Backup Security: Protecting Business-Critical Assets from Ransomware

A litany of research reports cite the inevitability of cyber-attacks and the ongoing sleepless nights this reality can cause. For instance, it’s estimated that a ransomware attack occurs every two seconds – and these attacks are coming at major cost, both financially and mentally.

While ransomware and cyber-attacks top the list, they’re certainly not the only significant worrisome risks to critical data that compound the problem and that can cause IT leaders to lose sleep:

Disruptions and outages: According to Uptime Institute, around 75% of data centre operators report having experienced an IT service outage in the previous three years.1 A single hour of downtime can cost $300,000 or more for 91% of mid-sized enterprises and large enterprises, according to ITIC.2

Human error: While security issues are the biggest cause of outages and disruptions, human error is also a major issue, cited by 54% of respondents to the ITIC survey as being one of the top issues negatively impacting systems.

Talent gap: Even prior to the current recession woes, the IT skills gap was causing consternation. It’s estimated that by 2025, 50% of all workers3 will need reskilling to keep up with technological advances, and 87% of executives4 say they’re already facing skills gaps.

Creating a stronger data management strategy that’s rooted in resiliency – including an emphasis on backup strategy – can go far in helping teams tackle these persistent challenges.

Improving backup strategy

Just backing up your data isn’t enough. In fact, backups have become a major target for bad actors. The Veeam 2022 Ransomware Trends report5 found that backup repositories were targeted in 94% of attacks – and in 72% of incidents, the cyber criminals were at least partially successful. When an organisation’s recovery lifeline is at risk, it increases the likelihood that they’ll pay the ransom – and that’s what bad actors are banking on.

However, creating a stronger, better protected backup strategy is possible – and it’s much more complex than just storing a second copy of data.

Building ultra-resiliency with immutability

Key to data recovery is immutability. Immutable data storage can deliver the ability to store data in a way that can’t be modified, deleted or tampered – in any way. This not only protects your data against ransomware, but it also protects it from inadvertent or malicious human action. Today, it’s widely perceived as a must-have when it comes to combatting ransomware.

To truly protect mission-critical data, teams need to achieve ultra-resiliency, which describes air-gapped, immutable or offline copies of data. It’s highly resilient to have a copy of backup data that fits at least one of these criteria in case a ransomware attack occurs, and you need to recover data. A duplicate might possess more than one of these characteristics. Data is safeguarded from unsanctioned change or destruction – whether intentional or not – thanks to immutability, which is now widely recognised as being essential in the fight against ransomware.

Many object storage solutions today include support for immutability. Unlike file systems, an object storage solution divides information into distinctive, adjustable-size containers, and employs keys to get the information needed. The data is identified or referred to using that key – and the system retrieves your object on your behalf. And what’s perhaps most appealing is that object storage can store unstructured data at massive scale – petabytes and beyond.

While most conversations around the need for data immutability focus on ransomware, immutable object storage can also protect your data from inadvertent or purposeful deletions or overwrites.

Smarter data storage for better data security  

IT teams have their work cut out for them in today’s complex environment. Ransomware is a continuous and cruel reality, and these threats continue to grow in prevalence and sophistication. Backups have become a more tempting target for cyber criminals, and there is always the risk of human error. Keeping data safe has never been a bigger challenge. And on top of that, most IT teams are grappling with the ongoing challenge of having to do more with less – they must keep a growing amount of data stored securely and accessibly, but often with fewer people to tackle this.

There is an obvious need for more robust storage and data management, as the complexity of applications and the value of data are both rising because of digital transformation. Immutability can be used to create an ultra-resilient backup system that keeps your data secure while remaining easier to manage. With backup attacks on the rise, it’s not enough just to have them – you have to ensure they’re protected even if (or when) an attack occurs.

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Candida Valois is field CTO for Scality, a world leader in object and cloud storage. Candida is an IT specialist with 20+ years of IT experience in architecture, development of software, services, and sales for various industries. She is passionate about technology and delivering valuable solutions.

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