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Keep Your Backups Protected Against Ransomware

The FBI reported that, in the first three months of 2016, more than $209 million in ransomware payments have been made in the United States alone. That’s an enormous figure, one that’s even more shocking when you consider that cost was just $25 million for the entire year.

It’s safe to say that ransomware is on the rise. It’s up to organisations to protect themselves against it – and they’re obviously not. Considering that most enterprises know the importance of backups, why are so many of them succumbing to ransomware?

There’s a variety of reasons for that. First, it could be down to a dodgy backup plan. Some might not have all their files included in that backup, don’t run them often enough, or don’t have enough redundancy built in.

Others don’t properly test their backups. When they discover the ransomware on their source system, they then find it’s already been lingering in their backups for a long time. If they only take a limited number of backups, it could mean that entire data set is ruined.

Finally, some will put their backups on drives that are connected to their main network. This is no good. Ransomware can infect the entire network, working its way through the source and into the backups. Your backups need to be disconnected from the main network.

Ransomware can sometimes target more than just data. If designed, it’ll also target computer systems. This has often happened to hospitals who are running outdated and under supported software. Their lack of funds means they don’t have the ability to upgrade, which makes them vulnerable.

It’s this cost that is often the debate IT technicians must put forward when it comes to backup. It’s like an insurance, and the costs of it aren’t seen until they need to be used. And backups will always need to be used, in both small and large instances. You don’t think data loss or ransomware attacks will happen to you – until they do. Most ransomware attacks happen because of human error. You can train your staff all you like, but it won’t stop everything.

As mentioned, ransomware will target the source and the backup. It makes sense to adopt a three-tier approach to backing up data. Daily incremental backups should take place, either to an online cloud service or through a secured local network, so that if ransomware takes down a machine then the work can be carried on elsewhere.

Regular backups should also be run onto storage devices that are separated from the rest of the network. Different methods of storage should be used for this, since there’s no one device that is one hundred percent secure. That way, if the network is compromised then these backups will still be safe.

Also, long-term backups should use offline storage and be physically placed off-site. These don’t need to happen as frequently as the above, but should cover every single bit of data your company owns – perfect for when disaster strikes.

Ransomware is on the rise, but you can be prepared for it. Build a solid backup plan that accounts for redundancy and check your backups constantly for threats. Then if you do get hit, you’ll be able to rollback with ease.


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