Ransomware Attacks: How to Defend Your Data

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Click to learn more about author George Williams.

Ransomware attacks are a common occurrence in the news nowadays. Baltimore city, Atlanta, Florida Lake city are some of the recent victims of disruptive ransomware attacks. In other news, QNAP and Synology NAS users are being targeted by ransomware attacks too.

Whether you’re a professional working at a company, or an IT administrator managing workstations and servers, or a business owner, ransomware has become a concern for you.

Consequently, ransomware protection has become all the more important.

So how do you defend against ransomware attacks? To answer this question, you must first understand how ransomware works.

How Ransomware Attacks Work?

Ransomware finds a way into your personal computer, office computer, workstation or server, and encrypts all of your data.

How does it find a way? Through numerous means. Examples include phishing emails, infection via attached network, brute password attacks, etc.

Once encrypted, the ransomware typically specifies a time and ransom for the data. After which, they threaten the data owner with permanent deletion. Usually, the method of payment is cryptocurrency.

Even when the ransom is paid, there’s no guarantee that the data owner will get their data. Or the ransomware programmer won’t copy the data and sell it for profit; this of course, depends on the type of data being encrypted.

There’s also the possibility that the ransomware attack actually deleted the data and pretended that it could be recovered. Such ransomware are also called wipers. They wipe out the data, ask for ransom, and even when they’re paid, they just collect the money and disappear.

Now that we have a brief idea of how ransomware attacks work, let’s look at the defensive measures against ransomware attacks.

Three Reliable Ways to Fend-off Ransomware Attacks

There are several ways to protect mission-critical data from ransomware attacks. However, we’ll be discussing three of the most reliable ways to do so.

#1: 3-2-1 Data Protection Rule

The 3-2-1 data protection rule is a simple one and is advised for businesses of all sizes: SMBs, SMEs and large enterprises.

What is the 3-2-1 rule?

It requires data owners to always have three copies of data, with two copies on different storage media, and one copy in an offsite location.

How can a data owner deploy the 3-2-1 rule? There are multiple ways to do so.

For example, a hybrid storage appliance can create redundant copies on-premises and in the cloud. Similarly, users can also create one copy on-premises and deploy a multi-cloud environment for additional copies in the cloud.

To learn more about the 3-2-1 rule, click here.

#2: Backup & Disaster Recovery Appliances

If you have setup backup and disaster recovery appliances using enterprise backup software, such Veeam or Acronis, then ransomware attacks won’t be problem for your business.

Purpose-built enterprise backup solutions offer several data services and features that make sure your data is secure, available, and recoverable. Examples of desirable backup software features include replication, granular backup and recovery, instant Virtual Machine (VM) spin up, direct spin up in Azure, volume encryption, delta-based snapshots, etc.

When choosing a backup and DR vendor, always make sure that your chosen vendor has the expertise, they’ve already dealt with your kind of business, and they have the team that can guide you through the process when you need them to.

In other words, always choose the vendor with experience and the right tools.

#3: Take System Snapshots Regularly

Snapshots enable you to go back in time before the data loss, data corruption, or ransomware attack and restore the previous state of your workstation, computer, server, infrastructure, etc.

This ability makes snapshots a necessary feature to have in your storage, backup and disaster recovery, and archiving solutions. Image-based snapshots provides you the last wild card. The card that you can use when all else fails.

Therefore, it’s very important to have because it provides you an option.

Otherwise, you’re left with only two options:

  1. Pay the ransom, lose a lot of money, and still risk losing all your data. (Security experts and security agencies advise against this)
  2. Endure data loss and still lose a lot of money and put your reputation at stake.

Conclusion

Ransomware attacks have become common and if businesses want to stay safe and continue operating, then they need to prepare.

By leveraging the 3-2-1 rule, or backup and disaster recovery solutions, or at least relying on snapshot technology (snapshot does not equate backups), businesses have a way to recover from ransomware attacks.

The proper way to do it is to analyze all business data, devise a plan, train your employees, and purchase adequate data protection solutions that can do the job.

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