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The Ever-Looming Threat of Ransomware
JG Heithcock

July 23, 2021

JG Heithcock is GM at Retrospect and has eighteen years experience in the storage and backup industry.

author: JG Heithcock blurb_photo: "blog/blog_ransomware.jpg" blurb: "2020 was, without question, a banner year for ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a lot more prevalent than you think. When an organization is hit by a ransomware attack, they have two choices: Pay the ransom or lose — or even expose — their data. After the attack, these organizations are left to pick up the pieces and do damage control. In 2020, 51% of organizations were affected by ransomware." ---

2020 was, without question, a banner year for ransomware attacks. One woman died after treatment delays at a hospital in Germany after a cyberattack forced them to turn away emergency patients. Hackers accessed a Las Vegas school district and released personally identifiable information and private data including Social Security numbers. One COVID-19 vaccine trial was slowed down because researchers were locked out of their data by malicious attackers.

When an organization is hit by a ransomware attack, they have two choices: Pay the ransom or lose — or even expose — their data. After the attack, these organizations are left to pick up the pieces and do damage control.

But truthfully, most times, there is more that can be done to prevent ransomware attacks. Organizations must stay vigilant to the changing threat landscape and implement the right tools and solutions to ward off ransomware attacks.

What Is Ransomware?

Most who work in technology are already too aware of the impending threat that ransomware presents. Ransomware is a form of malware that is always shifting and changing, but in most cases, this malware has been engineered to encrypt files on a device, rendering all files and systems that rely on these files completely unusable. The malicious actors who deploy this kind of malware then demand a ransom in exchange for decrypting the data.

Many times, these ransomware attackers will threaten to sell or release any data or authentication information if the organization refuses to pay the ransom, which is why many organizations unfortunately just agree to pay the ransom. Other times, they will threaten to publicly name or shame their victims as another form of extortion, which can majorly damage the reputation of the organization when it comes to consumer trust. Increasingly, these malicious actors will also use worsening tactics like deleting system backups to make restoration and recovery after an attack either very difficult or even impossible.

More recently, ransomware attacks have expanded to include nation-states, government entities, and other state-oriented organizations.

The Effects of Ransomware and Cyber Attacks

Ransomware is a lot more prevalent than you think. In 2020, 51% of organizations were affected by ransomware. Plus:

  • ¼ of all victims of ransomware make payments to hackers.

  • The largest ransomware demand equaled about 11.8 million USD and was made to a French construction firm called Bouygues.

  • In 2020, the demanded ransom value increased by 60%, reaching an average of $178,000 per attack.

  • It’s thought that in 2020, cybercriminals made off with $20 billion in ransom payments.

What’s more? Paying a ransom to cybercriminals actually makes it harder to recover from a ransomware attack. In fact, the average cost to rebound from a ransomware attack for companies that do not pay a ransom is $730,000, but the average cost to recover from a ransomware attack for organizations that paid the ransom nearly doubles, soaring to an average of $1,450,000.

Perhaps the most damaging thing about a ransomware attack, though, is the harm it can do to an organization’s reputation. Consumers are understandably wary of storing their private data anywhere that it may be exposed, and a security breach like a ransomware attack damages consumer trust and confidence. For example, more than 66% of respondents in one research study shared that they would switch to a competitor if an organization couldn’t restore systems and applications within three days after a cyberattack, and over one-third of these respondents would be willing to switch after a mere 24 hours of waiting to access their data or complete a transaction. What’s more? 59% of consumers would avoid doing business with a company or organization that experienced a cyberattack in the past year.

When it comes to ransomware and other cyber attacks, staying protected is more important to an organization’s survival than ever before.

Introducing Retrospect 18

How can companies safeguard themselves against these kinds of threats? Through the proper security protocols and the right tools in place.

Retrospect, a StorCentric company, recently announced the availability of the brand new Retrospect Backup 18 and Retrospect Virtual 2021, which have been engineered to help combat these malicious attacks that lead to ransomware. These flexible backup solutions have been engineered with ransomware protection and other additional security enhancements in mind, plus deeper reporting and cloud data protection for:

  • Microsoft Azure

  • Amazon S3

  • Google Cloud Storage

  • And more

Retrospect Backup 18 is the industry’s “most flexible backup solution”, and it also includes an enhanced data management platform and cloud data protection for more cohesive security from end to end.

Since ransomware attacks are growing in sophistication, it’s essential to have a solution that:

  • Locks backups for a designated time period

  • Prevents deletion or alteration of data by unauthorized users

Retrospect Backup 18, in particular, has been designed to integrate with these new object lock features and create immutable backups that cannot be accessed by ransomware or malicious attackers even if they acquire root credentials.

Of Retrospect Backup 18, JG Heithcock, General Manager of Retrospect, shared, “Retrospect Backup 18’s powerful policy-based scheduling allows it to predict when those backups will leave the retention policy and protect any files that will no longer be retained, ensuring businesses always have point-in-time backups to restore within the immutable retention policy window.”

Retrospect Backup 18 allows users to set immutable retention periods and policies within their cloud-based solutions while also supporting bucket-level object locking in Google Cloud Storage and Microsoft Azure.

Ransomware Protection: Functions and Features of Retrospect Backup 18

What sets Retrospect Backup 18 apart? The features that make sense in today’s current virtual climate will help companies keep even their most vulnerable data protected. This includes:

  • Cloud deployment to protect cloud infrastructures with the same tools used for on-premises infrastructures while optimizing bandwidth.

  • Security reporting that offers detailed backups for all kinds of devices and applications.

  • Geo tracking to follow a worldwide map of all users to better monitor usage and understand the source of potential threats.

  • Simple monitoring of all backups, plus the easy implementation of a full system backup recovery for an entire environment.

Also worth noting is that Retrospect Backup 18 offers simpler workflows and much more comprehensive reporting that all comes through an updated management console. You can stay protected by deploying Retrospect Backup 18 directly in the cloud and protect application data.

Retrospect Virtual 2021 also includes features like faster backups, improved backup server performance, better security, enhanced data integrity, and broader support across platforms like VMware ESXi and vCenter 7.0, Microsoft Server 2019, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Oracle 19c, and MariaDB.

Plus? Retrospect Backup 18 is a smart security solution for all consumers, all the way down to small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) and small and midsize businesses (SMBs). With costs as low as $3.00 per month for consumers for ransomware protection, organizations can keep themselves protected from malicious ransomware attacks both on-premises and in the cloud.

At Retrospect, our top concerns are always performance and protection. With best-in-class solutions to keep you running without interruption, you’ll be ready for anything. To learn more about our solutions, contact us today!

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Contact our sales team by email at sales@retrospect.com or by phone at +1-925-476-1030 to discuss your environment.