Don’t lose your holiday cheer to cybercriminals

Cybercriminals launching ransomware attacks can be relentless in their approach. They do not rest even when most of us are taking a break during major holidays. In fact, cybercriminals may be even more active during these times to jump on opportunities when people let their guards down.

Authorities like the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency in the United States have issued warnings ahead of holidays like Thanksgiving and Labour Day, reminding critical infrastructure providers to stay vigilant. 

Closer to home, the Cybersecurity Agency of Singapore routinely puts out alerts warning users of vulnerabilities in systems and security issues. 

Cybercriminals are like house burglars trying to break in, steal your valuables (your data in this case), and ruin your holiday. The good news is that we all know what it takes to protect our homes from burglars – in the same way, you can be ready to defend your critical business data against attacks too.

Here is how you can protect your data against ransomware attacks and never be caught off guard.

Burglar alarms as the first line of defence

A simple defence implemented by many households comes in the form of burglar alarms. In the tech world, this translates into common countermeasures to ransomware including antivirus, antimalware, and firewalls. While these cybersecurity tools are certainly necessary, they are not enough to keep your data safe, nor to deter attackers. In fact, most organisations that fall victim to ransomware attacks already have the aforementioned solutions in place.

Defences to combat ransomware need to be fortified. What this means is that your data security strategy should reduce attack risks while also seeking to mitigate the impact of any successful attack. No matter how fortified your protection is, it is likely that some attacks will get through, so focusing on cyber resilience will bear more weight than trying to be cyber invincible.

Prepare a multi-layered plan

Armed with knowledge that burger alarms alone are insufficient in protecting our families from unwanted intruders, we’ve today fortified our homes with multiple protection measures, including surveillance cameras, movement sensors, and even watchdogs.

This approach is critical when it comes to securing a good data protection plan, which must work broadly and deeply enough to reach valuable data wherever it resides. It should also extend beyond central servers and organisation-wide applications to cover laptop computers, files in a wide range of media formats, and function-specific applications.

Security-conscious organisations should prioritise a cyber strategy that is resilient, flexible, and contains consistent recovery processes, cross-cloud and cross-hypervisors recovery capabilities, and ample recovery options for their data and workloads. These capabilities should be tailored to the organisation’s protection and recovery needs and address these five commonly acknowledged crucial areas: 

  • Identify
  • Protect
  • Monitor
  • Respond
  • Recover

Strict protocols on data access

There is no such thing as a fool-proof data security strategy. It is thus paramount that your organisation’s data security plan be constantly updated and tested to alleviate the risk of cyberthreats as cybercriminals become increasingly shrewd with their methods.

This includes an assessment of current data protection protocols, because doing so will give you the chance to evaluate existing procedures and discover any potential loopholes that can be exploited. You do not want to leave your house keys lying around for strangers to access.

Yet, these administrative processes can become unnecessarily tedious and complex. Therefore, it is essential to unify your administrative controls into one single management console. This way, you can gain rigorous control on data access and can quickly identify risk exposure and coverage status.

Actively monitor for hidden threats

Sophisticated ransomware files can lie dormant until they are triggered. Once they are triggered, the damage is already done.

The key is in catching these files while they are still in hiding, through actively monitoring for early warnings of suspicious and malicious activities – just like installing a CCTV at home. Have in place an easy-to-use integrated interface to actively look out for abnormal activities. Modern cybersecurity tools simplify such moves by leveraging artificial intelligence or machine learning technologies to seek out unusual patterns to quickly detect ransomware activities with honeypots, and track user accountability.

Regularly updating the system based on new emerging threats and always being on top of necessary security updates will also grant you a leg up over cybercriminals.

Always have recovery options

Ensuring that your organisation has consistent recovery processes across all data and workloads, and the ability to restore data to any environment where it is needed, are important if you want to readily bounce back from an attack.

These capabilities can help prevent ransomware file reinfections, enable your business to recover without cloud limitations, and automate your recoveries.

Additionally, your data protection strategy should champion having clean backup copies to avoid business interruptions and minimise risk by automatically isolating suspected files, preventing backup copies from retiring, and protecting your proprietary applications. This move is especially pivotal in getting business rapidly back to normal after a data loss event.

You deserve the best protection

So, the moral of the story is that you need a multi-layered data security solution that dovetails with complete recovery procedures and industry-best practices. These are vital to saving your organisation’s data (and your holiday plans!) from cybercriminals.

Technologies are tirelessly evolving, and there are various flexible, cost-effective solutions that you can embrace to fortify your cyber strategy at any time, from air-gapped backup data copies to software as a service. Features offering a single pane of glass in data management, equipped with intuitive dashboards and simplified processes will also greatly reduce overall attack surfaces. 

With true peace of mind, you know you have the cyber resiliency to recover and resume business operations quickly. So, sit back and relax and enjoy your holiday.