophic for our business,” Reeder said.

The original plan was to help Ace Distributing manually input data, but the eoStar team knew there was a better way. Instead of starting from scratch, a team lead by Eric Jurecic, data migration specialist at Rutherford & Associates who flew out to help in person, developed a custom program to pull data from the company’s handheld devices. And, because of the unique eoStar system architecture, it was a complete, 365-day history. For a company dependent on accurate forecasts and well-organized movement of product, that depth of data was invaluable.

“It still amazes me they were able to recover that much information off a small handheld device.” -Adam Reeder, COO

Back to business in a week

Migrating Ace Distributing’s handheld data into a functional database without a backup restore was truly a team effort, and their ingenuity paid off. Using databases of history pulled from the mobile devices of Ace Distributing’s salespeople, the team worked around the clock to aggregate the information into one consolidated database.

Based on the archives, the eoStar team was able to recover all of the customer, item, pricing, employee, schedule, sales history and receivables data going back almost two years. This means with only 29 handheld devices, the team was able to recover data from nearly 1,400 customers and over 184,500 orders, equating to more than three million order lines.

Instead of spending months manually inputting data, much of which no longer existed, Ace Distributing was up and running in a week. “The eoStar team worked with us to turn a multi-month project into something significantly shorter,” Reeder said. “And it still amazes me they were able to recover that much information off a small handheld device.”