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Why backups should be a part of your ransomware protection strategy

Data backups are one of the most preventive ransomware protection strategies that you can implement.

hand on computer backing up data
Image: DepositPhotos

Over the past 5 years, ransomware has steadily grown as a threat, being named IBM’s most concerning attack type of 2021.

Things haven’t looked much more positive for 2022 either, with ransomware continuing to expand and impact businesses around the globe.

By completely hijacking systems, ransomware puts businesses in a sticky situation, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing they can do.

There are several strategies that businesses can turn to regarding ransomware protection.

While the first that come to mind are security tools and email firewall defenses, more long-term strategies can also be employed.

identity theft hacker
Image: Pixabay

That’s where backups come in, acting as a leading method of putting a stop to how effective ransomware can be.

Considering global ransomware damages are reaching over 20 billion in 2022, there has never been a better time to think long and hard about your company’s ransomware protection strategy.

Let’s explore backups and demonstrate exactly why they’re so effective. 

Why use backups as a ransomware protection strategy?

cybersecurity image lock against ransomware
Image: Cybersecurity

Backups act as a huge repository of data. Instead of having one central system, which is effectively only one point of attack that hackers need to target, creating several backups diverges your business’ data into many parts.

If an attacker wanted to take control of all of your files, they wouldn’t only have to access your main system and then find all your backups and disable them.

By creating backups that cover your business files, all applications you need to run your business, and client details, you’re able to have something to always fall back on.

If an attacker takes control of your main system and is asking for a ransom sum, you can simply turn to your backup and continue as normal.

Backups are effective, as you don’t need to get your main system back. Especially with a recent backup, reverting feels like the cybersecurity event never happened. 

Tips for effective backups

Unfortunately, an effective ransomware protection strategy isn’t as simple as just creating a backup and leaving it there. There are a few more steps to take into account that businesses should always endeavor to follow.

When creating backups for your business, always do the following:

  • Create multiple – Never just create a singular backup. The more, the merrier! Create several and distribute them.
  • Store them in various locations – When you create a backup, it’s always best to create several and store them in various locations. By having them spread out, you make it much harder for attacks to find and disable all of your backups. Typically, businesses follow a rule of three here. One backup should be on-premise, one on the cloud, and one on local (even better if physical) storage. This tip will help to stop you from putting all your eggs in one basket. 
  • Update frequently – The more you update your backups, the less data you’ll lose when you come face-to-face with a ransomware event. Getting into the habit of creating backups frequently is a wonderful way of lessening the impact of any cybersecurity event that you may run into.

By taking these three main tips into account, you’ll be well on your way to creating an effective system of backups. With this, you’ll have much less to fear from ransomware events.

What are the risks associated with backups?

business cloud man typing on computer
Image: Freepik

While backups provide a fantastic solution to the vast majority of ransomware events, they are not completely impervious to attacks.

Like any computer storage system, hackers could also find and destroy backups, rendering your strategy fairly useless.

With this in mind, there are two main risks to backups that you should always take into account.

By understanding the risks and then adapting your strategy to overcome them, you’ll be in a great position to use backups as a ransomware protection strategy:

  • Failure – When you create backups, alongside the act of creating them, where you store them can be vitally important. For example, you don’t want to store all your backups on the same system that will likely fall to ransomware. If an attacker gains entry into your system and finds your backups, they can also hold those hostage, defeating the point entirely. This is why creating multiple backups and storing them in different locations is so significant.
  • Data Breaches – You shouldn’t just store backups in absolutely any location. Remember that a backup is a direct copy of all the data you need to run your business effectively. Most of the time, this will include confidential files that you’d probably prefer to remain private to your business. Information like financial records or personal customer details will be inside this backup. While this is necessary, it also means that if someone were to hack your storage and find your backup, they could cause a severe data breach. Be sure to give all of your backup systems as much protection as possible, treating them with equal importance as your central system. 

While backups are incredibly powerful, they are only effective when stored correctly and securely.

Always create multiple backups and give each one as much security as possible. Protecting yourself as a ransomware strategy will also help prevent backup data breaches

Final thoughts

backlit keyboard showing various keys mega breach hack
Image: Unsplash

Alongside security software to monitor emails, backups are one of the most preventive ransomware protection strategies that you can turn to.

By creating multiple backups and hiding them in various storage locations or facilities, you can create a web of data that you can turn to if someone attempts to hold your data for ransom.

After all, nothing is more satisfying than laughing in the face of an attacker as you ignore their ransom and revert to your backup systems.

Continuing as normal is often the sweetest victory – but it doesn’t come without ample preparation.

Create backups, spread them around, and frequently update them. With this in mind, you’ll be on your way to a flawless ransomware protection strategy.

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