The Fight Against Ransomware
How much can you get done in 11 seconds?
I can reply to a quick text, or maybe skim through an email. Usain Bolt can run 100 meters, with a second to spare. (No judgment please, people have different skill sets!) Cybercriminals, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, can encrypt your data and access sensitive information with the malicious intent to demand ransom in exchange for decryption (yet again, different skill sets).
Cybercriminal activity is one of the largest threats that companies will face in the next two decades, with ransomware taking the lead. Ransomware is malware that leverages encryption to hold a victim’s information at ransom. According to CyberSecurity Ventures, a ransomware attack occurs every 11 seconds, and the downtime from the incident lasts up to 16 days – a huge amount of time when you think of all the data that is in jeopardy and the impact of the loss of business continuity. These attackers can demand a ransom to restore access to the data upon payment and costs range from hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, usually to be paid via cryptocurrency where traceability is unlikely.
As ransomware attacks continue to get more sophisticated, companies need to learn how to adapt their strategy and security measures to make sure they’re not vulnerable. This includes a defense strategy that tackles everything from baseline protection, all the way to mitigation strategies in case of attack.
While trying to adjust to the new reality, companies have scrambled to ensure they’re secure in every way necessary. In doing so, it has seemed natural to turn inward and rely on on-premise systems, equating an in-house solution with ultimate security. However, leveraging on-premise, physical servers are the last thing that small to medium-sized businesses should be doing as it makes them much more vulnerable to attacks.
A Grave Misconception: On-Premise Systems are More Secure Than Cloud Solutions
Let’s debunk the misconception that on-premise systems are more secure than cloud solutions and shed light on the advantages of cloud solutions for ransomware protection.
Mid-market companies are commonly led into believing that if they perform everything in-house, they will have more control over their data and security. Seems logical enough, right? Wrong.
The truth is, while on-premise solutions do allow companies to manage their data, all this does is allude to a false sense of security. In reality, most enterprises are not equipped to sustain the intense upkeep and maintenance required to ward off ransomware attacks. With more pressing priorities at hand, most companies don’t invest enough in security solutions, leaving them incredibly vulnerable to attacks – and helpless when it happens.
Power in Numbers: How Cloud Solutions are More Secure
Cloud solutions have numerous widely known advantages, and security is something that’s sitting at the top of the list. As large companies, with a massive amount of resources and specialized talent, cloud storage and backup vendors have been strengthening their technology in response to the surge in cybersecurity threats. Below are the main reasons why cloud solutions trump on-premise systems when it comes to security and protecting against ransomware attacks:
There’s no place like home – except for when we’re talking about security breaches
Picture this: You receive notice that a thief is on the loose on the way to your house. Would you stand guard outside your door after a couple of kickboxing classes or immediately dial 911? My guess is the latter.
In a similar fashion, why would you opt to protect your company against cybersecurity threats internally, when you could have access to top-of-the-line experts that specialize in security? A common misconception that people have is that just because it’s being done under your roof, you have more control over the situation. The truth is, small and medium-sized businesses cannot realistically invest enough in security, leaving them vulnerable to attackers with holes in their systems that they’re unaware of.
Cloud SaaS providers, specialized in their craft and continually improving, offer numerous layers of security against ransomware and other similar threats. This includes measures such as two-factor authentication and role-based access control. These providers have the resources, both monetary and skill-based, to ensure their data centers are secure, making them stronger and better equipped to ward off the attack.
Recently a SaaS partner shared “we have cyber attacks every day” and while that could ruin the focus of a company trying to build and sustain a business, it is part of the mandate of these software providers. They have a department, KPIs, and action plans at the ready – all at no additional cost to the end users and customers.
Who doesn’t like a shoulder to cry on?
Let’s pretend you fall victim to an attack. You wake up one morning only to find you’ve been locked out of all your files, a big red skull demanding an absurd amount of money in exchange for your data. What now?
For every hour you leave that ransom unpaid, you’re losing precious dollars, you’re scaring customers away, and leaking valuable information. If you’re functioning on-premise, then you’re pretty much on your own. Cancel your day/week, because things are going to get worse before they get resolved (if they ever do).
This is where cloud-based disaster recovery takes the lead. There’s no better strategy against ransomware than directly outsmarting your attackers. With cloud-based solutions, the service provider can restore systems within a matter of minutes in the event of a ransomware attack, minimizing the total amount of harm caused.
Final Thoughts on Cloud Security
No one wants to fall victim to ransomware. It’s risky, expensive, and if you can avoid it, why wouldn’t you? While at first glance, it can seem like managing everything in-house is the way to go, this misconception has gotten numerous companies into big trouble and cost them an unnecessarily absurd amount of resources and money. Cloud storage is one of the best ways to protect your company against this ever-growing threat of ransomware. Think about it for 11 seconds, then move on with your day creating value for your team and customers, knowing that your business is secure in the cloud!
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