By Avi Raichel, CIO at Zerto
It would be true to say that 2020 was an unforgettable year. A year where many CIOs learned some vital lessons from both a data protection and cybersecurity perspective. Forced to shift at speed of lightning to new remote operating models in the wake of the global health pandemic, companies and public sector organisations suddenly found they were increasingly being targeted by malware, ransomware, and hacking attempts as cyber criminals upped their game to exploit the breadth of opportunities on offer.
Looking ahead to what the UK’s post-pandemic recovery landscape will look like, one thing is certain: the digital transformation revolution is far from over. The disruptive events of 2020 have served to further accelerate the adoption of new technologies and remote working capabilities that will expand the attack surface of the enterprise.
With data security and business resilience now at stake, the faster organisations rethink their approach to cyber risk mitigation and recovery – the easier it will be to gain full value from their digital transformation efforts.
Preparing for the inevitable
The lessons learned from this year highlight why, in addition to initiating measures to minimise the risk of a successful cyberattack, it’s becoming increasingly essential for organisations up their game where response and recovery is concerned.
If we all learned anything from the elevated volume of threat events in 2020 it’s that everyone needs a mindset shift where the cyber security of the enterprise is concerned. Because it’s not a matter of ‘if’ you’ll be attacked – but ‘when’.
The sad reality today is that no matter how much time and money organisations throw at cyber defence measures to protect their environment, eventually someone – or something – will penetrate these defences. But that’s no reason to put the brakes on where digital transformation plans are concerned.
Having adopted this clear eyed perspective, CIOs can get on with the mission-critical task of ensuring their organisation is appropriately prepared to deal with such scenarios when they happen. Because the ultimate protection isn’t a wall around the perimeter; it’s having the ability to recover quickly and get back to business as usual.
Rethinking enterprise risk management
With the security stakes so much higher than 12 months ago, CIOs now need to adopt a robust data protection, cyber-resilience, and recovery approach that ensures they can counter any disruption when ransomware hits.
That includes investing in recovery solutions – or ‘recoverware’ – that enable IT teams to effectively manage and recover data to a point immediately before ransomware strikes. Fast and affordable, these solutions employ the continuous data protection (CDP) that’s needed for today’s increasingly digital infrastructure ecosystems. No matter what the circumstances.
An innovative evolution from the periodic point-in-time copies of traditional backup, the always-on replication and granular recovery that’s being pioneered by CDP solutions represent a smarter way to prepare for ransomware.
Suddenly, recovery represents a powerful defence against malware attack. After all, ransomware attacks don’t work if a target doesn’t have to pay.
A tale of two approaches
In the past, if a network was infected with the notorious CryptoLocker ransomware, then organisations potentially faced hours or days of data loss that could prove difficult to recover. Once the organisation’s file servers were infected, restoring from disk was typically the only available recovery option. One that is difficult and rife with pitfalls and delays.
This would result in the organization having to ship tape files to an external data restoration specialist should it prove impossible to restore any data from the disk backups. Plus, they would need to deal with the painstaking task of addressing any time gaps between different recovery points.
When the data finally becomes available, and testing has been carried out, the slow process of reconstructing file servers and restoring files can at last begin. At which point the organisation can assess the full cost of a software attack in terms of downtime, lost revenue, and potential compliance breaches as it begins the process of returning to business as usual.
By contrast, recoverware restricts data loss to a matter of seconds and limits the organisation’s recovery time to just minutes. With just a few clicks, IT teams can quickly select a point-in-time precisely before the attack occurs and immediately recover, test and reconnect servers in a matter of minutes.
Flexible enough to enable IT teams to recover a few files, virtual machines, or an entire application stack, recoverware is an innovative way to protect systems and data and recover fast in a way that minimises both data loss and downtime.
Path towards a brighter, more resilient future
Minimising the disruption caused by external attacks like ransomware should be among the top concerns for every CIO. Preparing to recover, rather than considering payment in the event of a ransomware attack, also de-risks the enterprise from being repeatedly targeted by those looking to profit from the potential harm and reputational damage malware poses to companies.
Implementing tools that deliver rapid disaster recovery and real-time backup through CDP doesn’t just boost how quickly the enterprise is able to recover and avoid downtime following an attack. It’s fast becoming the key to defeating a ransomware attack.