Company IT teams must take active, purposeful steps to prepare for the inevitable, whether the attack is on a single machine or multiple IT assets. The secret to recovering from a ransomware breach or any other disaster lies in preparation. By looking at how the cloud can support better continuity planning, companies can make their recovery processes easier and more effective.
The importance of taking the right approach to data protection
Firstly, it’s important to understand how that preparation can provide better results for both IT and the business. While data held on servers is often protected in some shape or form, It’s how those servers are protected, and what systems they have in place that could create vulnerability gaps. For example, offsite data is usually always handled using tape backups that are removed to offsite storage. There’s a lot of overhead in that for business.
These off-site copies can be very useful in the event of a full site failure or major ransomware attack. If you need access to this data quickly, it could be days or weeks before you get access to it for recovery. Looking at the cloud for continuity can provide companies with the ability to meet faster recovery time objectives as virtual machines can be, within minutes, spun-up in the cloud, rather than having to be recovered to specific physical hardware or on-premises hypervisor platforms.
Using cloud for disaster recovery can help deal with the growing amount of remote data that companies are creating too. The rise in the number of branch office locations normally requires a dramatic shift in protection strategy, particularly where ransomware is concerned. Typically, approaches to DR and backup on multiple locations will depend on data replication to DR sites and install multiple backup appliances at each remote location and the data centre. Alternatively, IT teams can try using non-purpose built backup software that moves data over the wide area network (WAN), or use tapes to protect data on the servers themselves.
This is traditionally a specialised approach that focuses on ‘mission critical’ applications, due to the cost involved. However, ransomware attacks are not fussy and will encrypt huge amounts of critical and non-critical data — potentially infecting the site DR and backup servers themselves. Cloud offers a new model for companies to cope with these kinds of attacks by opening the doors to protect a broader range of applications at a much lower price point, while also providing data isolation from the primary attack vector.
Another problem here is that these approaches rely on people with the right IT skills being on-site to ensure that data is getting replicated properly. For most remote offices, these skills are simply not available. Tape backups can fail while using appliances adds additional hardware expense for each site. More importantly, each location would need to have these costs bought upfront. When ransomware leads to critical files or machines being unavailable for periods of time, the costs for recovery can be considerable.
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Improving data protection performance across multiple locations
Using the availability and flexibility offered by today’s mature cloud vendors can help businesses deal with ransomware. Deploying on Cloud removes the infrastructure burden associated with maintaining a second site, as well as opening up the ability to protect multiple workloads on the same platform. Here, the power of the public cloud for backup and DR can provide an on-demand solution for immediate spin-up and failover in case of disaster, regardless of what platforms are being protected.
Moving to the cloud instead can help improve the protection for each remote or branch office location, while also avoiding some of the costs that typically come with extending server protection further across the business. By using public cloud platforms, IT can ensure that each location’s IT assets are adequately protected while costs can be contained. Indeed, using cloud can help keep data protection costs in line with the amount of data that is created. By purchasing capacity on demand, rather than the traditional on-premise over-provisioning to meet future years’ estimated data volumes and associated service levels, costs can be managed more effectively.
For company IT teams thinking about how to protect the data on their servers against attacks like ransomware, the cloud can offer a better approach. As more data gets created in more places, protecting this data becomes critical over time. By using Cloud-based services, companies can improve their ability to meet their recovery time objectives and protect their operations against ransomware attacks.