What is Ransomware?
Before we dive into the details, let’s discuss what ransomware actually is. A cyber criminal gains unauthorized access to your data or network and encrypts all your data residing over it. Now, this data is completely useless for you as it no longer makes any sense.
To give back access to your very own data, the attacker will demand a ransom amount. In exchange for the ransom, the attacker will issue decryption keys which you will use to “possibly” restore your data.
Here is the most ironic part of any ransomware attack, even after paying the ransom, you are still never fully certain of restoring your data without losing its integrity. If you engage a third party to restore your data, you risk losing the chance of recovering it altogether.
In January of 2017, the Cockrell Hill Police Department in Texas announced they lost 8 years of data, including evidence for current and ongoing investigations. Even with backup systems in place, they still could not recover the data as the backup also was corrupted by the ransomware.
As ransomware continues to evolve and wreak havoc, if businesses do not modify their backup and recovery strategy, this story will become even more prevalent. Recently, a survey found that 81% of ransomware victims were confident they could restore their data completely in the event of a ransomware attack, but only 42% were actually successful in doing so.
Scott Petry, co-founder and CEO of Authentic 8 said this to CSO: “If an encrypted file is backed up as part of the backup process it could re-encrypt the environment once the files are restored. This could get a user in a loop of continual backup-restore-encrypt. Any backup process should be implemented alongside malware scanning in order to identify these exploits before backing up or restoring.”
The good news is there is something that you can do in your efforts to protect your business from ransomware attacks.
4 Types of Data Storage Solutions
External hard drives
Inexpensive and easy to use, external hard drives are one option, especially for small and medium businesses (SMBs) who have a relatively small amount of data and endpoints. But there are disadvantages.
External hard drives are inefficient when you are talking about enterprise solutions, and they can fail, become lost or even stolen. Additionally, in the case of ransomware, an external hard drive that is attached to the system when the attack is launched is also infected. While the technology is a good, basic single user system, it is not the end-all, be-all of a sound backup strategy.
The epitome of portable storage devices are beyond doubt flash drives. But because there are no moving parts in flash drives, the chances of mechanical failure are significantly reduced. Flash storage arrays are also less sensitive to environmental factors, including temperature and moisture levels, meaning that data centers can widen their environmental control settings.
Wikipedia defines Network Attached Storage (NAS) as “a file-level computer data storage server connected to a computer network providing data access to a heterogeneous (non uniform) group of clients.” As NAS is confined to a local network environment, and ransomware (like Wannacry) that specifically scans the network of the infected system for additional devices on that network, NAS systems are particularly vulnerable.
Remote, online storage
The fourth type of backup involves an online cloud backup solution. This type of backup is your best line of defense against ransomware…as businesses won’t pay the ransom for their data if they can easily restore the files with a clean backup.
Cloud storage involves de-duplicated files – and items that are stored in these de-duplicated files cannot be overwritten. On top of this, cloud service providers (CSP) like dinCloud have worked to gain multiple compliance regulations to protect your valuable enterprise data.
The global data centers of dinCloud comply with HIPAA, ISO 27001, NIST 800-53/FI, PCI DSS, SOC Type I and II, SS 507, SS 567 and TVRA. These are some of the best international standards for privacy and security of your data.
Mitigate your Ransomware Risk with Nutanix Replication
As you can see from the points above, you need more than one type of backup. You might think you are covered but in the cases of ransomware, it can often affect streaming backups and infrastructures that are on the same network.
Ransomware developers are continually modifying the software to find new and creative ways to gain access to your data and prevent you from restoring it without paying their ransom. Additionally, ransomware may actually be covering up other attacks to your system.
CEO of Strategic Cyber Ventures, Tom Kellermann, told CSO Online, “Advanced hackers are using ransomware as a secondary infection or to counter incident response.” The same CSO Online article even found that hackers may try to hijack corporate communications and/or website to help spread the ransomware even further.
Despite the very real threat of hackers and ransomware, there is a solution. Business Continuity and replication through an off-site cloud service provider (CSP) like dinCloud. Let’s briefly discuss how this is actually achieved.
dinCloud has a highly connected network of data centers. When you avail our cloud services, we offer you regular backups of your data built into the service. These backups of your data are maintained at physically dispersed locations.
Secondly, before backing up your data, dinCloud vets the data through multiple tools that are capable of detecting malware and ransomware. The backup of your data is taken only after it has been scanned and cleansed of any malicious cyber element.
With a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) like dinCloud, all your enterprise data is converged in our data centers. None of this data actually resides over employee’s endpoint devices. Therefore, even if an employee’s device is infected, it will not spill over to your enterprise data.
According to Wikipedia, replication is the continuous copying of data changes from one server to another. With this in place, you can rest assured that your data is safe in the event of a ransomware attack.
Backups can be set for different times on different servers. Since this backup is not overwritten by a new backup, if the ransomware manages to hit your system prior to the next scheduled backup, the previous backup will remain untouched, giving you an edge in the event of an attack.
Even in the event of a ransomware attack, you can’t afford to allow your business to go offline for the shortest possible time. Secondly, negotiating with the perpetrator of the attack and paying ransom is also a very painful option.
At dinCloud, the biggest advantage you get is that we are capable of restoring your data in the minimal possible time. This relieves you both from the agony of paying ransom and facing embarrassment at the hands of your valuable clients.
dinCloud – Security is our Middle Name
dinCloud was founded on the belief that all businesses should have access to secure, reliable cloud services such as remote virtual desktops (dinHVD) and Business Continuity (BC) / Disaster Recovery (DR), but without the accompanying high price tag.
We believe in transparency in our pricing model and helping your business to better forecast your cloud needs. With the recent move of our infrastructure to Nutanix’s Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI), this gives dinCloud users a clear strategic advantage.
Benefits of running dinCloud DaaS on Nutanix Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)
With the Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) of Nutanix, dinCloud will provide unprecedented performance and reliability along with these benefits:-
- Ability to keep a remote copy of Virtual Machines (VMs) on a different data center location than where your data is stored.
- Disaster Recovery (DR) capability over on-premise or 3rd party Nutanix HCIs.
- DR Capability to one of dinCloud’s global datacenters.
- Ensure business continuity (BC) by spinning up VMs on a remote datacenter running Nutanix HCI.
- Speedy recovery of data in case of data corruption, cyber attack or some other disruptive event.
- Quickly and painlessly recover from ransomware attacks in minutes by walking backward in time, booting up prior recovery points of your protected virtual desktops and virtual servers on Nutanix in a matter of minutes or few hours at the most.
- Virtual Machine (VM) level snapshots allow the administrator to save countless hours as compared to traditional approaches in which the backups are very distant.
Because the dinCloud platform is natively built into the Nutanix platform, existing customers relying on Nutanix infrastructure won’t need to install any additional products within their infrastructure to protect their cloud environments.
Your IT team will thus be equipped to quickly and effectively manage your environment beyond the traditional datacenter confines, and will retain full control over which VMs will be backed up, when they will be backed up, and how frequently the backups will be taken.
The sophistication of ransomware will only grow, but with a good backup strategy that includes both internal and external servers, the risks to your business and data are reduced. Your days of having to negotiate with cyber criminals are over.
You are welcome to Contact Us and learn more on how you can secure your data with dinCloud’s DaaS solutions that come bundled with robust business continuity (BC), Disaster Recovery (DR) and replication mechanisms.