Securing Your IT Against Cyber and Ransomware Threats

Establishing a shield against ransomware and other cyber threats is not just a precaution but an essential aspect of maintaining operational continuity.

December 15, 2023

5 Min Read
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By Jackie Ostlie, Senior Manager of Security and Ransomware Product Marketing, Veeam

As the digital landscape expands, organizations face rapid, emerging threats, putting cybersecurity practices at the forefront of any IT strategy today. Establishing a shield against ransomware and other cyber threats is not just a precaution but an essential aspect of maintaining operational continuity.

Achieving operational continuity is about building IT infrastructures that are resilient and designed for rapid recovery. The capacity to quickly recover and restore operations after a cyber incident defines an organization's resilience. Proactive strategies that emphasize this recovery aspect, including maintaining up-to-date, reliable backups, are key.

Adapting to the Cybersecurity Evolution in 2024

The cybersecurity landscape has evolved. Veeam's "2023 Global Report on Ransomware Trends" shows that 85% of organizations experienced a cyberattack in the previous 12 months, with backups a primary target. This emphasizes the importance of maintaining resilient and secure recovery systems for protection against threats.

The survey finds that 93% of ransomware attacks in the past year explicitly targeted backups, and three-quarters of backup repositories were affected by ransomware attacks. Unfortunately, only 16% of organizations were able to successfully recover without paying the ransom.

This underscores the critical importance of maintaining resilient backup strategies and suggests that with the right approach, any organization can strengthen its defenses to join this proactive 16%. Successful recovery from a cyberattack is a matter of planning and execution, not chance or negotiation.

Strengthening IT Infrastructure With Strategic Security Practices

In response to the escalating ransomware threat, organizations are proactively reinforcing their IT infrastructures. Close collaboration between IT and security teams, working together to ensure strong cybersecurity measures, is a critical imperative. The primary goal is clear: to cultivate resilient IT environments capable of effectively managing and rebounding from cyber incidents while upholding uninterrupted business processes and continuity.

Informed by the detailed guidelines from entities like the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), organizations are taking a tailored approach to IT infrastructure security. While foundational cybersecurity practices are a starting point, the complexities of today's cyber threats demand a more nuanced strategy that includes the following.

  • Proactive software management: Keeping systems updated is more than just routine maintenance; it's a proactive defense strategy. System updates should be prioritized based on threat intelligence and aligned with the latest security advisories to address the most critical vulnerabilities swiftly to outpace potential attackers.

  • Tailored access management: Access to critical systems must be meticulously managed through a combination of least privilege policies, multifactor authentication, and real-time access monitoring. This helps ensure that access rights are granted according to role-specific necessities and are adaptable to the organization's evolving needs.

  • Dynamic network monitoring: Security monitoring must go beyond static checks. It should encompass advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms capable of detecting subtle anomalies that indicate sophisticated cyber threats. Continuous and adaptive monitoring provides an early warning system to preempt security breaches.

Elevating Your Ransomware Defense Game

An effective ransomware defense is a composite of well-defined practices and strategic planning inspired by standards such as those from CISA and NIST. Emphasizing the importance of resilience and recovery, here's how organizations can approach their ransomware defense.

  • Backup strategies as a safety net: Crafting backup solutions that adapt to the threat environment is crucial. Coordinated efforts between IT and security teams help ensure backups are regularly updated and tested with dependable backup solutions that provide a reliable safety net for data recovery.

  • Security-conscious culture: Ransomware often exploits human error. Responsibility for securing and protecting your organization extends beyond your cybersecurity and IT teams. This responsibility is shared with every employee in the organization and is critical to cultivating a culture of security awareness across the workforce. Training that focuses on recognizing and responding to threats can significantly reduce the risk of a successful attack.

  • Comprehensive protection measures: Protection against ransomware requires a comprehensive strategy that includes up-to-date threat intelligence and advanced detection and response systems. It's about creating a dynamic system that adapts to new threats as they emerge.

  • Compliance: Maintaining compliance with mandates and regulations specific to your industry or geo-location (including filing legally required notifications after an attack) are a crucial part of your security program.

  • Proactive recovery planning: Recovery goes beyond data restoration to include maintaining business continuity and learning from the incident to fortify against future threats. For example, IT and security teams must conduct regular reviews and updates to response and recovery plans.

  • Incident response planning: Prepare for the worst. Having a well-thought-out response strategy enables organizations to act decisively and recover swiftly in the event of a breach.

By aligning with these strategic pillars and ensuring cross-organization coordination, organizations can reinforce their cyber resilience against ransomware and other cyberattacks. The focus must be on preparedness and adaptability, establishing a posture that can withstand as well as anticipate and counteract cyber threats.

Fortifying Defenses With Proactive Security

The ever-escalating cyber-threat landscape demands not only vigilance but also a proactive commitment to security. By continuously educating your team, rigorously practicing security protocols, and strategically implementing defenses, you can fortify your IT infrastructure against the inevitable cyber onslaught.

Successful recovery from cyberattacks is a matter of planning and execution, not chance or negotiation. As you navigate the intricate realm of digital security, comprehensive solutions like those offered by Veeam become increasingly vital, ensuring not only peace of mind but the uninterrupted continuity of digital business.

About the Author

Jacki Ostlie

Jackie Ostlie is a Senior Manager of Security and Ransomware Product Marketing at Veeam. Jackie has over two decades in marketing and business strategy for some of the largest enterprises across tech, travel, and nonprofit industries. She was introduced to the cybersecurity industry seven years ago and hasn't looked back. Jackie is passionate about securing and protecting organizations and individuals.

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