According to leading cyber underwriter Corvus Insurance, in 2023, ransomware attacks increased 95% over the previous year. While technology has significantly advanced over the years, methods to combat ransomware have not seen similar progress. The top ransomware deployment method is still email attachments and phishing. And ransomware is still an easy and inexpensive way for cybercriminals to extort large sums of money from organizations desperate to recover their data.
Ransomware can damage data and disrupt workflows, restrict data access, and handcuff your ability to operate at full capacity and effectiveness. Today, organizations in government, technology, healthcare, education, and financial services are being even more frequently attacked. Those in manufacturing, technology, retail, and wholesale are the most severely damaged when they are targets. It is not a question of if a ransomware attack will affect you, only a question of when.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are effective solutions to protect against infection and enable recovery. Data resilience is one.
Data resilience describes the ability to avoid unexpected disruptions to your data and workflows. Resilience can be achieved through strategies including backup, redundancy, and superior cloud file systems—and is a critical quality for protecting data from ransomware attacks. It not only helps prevent data loss, it safeguards your reputation. Any downtime you experience can result in customer dissatisfaction and a loss of trust and/or business. While data can be recovered quickly, a tarnished reputation can take years to rebuild.
Data redundancy is often the first step to establishing data resilience. By storing copies in several locations in case one location is corrupted or lost, redundancy ensures that clean data can be seamlessly substituted. In an ideal world, users would never know a disruption occurred, and critical operations would continue as normal.
But there’s a difference between redundancy and resilience. Redundant backups replace, data resiliency keeps data accessible, even during an attack.
Without data resiliency, you can suffer major consequences. Critical and sensitive data can be lost, damaged, or destroyed, affecting productivity and business continuity. Customers and suppliers could be disappointed. Legal and regulatory impacts could harm your reputation. And if you pay the ransom, you lose money, and even expose yourself to more attacks.
Implementing controls to quickly detect, respond to, and recover from ransomware attacks can help you avoid these outcomes. Here’s how data resilience, security, and recovery better safeguard data.
Data security, resilience, and recovery
Data security describes the proactive measures taken to protect data including any mechanism that locks data against attackers. Security measures — such as firewalls — can keep attacks at bay, but they can’t guarantee that cybercriminals won’t break through. Even so, data security is still an essential element in protecting data.
While data security locks data, data resilience stands up against attacks. With data resilience, you can survive attacks and maintain normal operations due to technology that discovers breaches and mitigates their impact.
Data recovery is more reactive. A comprehensive disaster recovery plan includes instructions for responding to unplanned disruptions including human errors, cyberattacks, and natural disasters. Recovery includes discovery methods that identify disruptive or suspicious events, preventative measures that reduce the effects of a disaster, and corrective actions that restore lost data and return IT processes to normal.
Data security, resilience, and recovery combine to offer reliable data protection against ransomware.
How Panzura defeats ransomware
With Panzura’s CloudFS file system, you store data in immutable form in an object store, which makes possible file and folder recovery. It's impossible to prevent all ransomware attacks, but Panzura can significantly reduce the risk of data loss from these events.
CloudFS immutability helps you become ransomware resilient. All changes made to data are additive, meaning nothing can be overwritten. As a result, files can always be restored to a previous version. Panzura separates data from metadata and maintains a metadata catalog that is updated in near real-time. System-level snapshots taken up to every 60 seconds act as an updated pointer map in the metadata catalog. Each node in the global file system pushes its metadata to the catalog and to every other node in the system. The catalog, then, is the source for recovering data all the way down to the file level.
Users can always restore files to previous versions. The frequency of snapshots and of node updates allows files to be switched to any prior version.
During a ransomware attack
When cybercriminals launch a ransomware attack, they usually encrypt data and demand a ransom in exchange for the decryption key. However, with CloudFS, changes aren’t made directly to files. Instead, new immutable data blocks are created with the infected changes, which alters the pointer map.
CloudFS immutability lets you recover your original data by referring to snapshots that are so granular they allow a recovery time objective (RTO) of 60 seconds. You or Panzura Global Services simply change the pointer map to restore the most recent unaffected files. Instead of scrambling to retrieve data, with CloudFS, you simply point to good files or folders.
Panzura Data Services
Panzura Data Services acts as the central hub for data security, resilience, and recovery. This software, with its easy-to-use dashboard, minimizes downtime from ransomware so that you never have to pay a ransom. In addition to real-time audit trails and alerts, the single, unified data management dashboard provides complete visibility, always-on governance, and real-time metadata access.
Ransomware isn’t going away, not at all. So rather than risking an attack, develop a data resilience strategy. With Panzura data resilience, you can take a stand, refuse to pay a ransom, and defeat cybercriminals.