According to CyberSecurity Ventures, the global cost of ransomware is estimated to reach $20 billion by next year. As the costs rise, the attacks become more sophisticated. Cyberattackers aren’t casting a wide net anymore—they’re targeting businesses that create and store vast amounts of sensitive data. Universities and state and local governments are all becoming targets, too. Since these attacks are becoming more focused and refined, traditional cyber security strategies might not be as effective. Most businesses use antivirus and antimalware software, spam filters, and firewalls as a starting point. And, if ransomware were to find its way in, smart businesses have a recent backup of critical data. This helps them restore systems to a point before ransomware struck. But these strategies aren’t enough anymore.
The Backup ProblemSavvy cyberattackers know that you have backups. They also know they’re probably stored somewhere on the same network as your servers and other endpoints. A backup is useless if ransomware locks up the drive where it is stored. If they can, attackers will ensure that ransomware locks up everything, including your backups. In today’s world, storing backups onsite just isn’t enough. You need offsite backups for redundancy.
Better Security With Backup RedundancyWhile your primary security efforts should keep ransomware out, there are no guarantees that your data is secure. It’s far too easy for users to open a rogue phishing email and infect your systems—people are just too darn fallible. Knowing this, it’s easy to see how backups can save your backside. But these days you must add an extra layer of security to truly keep data safe. Here’s how to add the redundancy you need to make sure ransomware is never a problem:
- Store primary backups locallyThe first step is to take backups of your systems that you’ll store on a local network drive. This is probably a process you’re familiar with and should be doing right now.
- Consider hot-swappable drivesMany backup experts recommend copying your backups to a second drive you can take with you to a secure location (perhaps a safe at home). However, depending on the size of your network and the number of endpoints you need to back up this approach isn’t always practical. It’s best suited to small offices, branch offices, and so on.
- Replicate backups to a second secure locationAs a layer of redundancy, it’s wise to replicate your backups to an offsite location. This can be a remote server, data center or co-location facility, a public cloud, or a full-on recovery cloud like StorageCraft Cloud Services. Outside of having a separate copy of your data, storing it in a second location means it’s much less likely to be locked down by ransomware, since ransomware typically only affects devices connected to your local network.
- Consider mirroring to a third site Though most practical for sensitive or crucial data, mirroring gives you the peace of mind that your data is safe from ransomware as well as large failure events like natural disasters. By mirroring data you’ll have a copy of it in a geographically disparate location or locations. If something happens to a data center housing your data you’ll have yet another copy available, just in case.
Choosing the Right Replication TargetNow that we’ve covered data redundancy, it’s worth thinking about where you should replicate your backups. While they may be stored safely in third-party clouds like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, there’s little—if any—guarantee that you’ll be able to recover your systems quickly. If ransomware locks down your systems, you may not be able to quickly restore the affected machines. That results in costly downtime. The solution is to use a cloud built with recovery in mind. Should something go wrong with systems or backups locally, StorageCraft Cloud Services is built to help you recover fast. Policy-based preconfiguration lets you set the sequence and timing of mission critical systems, so even network-wide recovery takes place with just a click.
ConclusionReplicating your backups to a service like StorageCraft Cloud Services is a critical step for every business. With ransomware attacks becoming more sophisticated, data redundancy is one of the best ways to fortify your business against the threats to come. If you’re looking for ways to enhance your approach to taking backups and storing them offsite, consider StorageCraft Cloud Services to keep your data secure.
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