Ransomware is spreading and the clock is ticking

When files are corrupted and encrypted by a ransomware attack, cloud sync and share tools aren’t something you can rely on

ransomware

Author

Matthew Johnston is Area Vice President, ASEAN, at Commvault.

You heeded security experts’ advice and invested in all the recommended endpoint protection solutions, including anti-malware, personal firewall, hard disk and file encryption, DLP and probably more. You stay on top of the latest software updates and have employed rigorous security policies. Even with all these protection solutions, there’s still a modest chance of breach. What else is there to do?

Experts warn that cyber criminals will consistently be one step ahead of threat detection software. Don’t worry, there is something you can do about it – data backup. This involves maintaining a secure, regularly scheduled backup of your organization’s laptop and desktop files and data. With this, your laptop and desktop files are preserved and can easily be restored if a ransomware attack occurs.

Back up, back up, back up

Yet, while many organizations remember putting in place data protection for the data center and rolling out endpoint security, they often forget about endpoint data protection. Consider endpoint data backups as insurance in the event that all of your other endpoint security tools failed or weren’t able to outsmart ransom or malware. Besides, user’s actions are still the biggest risk, no matter how robust your security strategy is.

By keeping secure copies of data, files and information – which will always be just as valuable as the original – ransomware criminals won’t be able to demand any ransom from you.

The cloud don’t cut it – not all the time

Of course, some companies tend to think of the cloud as the most convenient backup tool. But the cloud isn’t always the answer.

When files are corrupted and encrypted by a ransomware attack, cloud sync and share tools aren’t something you can rely on. This is because they replicate the encryption, so cloud files could be just as infected as their originals. Another concern is that these cloud services, particularly those that are free or targeted at consumers, typically are incapable of protecting all of your data. They also may not always have retention policies that pre-date the attack. As a result, you either surrender to the ransomware attack and pay the hefty ransom, or bid your data goodbye.

Don’t play catch-up with data criminals

As we continue to digitalise, deploy smart city initiatives, and increase our use of mobile devices, the creation and consumption of information is growing by leaps and bounds, thus inducing greater risk of data loss and corruption.

Data criminals, generally, are going to be one step ahead of security fixes and prevention software available. We constantly play catch-up with these threats, unless we adopt capabilities and solutions that enable us to act quickly. It is only with a holistic and centrally-managed backup solution that is truly reliable and sustainable that we have a chance to defend against threats like ransomware. The risk lowers when information under attack could be easily restored. Even though it may mean we lose a small amount of data created since the last snapshot, it is still pretty nominal compared with losing all of the data permanently.

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