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Is Your File Storage Ready For The Next Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware. It’s a top-of-mind topic in every organization today and rightfully so. Recent industry statistics back up the fear that everyone is feeling.  According to Watchguard, the first quarter of 2022 saw more ransomware attacks than in the entire year of 2021 and according to the latest 2022 Data Protection Trends report 76% of organizations suffered from a ransomware attack in 2021.  An average attack encrypts 47% of the victim’s data and the average cost of one of these breaches was $4.24 million! Why is this continually growing as an issue?

The slow attack

Ransomware used to be simpler. Unknowing recipients would click on a link in an email, and immediately everything on their network would get encrypted. Admins knew when the attack occurred and exactly from when they needed to restore data. Now, ransomware has become much more complex. Attackers can gain access to a network and sometimes wait weeks or even months before they decide to deploy their malware. The problem with this is that it can be challenging to know how far back you have to go to get a copy of your data before they have access to your system. 

Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) increases the threat of a slow attack. This tactic uses out-of-the-box ransomware tools sold via subscription services to affiliates who execute the attacks. These affiliates earn a percentage from each successful ransom payment as a result of an attack. These threats continue to evolve, driven by the potential money they can make. Once these human-operated attacks occur, the attackers can make calculated decisions informed by the data available to them due to their infiltration. This method allows them to use varied attack patterns designed to make the most of their attack on the system.

The Ransomware-as-a-Service model allows more criminals, without the expertise, to pull off a ransomware attack. RaaS lets them employ ransomware and then let someone else manage it.

So is there any hope in fighting against these attacks? One of the keys to providing ransomware protection is keeping clean copies of your data to ensure they are protected.

What you need to stop it

To stop ransomware, you need detection and remediation to detect the attack early and discover which files are affected. Ransomware detection uses automation and malware analysis to find malicious files. Remediation allows you to neutralize the attack and instantly roll back your files to a secure version.

Traditional distributed file system architectures are highly susceptible to ransomware attacks since the files are sitting on a share that is accessible to the network. Once launched, it becomes effortless for the attacker to know all file locations. One of the keys to protection is the need for cyber resilient file services that maintain an immutable copy of your files that you can use to restore them in case of an attack. According to Gartner, by 2025, 40% of enterprises will require their storage products to have integrated ransomware defense mechanisms.

To protect their files, organizations also need to consider backing up to the cloud to have both logical and physical separation, but that’s not enough. Backup and recovery tools are starting to support immutable backups in the cloud to have a safe, persistent copy. When looking at backup options, CIOs need to keep a sharp eye on hidden costs because oftentimes there are both storage and costs of data egress.

One method to help manage data more efficiently is to move your authoritative copy of the data from the edge to the cloud, and by doing so, improve your organization’s cyber resiliency and become less susceptible to ransomware attacks. Combining this with edge caching techniques allows you to meet performance requirements and control cloud egress cost, ensuring minimal retrieval of data from the cloud (especially when using a block level, compressed, globally de-duplicated transfer).

You need a cyber-resilient infrastructure

With the increasing number of ransomware attacks on corporate networks, it becomes imperative to build a cyber-resilient infrastructure. Traditional file storage devices are vulnerable to ransomware attacks and are easy targets for someone using Ransomware-as-a-Service. This is especially true as more data is generated out at the edge of networks.

To learn more and see a demo about how CTERA can help you combat ransomware, attend my webinar “5 Ways to Prevent Ransomware Attacks on Network File Shares” on August 16, 2022, at 11:00 am ET.  I will also be writing a follow-up to this blog to dig deeper into the solutions highlighted during the webinar. Stay tuned!

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