Ransomware is a harmful malware engineered to encrypt files on your computer or network. This makes your data and files inaccessible until you provide a decryption key. Attackers then demand a ransom — usually in cryptocurrency — for the decryption key. The aim is simple but devastating: to extort money by holding data hostage.
According to a recent survey from BigID, Cohesity, and Tenable:
- A staggering 93% of 3,400 IT and SecOps leaders believe that ransomware attacks have surged this year.
- 80% are concerned about their organization's ability to handle such cyber threats.
Furthermore, the second quarter of 2023 alone saw 1,378 organizations named as victims on ransomware data-leak websites, marking a 64% increase from the previous quarter.
The scope of such ransomware attacks is global. From small and medium-sized businesses to large corporations and spanning industries worldwide, no one is safe.
Given the gravity of these threats, a robust backup strategy is more than just an IT best practice; it's a business imperative.
In the following sections, you will find the best practices to create a foolproof ransomware backup strategy. So, you can safeguard your data using the extension and protect your business against the crippling effects of ransomware attacks.
As hinted, a ransomware attack encrypts all the files and folders on your system and makes them inaccessible. The attackers then demand a ransom, and once their needs are met, they will provide you with the decryption key.
A robust backup and recovery strategy is a game-changer when it comes to preventing ransomware attack scenarios. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, companies that have an effective backup and recovery plan in place are 70% less likely to pay a ransom. Having a backup means you will have a 'copy' of your data that you can use to restore the encrypted data without having to meet the demands of attackers. This will allow you to bypass the attacker's ransom demands.
For businesses, time is money — especially when your systems are down due to a ransomware attack. So, the backup solutions will allow you to recover data that is critical for business operations quickly and efficiently.
In fact, according to Datto's Ransomware Report, businesses with a solid backup strategy were able to recover operations in less than 24 hours. In comparison, it can take more than a week for businesses that are without backups to recover.
1. Review and Update Backup Policies
Your system backup is only as good as its scope. Make sure the backups are comprehensive and include all the critical data of your organization. A half-baked backup won't cut it when ransomware strikes — you must have backups of entire data to be able to restore all business functions.
Don't set and forget. Ensure to regularly audit your backup systems. For this, check all data locations, be it cloud or on-premises. Make sure nothing slips through during these audits.
2. Encrypt Backup Data
Encrypt your backups. It turns readable data into a jumble of characters. You'll need a secret key to make it readable again.
Don't fall short on security. It is best to use AES-256 for data at rest and SSL/TLS for data. These are the gold standards in encryption. Trusted and Cheap SSL Certificates are available in the market to fulfil your security requirements.
3. Use Immutable Storage
Immutable storage means your data can't be changed or deleted. It's a shield against accidental or malicious erasures.
Look for cloud providers that offer object locking or WORM (Write-Once-Read-Many) storage. It's another layer of protection.
4. Air Gap Business Data
Air gapping means disconnecting your backup from your main network. It's like putting your valuables in a safe, separate from your house.
5. Follow the 3-2-1 Rule
Always have three copies of your data. One is too risky, and two is not enough.
Use different media types for your backups. Think cloud storage and external hard drives.
6. Ensure Coverage
Your backup should cover every nook and cranny of your business data infrastructure. Leave no stone unturned.
7. Test the Backup Plan
Know how long it takes for your systems to get back up and running after a ransomware attack. This will allow you to plan and be proactive while backing if ever there is a need.
Not all data has the equal importance. Know which ones to restore first to minimize business impact.
By adhering to these best practices for creating a backup strategy, you're not merely bracing for the worst-case scenario; you're proactively avoiding it.
1. How can organizations ensure that their backup policies are updated in line with the latest ransomware threats?
As mentioned, you just cannot just set and forget. Ensure to regularly review and update your backup policies. This will allow you to be aware about the latest ransomware attacks and techniques and take measures to act against them in advance.
Conduct regular audits and penetration tests to identify vulnerabilities in the backup system.
2. How to balance the need for quick data recovery while ensuring security measures required for backup storage?
Balancing quick data recovery with security requires a multi-layered approach from organizations. You have to use encryption for both data at rest and in transit to ensure complete and foolproof security. At the same time, you should opt for backup solutions that offer quick recovery features like incremental backups or snapshot technology. But more important than anything, it is important to regularly test your backup and recovery processes.