How to Beat Ransomware at Its Own Game with Virtiant
by Virtiant Team, on Jun 1, 2018 9:18:00 AM
Read Time: 3 Minutes
In the modern digital age, holding your data hostage in a world where time is money is proving to be too lucrative. Ransomware has become all the rage in the world of cybercrime these days. This most likely stems from a series of successful high profile attacks that occurred worldwide in 2017.
Another factor that makes ransomware so popular is that it is a relatively simple form of cyber-attack. Its ability to break through perimeter defenses and put a death grip on a company’s data makes it a highly effective and almost instantaneously profitable approach.
As cybercriminals look to expand on this recent success, they will most likely look to the cloud as it presents a target-rich environment. The primary reason for this is that the amount of valuable data that has migrated to the cloud in recent years is mind-boggling.
Cybercriminals will continue to push the envelope in 2018 and 2019 when it comes to devising new schemes to kidnap your data. It is a prize far too tempting for the hacker community to ignore. This leaves you only two options: pay the ransom or beat ransomware at its own game.
Why some companies choose to pay
For many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the only option has been to pay the ransom. In fact, many small companies have begun to stockpile bitcoin as a hedge against the inevitable ransomware attack as most ransomware hackers request payment in the form of bitcoin to untraceable accounts.
While just paying the ransom may seem like the least expensive approach to get a business back up and running, it has some major drawbacks.
For starters, there is no guarantee that paying the ransom will actually unlock your data. Keep in mind that you are dealing with a criminal element and they are, by their very nature, unreliable and untrustworthy. Several companies have ponied up the payment only to find that the mathematical key they are given does not unlock their data. Yet others find that their data is now corrupted and no longer recoverable let alone useful.
Another major drawback is that as more companies choose to just pay the ransom it incentivizes cybercriminals to ramp up their attacks. The more businesses small and large that choose to just give in and pay, the more hackers will jump into the fray to get their piece of the bitcoin pie.
What are the other costs associated with Ransomware?
SMBs are also discovering that the ransom is not the only cost of ransomware. There are a number of other costs that can be felt both directly and indirectly including:
- Costs associated with downtime
- Missed revenue opportunities and rework due to lost productivity
- Time and materials to restore hostage data and disinfect corrupted systems
- Time and materials spent closing the security breach
- Costs to train employees as a direct response to successfully overcoming ransomware attacks
Cumulatively, the cost of successful ransomware attacks reached nearly $5 billion dollars in 2017. Even scarier, the estimates for 2019 are that the damages can reach $11.5 billion dollars. This more than doubles the number of costs associated with this form of cyber-attack in just two years.
As if this isn’t bad enough, predictions are that the volume of ransomware attacks in 2019 will increase to one attack every 14 seconds. Most SMBs do not have the resources, budgets or capabilities to withstand that type of onslaught. Hence the decision of many to just pay the ransom.
The good news is that there is a better and more cost effective way to take the fight to ransomware.
How can SMBs beat ransomware at their own game?
The first step in defeating ransomware is to fully protect your data. This is best accomplished with through a combination of data protection, high availability and disaster recovery technologies.
The basic premise of ransomware is that it takes your data hostage between backups. This means that every change in data since your last backup is at risk. For many SMBs, this period of time can be several hours to several days.
With a data protection solution, your data is essentially backed up and replicated incrementally as your users make changes. This has two significant strategic advantages in the war on ransomware.
Advantage 1: It leaves no open window for a ransomware attack. There is never a large delta in your data that is at risk. In fact, with a true data protection solution from Virtiant, there is always a pre-infected version to run and restore from.
Advantage 2: You can restore your data from a given point in time. You are no longer limited to restoring massive backups of day old, or perhaps week old data. You can get back to an exact point just prior to any successful ransomware invasion.
What about Availability and Recovery with Data Protection?
Data Protection is just one part of your two-pronged attack on ransomware. Now that you have protected your data, you can shift your focus to keeping your production system online in the event of a breach. This is where High Availability and Recovery come into play.
Besides the ransom, downtime is the most expensive aspect associated with successful cyber-attacks. The damages begin to accrue at a rate of thousands of dollars per hour in lost revenue and operational expenses. With this in mind, it is imperative that you are able to keep your production system available while you diagnose and reconfigure infected systems and data. When your production environment has been disinfected, simply hot migrate back from Virtiant with incremental data changes intact in the final point of recovery so you no longer have to worry about RTO.
With most Backup and Disaster Recovery Solutions, recovery from a ransomware attack requires stopping production systems, recovering data, rebooting components, and testing functionality before your primary systems are able to come back online. Most of these DR solutions also require that some portion of your production system is up and running in order to facilitate recovery. This is less than ideal if your entire environment has already been compromised, you simply don’t know which component of your infrastructure has been compromised.
With the industry’s first single stack Software-Defined Disaster Recovery (SDDR) solution from Virtiant, SMBs can eliminate the need to succumb to your data being held hostage. You can also continue to run your production environment as before to keep end users productive during planned or unplanned disruptions. This solution also allows IT teams to implement measures to secure the primary production environment from further attacks. You will no longer have to fear ransomware.
At Virtiant, our defining purpose is to solve the biggest problems with disaster recovery and provide accessible solutions that will help IT teams protect virtual machines, increase data efficiency and reduce cost & complexity.
Contact Virtiant today, and let us help you beat ransomware at its own game.