The ransomware threat landscape can feel like a rollercoaster.
There are sudden, lightning-fast rises in attacks and payouts followed by dips in attack numbers as law enforcement cracks down on cyber attackers and organizations boost their threat defenses.
A recent report by cyber insurance provider Corvus Insurance found a 62% decline in ransomware claims from the beginning of 2021 through the end of 2022. Corvus also found a global spike in ransomware attacks in March 2023, with a 60% year-over-year increase in victims’ data leaked on the dark web.
The most important takeaway? The ransomware rollercoaster runs 24/7/365 and bad actors never rest. That’s why companies need a proactive ransomware strategy designed to protect their infrastructure, respond to attacks, and recover quickly when attacks happen. Here are seven key steps toward a proactive ransomware strategy that enhances your business resilience.
STEP 1. KNOW YOUR END-TO-END INFRASTRUCTURE
Today, company and organizational infrastructures are often sprawling and highly complex. They can involve a blend of on-premise data centers and cloud-based networks, new internal business or customer-facing applications going online regularly, and widespread remote employees accessing company platforms through their personal laptops.
Strengthening your cybersecurity starts with a comprehensive audit and assessment of your IT infrastructure at every level—and then sustaining infrastructure visibility going forward. Are the doors to your on-premise data center locked, and are protocols always followed for entry? Are patches up to date on your software and operating systems? Is code tested properly in a fast-paced application pipeline? Can you access previous versions of your data if your current data is compromised by ransomware or human error?
STEP 2. KNOW YOUR CRITICAL VULNERABILITIES—AND RESOLVE THEM FIRST AND FAST
During your audit—and ongoing assessments—you’ll uncover areas of vulnerability across your infrastructure. But not all vulnerabilities introduce the same level of risk or data exposure—and some systems and data are more essential to business continuity and trust than others. Establish a vulnerability prioritization plan and classify business-essential data with technology solutions like Cohesity DataHawk to ensure rapid and ongoing remediation of high-risk threat vectors and active threats.
STEP 3. GET SERIOUS ABOUT IDENTITY AND ACCESS MANAGEMENT
Without user identity and access management, it’s open season on your data. Engage solutions that automate the setup and management of multi-factor authentication processes, require ongoing identity verification, and strategically limit access to your organization’s most sensitive data.
STEP 4. ESTABLISH A ROBUST BACKUP AND RECOVERY PROCESS
Even with all the above strategies—you must assume ransomware will strike your organization. Cyber mature organizations consider breaches inevitable and are well prepared with:
- Tamper-resistant, immutable copies of critical data sets
- Data encryption—for data in flight and at rest
- Multiple data set copies across multiple locations
- Off-site data backups
- Virtual air gaps that cut of network connections to vaulted data
- Granular data isolation
Cohesity backup and recovery solutions include rigorous and automated data backups, virtual air gapping, strategic data isolation, and rapid and reliable restoration processes—all from a single platform.
STEP 5. MONITOR STORED DATA FOR ANOMALOUS ACTIVITY
Leverage technology to watch over your data so you can spot unusual activities such as unexpected movements and changes. Cohesity DataProtect uses machine learning to spot anomalies early—and shutdown attacks, mitigate data loss, and begin data restoration fast enough to prevent business disruptions.
STEP 6. EDUCATE YOUR TEAMS ABOUT THE THREAT LANDSCAPE AND SPECIFIC RISKS
Your employees are often the first point of entry for bad actors who can then make lateral network moves to access more critical data. Here’s how to make sure your teams prioritize cybersecurity:
- Hold regular trainings to empower your teams to spot phishing scams and sophisticated spoofs, and next steps to take—such as forwarding suspicious emails to the cybersecurity team and then deleting the email without opening.
- Communicate emerging threats and top cybersecurity tips even more frequently than your official trainings.
- Give your teams practice opportunities by sending “mock” phishing emails and simulating other attack types.
- Connect business cybersecurity to personal cybersecurity to deepen understanding of real-world risks.
STEP 7. CREATE A CLEAR DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN
Disaster recovery plans clarify critical actions following successful cybersecurity attacks and data breaches, as well as data loss caused by human error or infrastructure damage. The experts at CyberNorth work closely with customers to design plans to establish lines of responsibility, first steps and next steps, coordinated recovery process testing, and recovery runbooks.
While there are seven steps, forward momentum on each step should overlap rather than follow one after the other. Cybercriminals are tireless in their attempts to attack your organization. With Cohesity data security solutions delivered by the experienced team at CyberNorth, your protection, detection, and response capabilities stay one step ahead. Ready to explore proactive ransomware protection?