Protecting Your Company’s Backup from Ransomware

Ransomware is one of today’s most pervasive, headline-grabbing digital threats. Despite a name that sounds as though it were crafted from the mind of an 80s sci-fi writer, ransomware is no joke. Halfway into 2021, it’s already become one of the most significant national security issues facing the United States.

Targeting everything from critical infrastructure, like the Colonial Pipeline fuel network, to hundreds of hospitals across the nation, ransomware is costing businesses of all sizes millions upon millions of dollars. By 2031, it’s believed that ransomware attacks will cost the world upwards of $265 billion annually.

The Importance of Backups

The devious nature of ransomware places its victims in a precarious situation: To retrieve information that’s being electronically held for ransom, organizations can either pay an exorbitant ransom fee or choose to say goodbye to the data stored on local devices.

That’s why backups are some of the most important tools for any business hoping to mitigate a potential ransomware attack. With data redundancies built into a company’s IT infrastructure, recovering from a ransomware attack can be as simple as rolling back the clock to retrieve mission-critical data.

But even though backups can help companies ravaged by ransomware attacks get back on track, they aren’t always a silver bullet. Not content with simply holding a company’s most current data and systems hostage, hackers have also begun targeting backups themselves.

How to Protect Your Backups

Safeguarding backups is essential to ensure that copies of crucial company data remain out of harm’s way. Here are six strategies to help prevent ransomware from reaching backups:

Establish a redundant backup process.

Backing up data isn’t a one-and-done task. To serve its purpose should a safe backup be required, organizations must backup information properly. Be sure to make multiple backups — at least three copies — to protect against backup device failures. And for an extra layer of protection, store each of the backups at different locations.

Keep at least one backup copy offline.

Even the most sophisticated ransomware can’t touch what it can’t find. That’s why, in the event of a ransomware attack, it’s crucial to have an air-gapped backup that isn’t connected to servers or other network devices. Because ransomware can target backups stored almost anywhere, a copy of the information that remains disconnected from the rest of a network can serve as a building block for restoring or rebuilding infected systems.

Avoid Windows-based backups.

Due to the ubiquity of Microsoft Windows, the operating system remains a popular ransomware target for bad actors. Whenever possible, keep backups stored on Linux-based servers that can’t be affected by standard Windows-based attacks.

Integrate anti-malware protection.

Backup servers should be equipped with anti-malware capabilities to ward off any potential ransomware attacks. Just as servers rely on added layers of protection for email, web browsing, and file sharing, anti-malware solutions for servers can detect ransomware attacks in progress.

Don’t rely exclusively on online backups.

Cloud syncing services like Dropbox offer convenient ways of sharing and backing up important files. Unfortunately, when cloud syncing services are connected to an infected device, ransomware-damaged file versions can also get synced back to the cloud, overwriting seemingly safe cloud versions.

Keep software and hardware up to date.

Before ransomware can even get the opportunity to reach a backup, ensure that software and devices are equipped to recognize and ward off potential threats. One of the easiest ways to stay vigilant is to apply software updates and install critical security patches as soon as they’re available. Because hackers often rely upon exploits that take advantage of outdated software, simply running an up-to-date system can serve as a strong security foundation.

DWD Technology Group understands the importance of fast, reliable, and safe data backup services. For a closer look at our comprehensive backup and recovery service options, contact our IT experts today for a free consultation!