There are both pros and cons to the speed at which technology moves. While it provides increased employee productivity and fewer barriers to new business opportunities, the ever-increasing complexity of modern IT environments means safeguarding business-critical data becomes equally tricky.

Today, ransomware is one of the biggest cybersecurity threats impacting business and personal data. The volume of attacks is significant and may take various forms, presenting unique challenges to IT staff tasked with defending against them. Understanding what data is at risk during a ransomware attack is the first and most critical step to preventing a large-scale disruption.

Businesses and their IT departments need easy, secure tools to get the most out of their data while keeping it safe as data volumes, infrastructure, and online threats continue to grow.

How do you prepare? Let’s take a look.

1. Clean, reliable backup

You may be able to restore your system without paying the ransom if you have a clean, reliable copy of your data. This has been an immensely effective strategy in the past. Still, the landscape has dramatically changed, as new ransomware strains specifically target backup agents, software, and files to deny users access to them. 

Attackers increasingly use endpoints to enter primary environments and access backups before compromising production environments. Creating a multi-layered defense is necessary to protect your backups from ransomware attacks. And, access to backups must be simple, quick, and easy.

2. Immutable snapshots

Legacy backups are no longer sufficient. Enter snapshots. As the name implies, snapshots provide a quick “picture” of a server (including its files, software and settings) at a particular point in time. Generally, snapshots are instant and preserve a point-in-time state without moving or copying existing data at all. For this reason, most modern backup approaches go hand-in-hand with snapshot technology to provide a stable, unchanging point-in-time image with which to do a backup. 

Immutable snapshots change your posture against ransomware and malware because they are fundamentally resistant to attacks. Instead of defending or protecting, they reduce the impact and spread of an attack by not being affected by it in the first place. Like the “write once read many” (WORM) method of data storage in which information, once written, cannot be modified. 

3. Replication

Virtualization can offer seamless replication, but many organizations don’t properly back up their virtual machines. According to a Veeam survey, 68% of organizations needed to fully recover an application or VM due to an outage in the past year, but nearly half of the organizations protect less than half of their VMs with a recovery plan, and almost a quarter of them back up less than half of their virtual environment each day.

Some replication technologies may be susceptible to man-in-the-middle (MIM) cyberattacks. In cyber defense, multi-tiering your replication procedures is an excellent idea: built-in, encrypted at the cluster level, but also covered through third-party integrations where this is done simultaneously. 

4. Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)

Hyperconvergence is an innovative way to simplify your IT operations and is more effective at protecting data than traditional systems. HCI pools resources into an infrastructure that can be managed with cloud-like ease for the entire stack (hypervisor, storage, etc.). Virtualization software turns many high-performing processors into multiple virtual machines with their own virtual processors, thus allowing each OS to run its own set of programs independent of other OS running on other processors. 

A properly architected HCI solution radically reduces the attack surface by doing things like eliminating storage protocols, and not simply virtualizing SANs. Storage protocol-based attacks simply won’t work with HCI infrastructure.

5. Security through integration

A patchwork of security tools also makes managing security more challenging and less effective. Data protection and cybersecurity must be combined to protect data, systems, and applications from the risk of cyberattacks.

Providing continuous measurement and protection for recoverability requires integrated tools to deliver active protection, anomaly detection, immutable storage, air-gapping, and multifactor authentication controls. The objective is to expose and remedy problems, validate the recoverability of the data and business applications, and improve security to reduce business risk with seamless protection. 

And a security solution is only viable if it is resilient.

In closing…

It’s impossible for an organization to completely prevent a ransomware attack. But, organizations can mitigate the most negative effects of a ransomware attack by improving their storage and data recovery systems in advance.  

Ransomware can sit dormant for weeks, if not months. It’s time to do things differently. 

There’s no need to wait days or weeks to recover and get your business back up and running. Choose a partner that ensures your organization’s cyber defenses are working smarter, not harder.If business continuity and ransomware protection are important to you, download the full ebook to show you how simple and affordable it can be with Scale Computing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kris Schulze

Kris Schulze is director of product marketing at Scale Computing. A writer and marketing professional, she has published pieces on a wide variety of topics on B2B technology, including disaster recovery, data privacy, ransomware, and HCI.

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