Surviving a Ransomware Attack with Disaster Recovery
If you have a business that runs over the internet, the question is not whether you will experience a ransomware attack but when. Of course, there are those businesses that are prone to attacks more than others but the damage that such an attack would have on your business should worry any entity that operates over the internet. Talk of operational downtime, costly mitigation, data loss, legal effects, and reputational damages, are just some of the extensive damages that a business would face upon an attack.
Why are the attacks successful?
One answer that any data security expert will give is the failure of a business to have in place a proper recovery plan. Without a disaster recovery plan, a business will be at the mercy of cybercriminals. When the attack happens and a business cannot access its data it will find itself paying the criminals to unlock the systems or decrypt the data.
How does ransomware enter your system?
To understand the danger that is posed by cyberattacks and appreciate the need for a data recovery plan, it is important to have a clear grasp of how threats can get into your system. There are various ways through which this can happen. It can be through an email when someone clicks on the phishing mail. This will be followed by downloading software that acts as a backdoor. It is through this action that more software will be sent into your system. The ransomware will start executing tasks and encryption of data as well as expanding to the network.
If you wait until the disaster happens to take any action, most likely you will have to pay the ransom or worst still lose your data. You do not have to wait for the worst to happen. Just like the adage goes, the best time to prepare is before a disaster strikes. The next best time, they say, is NOW. With the increased cases of ransomware attacks, it would be disastrous to wait for even a single minute. You may not survive the next attack. Even for those who may have executed the plan, the time to test it is now.
While you may not prevent all the attacks, when you have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, you have greatly reduced the risks. A disaster recovery plan documents detailed instructions on how to respond to ransomware among other disruptive incidences. The recovery plan documents the strategies an organisation should use to minimise the effects of an attack, helping in the quick resumption of the operations. The plan should have the following elements:
- Form a team that will be in charge of the development, implementation, and maintenance of the disaster recovery plan
- Identify and assess the ransomware risks
- Evaluate and determine the key application, resources, and documents
- Come up with backup strategy and procedures
- Test and maintain the disaster recovery plan
Given that even the best-laid plan may fail due to one reason or another, in case of an attack, the following steps can help a business identify, contain, remedy, and recover from the incidence.
- Determine if it’s a real attack
- Inform the relevant business stakeholders
- Disconnect the network and internet
- Ascertain the nature and extent of attack and damage
- Limit the initial damage by preventing a continued breach
- Share information with all teams to have a common understanding of the nature and extent of the attack
- Determine how you will respond to ransomware, will you pay the ransom, rebuild or repair the systems?
- Recover the environment, if possible
After surviving the attack, bear in mind that this can happen again, they normally say that ransomware is a symptom, find the real problem, and address it. Prevention is better and less costly than curing the disease. Work on areas that have been identified as weak and the next attack may never happen.