The Importance of Hardening Your Backups to Make Them Ransomware-Proof

A digital image of nine small servers on a padlock, which is itself on a circuitboard, signifying cyber security
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Ransomware has been a persistent threat for many years, posing serious challenges for organizations threatened by the prospect of being locked out of networks and having their critical data stolen. 

At the same time, the amount of data businesses manage has been growing exponentially, meaning there’s little choice but to turn to more sophisticated data management and backup systems designed with security front of mind.

When a ransomware attack strikes, the logical next step for a victim organization is to restore data from backups – but as we’ve recently seen, even backups are no longer safe from cyber criminals. In fact, almost all ransomware attacks (93%) target backups, and in three-quarters of such cases, hackers succeed in preventing victims from restoring their data, according to Veeam’s 2023 Ransomware trends report.

Some 85% of organizations were targeted at least once in the last year, with ransomware attacks increasing by 12% over this period. It’s never been more critical to ensure your backups are as resilient as possible. This is where platforms like Object First’s Ootbi come in, offering ransomware-proof, object-based backup safeguards for Veeam customers. Hence, businesses have a reliable and ransomware-proof backup from which they can restore data when targeted. 

Big data is fuelling the growing attack surface

Organizations are collecting, managing, and storing vast quantities of data, with the scale increasing over time. The amount of data created, captured, and copied globally is expected to be 181ZB by 2025, which is just shy of three times the figure of 64ZB in 2020, according to Statista

Historically, businesses have depended on multiple-point products to safeguard the growing volumes of data they manage, including target storage, media, and master servers. Because these create numerous silos, which span a combination of cloud and on-prem storage, this could widen the attack surface. 

Ransomware operators effectively have a much bigger target to aim for, with such a regime undermining the effectiveness of a backup solution. Reducing the attack surface by adopting a unified system should be an absolute priority for organizations that operate such sprawling data infrastructure.

Without one, it might also become much harder to detect ransomware operators that have already infiltrated corporate networks and are engaged in a data exfiltration process. These gangs are highly effective in siloed environments in which an organization has little visibility over the data. Backup tools that employ artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) systems are a vital pillar of defense if you’re hoping to detect and stop ransomware attacks in real time, leading to faster attack discovery.

Why is ransomware targeting backups?

Backups are your primary insurance policy against ransomware attacks– cybercriminals know this. While one in six organizations fully recover data from backups following a ransomware attack without ever having to pay the ransom, according to Veeam’s report, that still leaves five in six unable to successfully restore from a backup. For these businesses, the time it takes on average to recover is 3.4 weeks, which translates to 136 business hours worth of downtime. Of those that aim to trigger a restoration point, 56% risk infection during that process, the report added.

But just because this is the way things are now doesn’t mean this is how things should be, and certainly not something organizations should just accept. 

Indeed, businesses should still try to attain the best possible backup system for their critical business assets and data. But they must also strive for fit-for-purpose configuration, ideally based on object storage, to ensure their backups are resilient and become a genuine insurance policy, not just one in name. 

Modern threats demand modern solutions, and scalable, immutable, and flexible backups are becoming more highly coveted. 

It’s also far preferable to house data in object storage format, which is ideal for the vast quantities of unstructured data businesses generate, rather than using the once more conventional file or block storage. 

Because many on-prem systems aren’t optimized for block storage, looking to object-based solutions, like Object First’s Ootbi for Veeam customers, would be ideal for organizations hoping to safeguard their data and guarantee a restore point can remain intact if ransomware strikes.

Simple but effective backups

Designed for high backup performance and ransomware recovery, Ootbi is the first storage appliance explicitly designed for Veeam software and offers immutability out of the box. Minimal setup is required, and the system eliminates the risk of ransomware due to its immutable nature. 

Object First’s Ootbi delivers optimized object storage for Veeam and supports backup data ingest speeds up to 4GB/s. Better yet, the Instant Recovery feature lets users run failed workloads directly from backups within minutes. Such a system provides organizations that use Veeam backup software a much stronger edge in the fight against ransomware. 

In today’s climate, ensuring your organization has a sophisticated and immutable backup has never been more critical. Object First’s solution resolves such concerns with a compact, simple-to-use, and cost-effective offering. Storage buckets, powered by AWS S3 object lock, synchronize with the Veeam v12 direct-to-object storage configuration, in turn, powered by the Smart Object Storage API. This is an OS that’s hardened with no root or backend access. Customers can also rack, stack, and power the system up within minutes, while linear scaling means simply adding more nodes as and when they’re needed.

With ransomware rife and backups increasingly under threat today, there’s no use in hanging onto antiquated systems. On the other hand, adopting an immutable and secure backup system may give you the best chance of keeping ransomware-proof backups from which you can restore data.

Download the whitepaper from Object First for more information, or request a demo.


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