Everyone knows that data backup is imperative to running a successful business. Your data is the most important asset you have. Yet reports keep rolling in about ransomware attacks across the country. These reports we hear about aren't on small or mid-size businesses either. Big companies and government entities are getting hit at an alarming rate. Just two weeks ago, the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport had their computer systems go out, and for an entire week, the airport described the problem as a technical issue. Then, last Friday, Cleveland's mayor came forward and said that the system was hit by ransomware.
In March 2018, the City of Atlanta came to a screeching halt when it was hit by the SamSam ransomware attack. For five days, city applications were down and employees couldn't work from their work-issued computers, tablets and phones. It infected the ticketing systems of the local police and the software used to administer the courts. Overall, it is estimated that more than SIX MILLION PEOPLE who relied on the city for services were affected.
In January 2018, Hancock Regional Hospital fell victim to a ransomware attack and for two days, the hospital did all of their work on paper. No email, no networks...nothing.
This past Sunday, CBS's 60 Minutes told these stories in the most recent ransomware news story. With ransomware, you don't have a lot of choices when it comes to getting your data back. You either pay the ransom, which can be anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000 or more, OR you try to restart your system from the backup. In many of these cases, officials ended up paying the ransom to get the data back and systems running. In Atlanta's case, the price was much higher. Check out the video linked above!
So if cybercriminals are attacking sophisticated hospitals or government targets, it's a certainty that small and mid-sized businesses are getting it much worse. According to Datto's survey of more than 1,100 IT professionals, it was found that nearly 92% of managed service providers had clients suffer from ransomware attacks. The FBI found in the first three months of 2016, ransomware attacks cost their victims a total of $209 million, up from just $24 million for ALL OF 2015.
With all of these alarming statistics, it is critical that businesses employ a backup systems to protect their data. It's that simple - and not only should you utilize a backup system, but you should encrypt it as well. Here are four tips to help protect your backups against ransomware.
- Monitor your backup process and understand the information you get from it. The earlier your business finds a ransomware infection, the more likely it is that you can prevent significant damage to your data. Look for anomalies in your daily backup logs and investigate them quickly. This may limit the damage.
- Separate your backup from your normal operations. When you separate your backup from your general working systems, you are ensuring that your backups are hardened against attack. This will help to prevent ransomware from encrypting your backup data and taking out the one thing that may save you in a ransomware attack.
- Use care when utilizing network file servers or online sharing services. With the easy of use and "always available" nature of network file servers, they are a popular way to centralize data and make the backup process easy. But when ransomware gets to a network file server, its security weaknesses may end up encrypting your connected drives as well, and taking out home directories too, leaving all data encrypted by the ransomware. Companies should backup network file servers to a separate system or service and test the restore capability to make sure if ransomware strikes, backups can be initiated.
- Consistently test your backup processes. At the end of the day, you can backup all of the data you have all the time, but if you can't access it quickly and count on the backup, it is essentially useless. Make sure you're doing backups on a frequent basis so data loss can be minimized if a ransomware attack happens. And ALWAYS be testing your backup to make sure you're getting out of it what you will need in a disaster.
With data breaches happening so often, businesses have to work to protect their valuable data. Being proactive and having a good backup program that is tested and proven to work is the best defense if ransomware strikes. Fraser offers several data backup solutions that can set your business up for protection. Contact us to learn how Fraser can help keep your valuable data safe.