Data Backup: How to Minimize the Impact of Ransomware

Posted on Oct 30, 2019 11:00:00 AM

As a small to medium-sized business owner, you are probably told on a frequent basis that it’s important to backup your company’s data as part of your IT strategy. Some companies do it, others don’t.

However, has your organization ever thought about the consequences that a ransomware attack could have on your business?

According to research from Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime will cost the world in excess of $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015. Meanwhile, data collated by Wikipedia, estimates that the average cost of one single data breach will be over $150 million by 2020.

It is also estimated that in the first half of 2018 alone, about 4.5 billion records were exposed as a result of data breaches.

Backups are an essential part of any ransomware disaster recovery plan. That’s something that the city of Baltimore certainly found out the hard way earlier this year.

After being hit by a ransomware attack in May of this year, criminals used remodeled and rebranded NSA exploits to knock out a "majority" of the city's servers and crippled many of its applications.

The City of Baltimore refused to pay the $76,000 ransom that the attackers demanded. This was a mistake. Since the IT department had not backed up the city’s data, the city of Baltimore lost key data during the ransomware attack.

The city’s current estimate is that it will cost $18 million to recover the data, making the $76,000 ransom seem like a bargain.

It’s not just government agencies that are affected by ransomware attacks. This situation shows just how important it is for your company to backup the massive amount of data that you collect, create and retain on a regular basis.

But what is a ransomware attack, how does backing up your data protect you and how can you do it? OT Group answers your questions here.

What is ransomware and how does it work?

While ransomware technology is anything but simple. The concept of ransomware is actually very straightforward. Ransomware is simply a well-known form of malicious software in which a criminal locks and encrypts a victim’s computer and then demands a ransom to restore access.

In most cases, the victim is given a time limit in which they must pay the ransom. If they don’t, the data is lost forever. If they do pay the ransom, then they are given a decryption key that allows them to decrypt and access the files.

However, since it’s criminals you would be dealing with, there’s no guarantee that paying the ransom would even restore your access to the files.

Ransomware can be spread through suspicious attachments and files, but even if you’re careful it can still spread from someone else’s computer to yours over a shared network.

How does backing up your data protect you against ransomware?

There’s a variety of methods you can take to protect your company’s data against ransomware, such as installing security software and being cautious about the files you open, but there’s none as important as backing up your data.

Attackers gain leverage over their victims by encrypting their data and making it inaccessible, but if your organization has backup copies of the data then your ransomware attacker no longer has the upperhand.

Backup files allow you to restore your important data, after the ransomware issue has been fixed. It’s important, however, that you stay up to date with backing up your data. Many organizations forget to backup new data, don’t test their backups or put their backups on network drives that can be easily found and encrypted by ransomware.

This is particularly important for teams working remotely, where networks can be exposed more easily to cybercrime.

How can OT Group help?

To ensure you are backing up your data properly, it’s important that employees are following organizational policies, you have a robust backup system in place, and that you know exactly how your ransomware disaster recovery plan works. However, this can be a complex procedure.

That’s why many small to medium-sized businesses outsource their ransomware disaster recovery plans to an expert. OT Group is able to provide comprehensive risk assessments that protect your company’s data, as well as create short, medium and long-term business continuity plans.

Are you looking for more information about how we can protect your business from the threat of ransomware with a data backup plan? Contact our team of experts today.

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Topics: Technology Trends