In an age of increased ransomware attacks, data backups in conjunction with a comprehensive disaster recovery plan are the best defense. However, when ransomware attackers begin to target your backups, measures need to be taken to protect them. When cybercriminals encrypt an organization’s backups in order to usurp their control over them, it’s likely that the organization will pay the ransom out of desperation. Because of this, it’s important to be proactive and place protections on your backups. Let’s break down how to protect your business from ransomware attacks; especially your backups.
Be Aware of Ransomware Phishing Emails
Phishing emails are often a part of ransomware attacks, which play upon employees opening malicious email attachments from attackers. Because of this, employees must be educated about the dangers of phishing in order to reduce the potential consequences of human error. Instituting company-wide training in order to recognize phishing attempts is a method to lower the risk of an employee mistake in the event of a ransomware attack.
Keep Security Features Up-to-Date
The security features of business applications often protect organizations from malicious attacks. However, without updating these applications, the security features will not be operating optimally, therefore opening your organization up to attacks. By updating your business applications regularly, your business will be best equipped to prevent an attack.
When there is the potential for data loss, the importance of having copies of your data cannot be understated. By having multiple backups of your data both offline and off-site, you ensure that your data will remain in your possession, even in the event that a ransomware attack occurs. For additional data protection, encrypt your backups. This way, cybercriminals cannot access your copied data.
Protecting your backups is essential in the event of an attack, so let’s break down all the best ways to keep them safe from ransomware:
Monitor Your Backup Process
By having an acute awareness of your backup process, you’ll be able to detect warning signs of ransomware attacks. In monitoring your backup log, you will have the ability to observe indications that a data encryption program is present. For example, any incremental backups will be unusable as files are changed, and files that are encrypted will be unable to be deduplicated or compressed. This level of dedicated monitoring will allow you to determine what parts of the backup process are standard, and which are indications of a problem. When you can identify an attack early, you can act on it sooner, before much damage is caused.
Be Cautious When Using Network File Servers
While network file savers are constantly available and simple to use, they have very weak security when up against a ransomware attack. A large number of ransomware programs encrypt connected drives, meaning that the home directory of the target would be encrypted as well. In addition to this, any server running a widely used and vulnerable operating system could be infected, and every user’s data would also be encrypted as a result. If you choose to use a network file server, you must back up its data to a separate system continuously as a protective measure.
Regularly Test Your Recovery Process
If a backup cannot be restored in a dependable and timely manner, it is essentially useless to an organization in the event of a ransomware attack. A backup that does not restore quickly, or backs up the wrong data will not be sufficient in attempting to avoid paying a ransom. By performing daily or hourly backups, the window of data loss shrinks, giving your backups better protection.
Be Aware of Your Solution Options
The possibility of preventing the encryption of corporate backups if ransomware can directly access backup images is very slim. Putting in the effort to engineer a system that abstracts the backup data will make it more difficult for ransomware programs to encrypt data in the first place. To do this, you must detach your backups from your primary environment and be sure that the backup process doesn’t take place on a general purpose server and operating system. This tactic makes your backups harder to access and therefore less likely to be attacked.
Having a reliable backup process is imperative in protection against ransomware attacks. However, if these backups have no protection themselves, they’re at risk of an attack as well. Ransomware attacks can create problems for a business that can be so serious that they may not recover from them. For that reason, organizations must be prepared for the possibility that they will fall victim to an attack. To ensure a better level of protection against ransomware for your backups and your business overall, consider implementing these strategies.
Looking for more information on backup and disaster recovery solutions? Consider downloading our Backup and Disaster Recovery Buyer’s Guide! This free resource gives you the ability to compare the top 23 products available on the market with full page vendor profiles. The guide also offers five questions to ask yourself and five questions to ask your software provider before purchasing. It’s the best resource for anyone looking to find the right backup and disaster recovery solution for their organization. Additionally, consider consulting our Disaster Recovery as a Service Buyer’s Guide, as well as our new Data Protection Vendor Map, to assist you in selecting the right solution for your business.
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