Beat Ransomware with effective data management
20 Oct 2022
Despite the increasing occurrences of serious ransomware attacks and data breaches, data management remains low on the priority list for many South African businesses. The reality however is that it is not something you can afford to ignore. The repercussions of a successful data breach can be catastrophic, in terms of cost, downtime, lost income, long-term impact to business and reputation as well as compliance. Ransomware is not going away – it is becoming increasingly prolific, even to the point of being available as a service on the dark Web – and data management needs to be taken seriously to mitigate this growing risk.
The extent of the problem
Successful ransomware attacks can cause long-lasting damage to business, from the loss of data to the reputational damage, extended periods of downtime, and loss of customer trust. For businesses that rely on documentation, such as consulting firms, lawyers, medical practitioners, media companies and insurance organisations, for example, these consequences can be irreparably harmful.
The Mimecast State of Ransomware Readiness Report 2022 highlights disruption to operations, significant downtime, loss in revenue and loss of current customers as a result of a successful ransomware attack. In addition, as many as 39% of companies end up paying the ransom, which in South Africa averaged at R3 261 352, however this does not always guarantee that data is given back. Ransomware attacks and data breaches also result in disruptions to the C-suite which impact operations.
Failing to plan is planning to fail
According to the Mimecast State of Email Security Report 2022, budgetary constraints are listed as holding businesses back from being able to deploy effective cybersecurity systems and strategy. In South Africa, the average IT budget for cyber resilience was only 12% when a 21% allocation is needed. This is something that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency, because without an adequate data management strategy and plan in place, organisations are placing themselves and their customers at risk.
Often some data is irrecoverable, depending on the severity of the breach. Some businesses may possibly be able to recover to a degree, and companies typically find a way to resume operations, however there is always a financial impact that places additional strain on businesses. ,. Without an effective data management plan, it can take days or weeks to recover – the Mimecast report states that 25% of companies infected by ransomware experienced outages of two to three days, while 22% were down for a week and 15% had outages for up to two weeks.
With the right strategy and solutions in place, however, this downtime can be reduced to a matter of hours, minimising disruption, and maximising the ability to effectively recover all affected data.
An evolving challenge
The reality is that many businesses only realise the value of a data management strategy after they have been breached and lost data, and ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly malicious, with perpetrators not only locking businesses out of their data but releasing it into the public domain. This then puts organisations at serious additional risk.
It is important to remember that high availability does not equal data backup and the ability to recover – once ransomware has encrypted data, it may still be highly available, but it will also be completely inaccessible to the business. In addition, while cyber-insurance is becoming essential, this will not pay out if there is no data management and data protection in place to start with. Ransomware is not a problem that you can afford to ignore, and it is not going away. Data management is critical and can save your business.