An abstract image of a digital unicorn

When it comes to cybercrime, you are not a unicorn.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, cybercrime is only getting worse. And no matter how ‘special’ and ‘unique’ you are, you are unlikely to remain unscathed.

Ransomware is now the rule, not the exception

In Veeam’s 2022 Ransomware Trends Report, they summarised the learnings gained by interviewing 1,000 organisations that had all experienced ransomware attacks. So, not those living in fear of an attack, but those who had been through one and came out the other side in varying degrees of health. The researchers talked to security professionals, IT operations, backup administrators and CISO (or equivalent IT executives).

Veeam’s ransomware report dovetails with their 2022 Data Protection Trends report, where 76% of the 3,393 organisations surveyed had suffered at least one ransomware attack, and 24% had avoided or were totally unaware that they’d been attacked. As with the ransomware report mentioned above, the criteria for being included in this research was that each organisation must have experienced at least one attack in 2021.

Between these two pieces of research, two important trends were uncovered:

  1. Cybercriminals were double dipping. To quote Veeam: “Only about one in four (27%) organizations suffered just one attack, presumably with bad actors attempting to return for more ransom.”
  2. No unicorn is safe. Again, to quote Veeam: “Organizations of all sizes appear relatively equal in the persistence of attacks from small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) (100–249 employees) to large enterprises (>5,000 employees). Said another way, just like any other disaster (fire/flood), ransomware attacks are universally pervasive.”
    Veeam also noted that ransomware survey respondents reported that an average of 47% of their data was encrypted by ransomware.

As a result of this research, one of Veeam’s primary conclusions was that “the best way to reduce the risk of a cyberattack like ransomware is to have a comprehensive and tested disaster response plan.”

Move your mouse away from that!

Despite our increased awareness and training, humans remain the greatest point of failure when it comes to inviting cyberattacks into our businesses. Phishing emails, malicious links and websites are still the most common point of entry for criminals.

One positive observation made by Veeam was that only 1% of their respondents reported they could not identify the entry point. In other words, 99% of the time, the monitoring and investigation tools they used pinpointed their vulnerabilities – human and otherwise – so they could be addressed.

Once a bad actor has gained entry into your environment, Veeam says that 94% of the time, your backup repositories are their primary target. And that 68% of repositories are impacted as a result.

Veeam adds:

“Specific production platform or application types were targeted in 80% of successful ransomware attacks, presumably based on known vulnerabilities within common platform types, such as mainstream hypervisors and operating systems or wide-spread workloads like NAS filers or database servers.”

We get it: Protecting your data isn’t simple

With organisational data often spread across multiple clouds and systems, as well as geographies and locations, it only adds to the challenge of ensuring your data is not only available and scalable – but also protected.

Faced with today’s cyber challenges (and new threats looming as AI becomes part of the baddies’ arsenal), your ability to be cyber resilient and recover to a business-as-usual state as quickly as possible is more critical than ever. No one can count on being the fairy-tale exception to the rule when it comes to ransomware attacks.

To rehash that well-worn saying: It’s not a matter of if your unicorn breaks its horn, but when.

According to Veeam’s 2023 Data Protection Trends report, “…many legacy IT environments are running legacy backup solutions that were designed for the physical data center era. This specifically hinders an enterprise’s ability to focus on cloud-based SaaS and IaaS, which puts your data at risk of data breach and can lead to unoptimized large-scale data management.”

Interestingly, Veeam reports that 52% of those organisations with encrypted data paid the ransom demand (mainly with the help of their cyber insurance policies) and successfully recovered it. As for the rest? 25% paid up but didn’t recover their data. The remainder undertook remediation to recover their data successfully, but this took an average of 18 days, which is a long time to be out of the business-as-usual loop.

It’s time to join the rest of the herd

While cybercrime is pervasive and seemingly unavoidable, it doesn’t absolve your business from taking its share of responsibility from a legal, commercial, and ethical standpoint.

It’s hard (and for some, impossible) to recover from a massive fine, the sense of betrayal experienced by your customers when their data is sold off to the highest bidder, or your employees are unable to work as every line of business application freezes. For days, weeks, and even months.

And yet, knowing this, only one out of every six organisations test whether their backup solutions work by restoring and verifying their data. So, when it comes to a ransomware attack, most businesses are still winging it when it comes to having backup that works.

Unicorn or not, the only certainty in life for today’s businesses is the importance of weathering that inevitable cyber storm. And that includes ensuring you have:

  1. Reliable, innovative, industrial-strength cybersecurity solutions
  2. A well-understood, committed and tested cyber resiliency strategy

Feel free to talk to us if you’re unsure about either. We’ll even throw in some love and rainbows.

Written in partnership with Veeam.

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