The effects of ransomware on the business landscape include data loss, regulatory fines and reputation damage—to name a few. When such an attack happens, victims have one of two choices: 1) pay the ransom and hope the cybercriminal unlocks your data or 2) replace the infected data with clean copies. The problem with option 1 is that is encourages the criminal enterprise to persist.
The increase in cyber breaches year over year has for good reason made company leadership uneasy. Under pressure to secure internal operations and supply chains, the very make-up of IT has shifted. Companies are recognizing the similarities between cybersecurity incident response and IT disaster recovery preparedness: both emphasize fast response to return operations, attention to data preservation, etc. For this reason, these two professional groups are being asked to collaborate more and more to achieve comprehensive business continuity.
Market competitiveness depends upon digital accessibility, so shutting IT systems off from the exterior world isn’t an option. But what can organizations be doing to protect their critical assets against threats of ransomware attacks? Here are a few quick tips to strengthen your overall IT stance and reassure stakeholders of your ability to recover from ransomware using Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).
1Approach Ransomware Threats with a Holistic Perspective
Indeed, cybersecurity incidents of any sort demand a holistic approach for reliable protection and recovery. No solution will ever be 100% effective in stopping breaches or data exposure, especially since personnel may invite attacks unwittingly, so establishing a balanced attention with a focus on both preventative AND restorative measures is the best way to protect your business with efficiency.
A strong IT disaster recovery (DR) strategy, the biggest component of the restorative side of the equation, can make or break a company’s ability to recover from a catastrophic event, and a cybersecurity breach like ransomware is no different. Every second can mean lost revenue, so ransomware mitigation demands fast attention and precise action, not days or weeks of inaction. This is where Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) shines above traditional DR approaches like retrieving physical tape backups from a vault somewhere. Leveraging the newest in DR innovations, DRaaS focuses around solving issues of data loss and downtime, using a cloud or hosted environment to failover IT operations into a secured location, so business can continue as normal while IT experts assess the infected systems to resolve the cyber incident with the comprehensive attention needed. When your team is ready, simply wipe the infected area clean and restore full operations to normal again.
2Use DRaaS to Help Establish a Data Protection Strategy for the Long Term
Having a strong data protection strategy is the cornerstone of effective mitigation for ransomware, since this type of breach targets data. And because a cyber incident has many of the same repercussions as a disaster event, it’s also key to have a strong DR strategy. DRaaS takes traditional DR to a new level with in-cloud and to-cloud capabilities that are both inclusive of budget needs and robust performance during an event to accomplish service level agreements (SLAs) on time and with accuracy. With varied levels of replication and storage options to choose from, IT teams can stretch their budgets as needed to achieve full coverage for their datasets by organizing all applications into tiers of recovery attention. DRaaS solves for both fast uptime after an event and preventing data loss—which satisfies the priorities of many business stakeholders.
When it comes to a ransomware attack, the recovery point objective (RPO) makes all the difference, since it represents the extent of data loss a company undergoes in order to avoid paying the cybercriminal. DRaaS allows companies to leverage the most granularity, down to seconds and minutes before the ransomware attack occurred, which means that an IT team can find and replace the infection with near-zero data loss. Altogether, this makes DRaaS a lifesaver for many businesses.
3Verify the Data Protection Plan and Make Improvements
Once you have a robust data protection plan established for your business, be sure to test it. It seems pretty straightforward, but you’d be surprised how many companies don’t verify their stance. With DRaaS, you should have a runbook to document how to recover IT systems after an event, which should include a ransomware attack. If testing is a difficult area for your IT team, this is an area where the DRaaS provider could help, sometimes testing the plan entirely on your behalf.
The goal of any DR scenario during testing—and indeed during a real event—is getting the entire workforce returned to normal. But simply retrieving data copies and deploying them isn’t sufficient, since in a ransomware scenario companies may need to launch operations in a failed-over environment to preserve the infected systems for forensic evidence. The cloud has made continued operations during such a period a possibility.
Here are three steps to recover from ransomware using DRaaS:
- Refer to your DRaaS plan and contact your experts (insurance provider, DRaaS provider, etc.)
- Pause and decide the extent of recovery you’ll do (full failover, partial failover, recovery of a single application, etc.)
- Execute your recovery process (follow your DR runbook; keep key parties informed of progress)
The Future of Cybersecurity Preparedness
As we look to the future of modern business, no doubt there will continue to be major IT disruptions as a result of cybercriminal activity. DRaaS can act as a mitigation strategy not just for ransomware attacks but can assist in other types of cybersecurity events as well, protecting copies of critical assets for use when needed. If you have questions about DRaaS and the role it can play in recovering from a ransomware breach, perhaps consult with a DRaaS provider for their input. As stated earlier, the starting point toward a better IT stance should begin with taking a holistic approach to cybersecurity. A DRaaS plan empowers your IT team in the realm of data protection. By having a strong plan to recover in the aftermath of an event, you can elevate the principles for continuity that DRaaS encourages to match with larger business goals for the long-term, thereby strengthening business viability for the future.