In the wake of one of the most recent ransomware threats, IT security experts are already re-emphasizing the number one rule of data protection – never pay attackers.  Most IT leaders agree – sending money to release data creates bigger problems down the road – labelling “soft targets” and perpetuating criminal behavior. When cyberattacks like WannaCry hit your business, it’s best to have a data backup plan.

WannaCry resulted in tens of thousands of infections across 99+ countries – including the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, and Russia. Not bothering to discern between business, government or individual data – the virus posed a significant threat to almost every computing environment. With critical data inaccessible, companies scrambled to assess the damage.

The first response was a patchwork of security and recovery strategies. Initially, some recovered unencrypted copies of hijacked files. Others put strong decryption tools to work, but this mandated severe actions like rebooting servers and erasing memory. More sophisticated security teams also exploited a weakness in WannaCry, as the virus used unregistered domains as its propagation method. This presented an opportunity for counter-attack strategies to stop the virus’ spread.

With cyberthreats like WannaCry, there is no single solution for keeping businesses safe. Future events can certainly be avoided by leveraging vulnerability scanning and patch management, but this only addresses part of the problem. Security best-practices also mandate anti-virus protection, intrusion prevention and employee training – all building stronger protection around the perimeter.  Additionally, organizations must address threat detection proactively – leveraging security analytics tools alongside continuous monitoring and incident response planning.

In the case of data theft and compromise, strategic data backup and recovery planning is a great risk mitigation measure to minimize the impact of ransomware on desktops and servers.  Once critical security measures like port-specific firewall blocks and intrusion prevention rules are enacted, data restores on critical business systems can seamlessly be executed to recover hijacked data. And while some own and manage these strategies in-house, a trusted partner is often better prepared for the largest and most complex attacks by utilizing managed security and cloud-driven storage.

Managed backup offerings and managed security services from companies like CenturyLink are often the best approach for engineering and deploying proactive security. Cloud-based data backup and restoration services drive full data restoration while eliminating unnecessary capital expenditures for data storage, protection and management as well as enterprise backup and archiving. These solutions centralize and automate backup tasks – saving to the cloud all workloads generated by servers, desktop applications, laptop files, and mobile data. Data is compressed and encrypted on a single platform, enabling full restores via a single management console. Data is cloud-driven, meaning backup policies can be created and managed almost anywhere.

Cloud-led systems not only restore data faster, but are less expensive than traditional methods. These utility models actually limit data restores to only encrypted files rather than rebuilding the entire infrastructure. Backed by a team of experts, internal IT staff is then free to focus on more strategic protection initiatives and not reactive system restores.

It’s only a matter of time before the next cyberattack. What’s your backup plan? Don’t be a victim of ransomware. Contact our team of cybersecurity experts for help today.

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