Manufacturers got some good news from last fall’s report on ransomware in manufacturing and production from Sophos. The survey of 5,400 global IT decision-makers found that, compared to all industries in the study, companies in this sector are the least likely to submit to a ransomware demand for payment and are most likely to restore encrypted data from backups. But that doesn’t mean manufacturers are immune from ransomware.
The same study found that more than a third of organizations in the sector was hit by ransomware last year. And while 68 percent of those attacked were able to restore their data, on average, those that paid the ransom only got 55 percent of their data back. Can you imagine the impacts on your organization if you lost nearly half of your data? Then there’s the 32 percent who couldn’t get their data back. The costs to those organizations? An average of $1.52 million.
Interestingly, the same survey respondents have the highest expectation of a future attack compared to all sectors—77 percent. That’s because those IT pros and cybersecurity professionals responsible for data protection in manufacturing and production recognize that ransomware is becoming more sophisticated and prevalent. And with IoT now a key component in manufacturing and production environments—the IoT market is projected to reach $209 billion in 2022—most IT pros and security experts in the sector recognize that each of these devices exposes another attack surface to hackers.
That’s why you need to take proactive steps to fight back against ransomware and the costly downtime it can cause. Here are four ways for you to do so.
1. Make Data Protection a Priority
That starts with a layered cybersecurity strategy that limits potential access points for cybercriminals. Adopting a zero-trust data protection model may also be one of your best choices. And you need to ensure that everyone uses strong passwords—and that no one ever uses preinstalled default passwords. Use identity access management (IAM) and role-based access management (RBAC) to prevent unauthorized users from getting to your applications and data.
Investing in cybersecurity technologies is also crucial for manufacturers. You’ll want to secure everything you can with anti-virus software, email filters, firewalls, and endpoint protection. Cybersecurity training is also vital to shoring up your defenses because the human element is involved in 85 percent of breaches. In this recent post, you’ll find eight ways your employees can help you reduce your risks from ransomware.
2. Create and Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan
The best way to ensure you’ll emerge from an attack relatively unscathed is to put a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place. Check out this post for a detailed look at the four steps you need to take to maintain and test your business continuity and disaster recovery plan. We can’t stress enough just how vital testing your plan is because when disaster strikes, you don’t want to find out it doesn’t perform as expected.
3. Follow the 3-2-1-1 Backup Rule
As noted in the first paragraph of this post, 68 percent of manufacturing and production organizations that got their data back restored their data from backups. But with backups increasingly targeted by cybercriminals—as with Conti ransomware highlighted in this ThreatPost article—you need to go beyond basic backups and follow the 3-2-1-1 backup rule.
You’ll find a complete description of the 3-2-1-1 rule here. This rule is so important because the last “1” stands for immutability. Immutable backups are write-once read many times files that can’t be altered or deleted. So even if ransomware makes its way into your systems, you can be confident you can recover your data.
4. Deploy Effective Backup and Disaster Recovery Solutions
There are many technologies out there for backing up and recovering your data. Choosing the right solution depends on your specific needs. With the cost of downtime so high, it may make sense to go with disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) that protects your on-premises systems and data in a cloud purpose-built for total business continuity. With Arcserve Cloud Services DRaaS, you can access your cloud data anywhere, anytime from a highly distributed and fault-tolerant disaster recovery cloud—with 99.999+ percent uptime. And Arcserve OneXafe appliances provide immutable, scale-out network-attached storage for your on-premises and offsite backups.
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