Ransomware – 3 Ways to Ensure Your Backup Strategy is Effective


Data protection is something that businesses of all sizes are increasingly aware of. In an age of social media, sensationalist headlines and virality, it doesn’t take long to find the latest stories on cyber-criminals, state sponsored attacks or mass data breaches. And whilst most businesses won’t fall victim to a state sponsored attack, almost all businesses are a potential target for the savvy cyber-criminal armed with ever-evolving malware and ransomware strains.

What is ransomware? 

Ransomware is type of malicious software, otherwise known as malware, that infects a computer, network or data. The host machine will most commonly have its data encrypted and held hostage, with the cyber-attackers demanding a ransom be paid, with the promise that data will then be returned. 

However, as malware and ransomware strains have evolved, some strains will permanently delete data from systems, or even target network-attached backups to prevent a recovery from taking place. Ransoms are often demanded in crypto-currency making them near impossible to track. 

How to ensure your backup strategy is effective against ransomware

  1. Ensure you’re backing up the right data

This may seem like a simple step in the right direction, but it is central to business continuity and the ability to recover if a ransomware infection takes hold. 

In a 2017 data breach the company Gitlab failed to recover data despite having 5 separate backup instances in place. All of the solutions in place had either been improperly implemented and where untested or where not protecting the right data.

As budgetary concerns may require some businesses to carefully consider what data they protect, it is true that backing up the right data may not always mean backing up all data.

However, only protecting a sub-section of data and systems may leave other areas of the organisation critically vulnerable. 

It is vital to consider how you will react in the event of a ransomware infection, aspects such as being able to contact customers or suppliers must be accounted for.

  1. Test the ability to recover from a backup and access data in a timely manner 

Backing up and protecting data is only the first step in a process of being able to access data and systems in the event that data is infected with ransomware. 

As well as ensuring that there is an airgap between your backup data and live network, it is vital to ensure that data can be recovered in an emergency. 

Whether managing backups internally or utilising a third-party or service provider, scheduling regular restore tests could be the difference in successfully recovering after a ransomware attack or losing all data. 

Speed of restore is also something that should be tested as part of a recovery. If data can be recovered but it takes days or even weeks, is that an acceptable recovery time to the organisation and importantly your customers? 

  1. Take a pro-active approach to identifying malware within your data 

Unfortunately, there is no single way to guarantee that your business will not face a ransomware infection at some point. 

In a 2020 data security report, Sophos reported that up to 48% of UK businesses had fallen victim to some strain of ransomware in the previous 12-months. Of those who were able to recover their data, 56% utilised a successful backup as apposed to 26% who paid the ransom, something which the National Cyber Security Centre advises against. 

This stresses the importance of having a clean backup to recover from. But, as cyber-criminals make their attacks harder to track, IBM Security and Ponemon Institute have stated that the average time taken for an organisation to detect a data breach is now 206 days. 

With ClearYolk you can actively scan you backup data to detect any malicious files, enabling rapid detection and removal of malicious files, by utilising machine-learning. 

This method of malware detection takes a proactive approach to ensuring data is clean, in line with the recommended ‘defence in depth’ approach that the NCSC advise. 

Ensure your backup strategy with ClearYolk 

At ClearYolk we simplify data protection so you can focus on growing your business and we’re no different when it comes to protecting your data against the threats of ransomware and malware. 

Our intuitive backup and recovery solution enables you to instantly protect your most valuable data, with a simple pricing model that grows and shrinks as your data does. 

With built-in encryption, air-gapped backups and a proactive approach to identifying and removing malicious files from your data, you can be safe in the knowledge that your data is safe with us. 

Speak to one of our experts today to find out more. 

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