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What businesses need to do for Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021

Bad actors can now rather easily use ransomware to infiltrate your network and render all forms of traditional backup useless.

Office computer, taken in Elstree, UK. Image by Tim Sandle
Office computer, taken in Elstree, UK. Image by Tim Sandle

In the U.S., the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has designated October 2021 as ‘Cybersecurity Awareness Month’. The objective is to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and ensure that all individuals and organizations have the information and tools they need to be safer and more secure online.

This year’s theme is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” To understand more about the aims of the camping, Digital Journal caught up withSurya Varanasi, CTO, StorCentric.

Varanasi places the current risks in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, noting: “Driven in large part by the COVID pandemic, massive layoffs, and record numbers of people being sent home virtually overnight to work, learn, shop and live, the number of successful cyberattacks climbed to dizzying heights.”

In terms of the extent of the risk, Varanasi  finds: “In fact, recent IDC research indicated that over the past year, more than one third of organizations worldwide experienced a ransomware attack or breach that successfully blocked access to systems or data.”

Suh a risk remains costly to businesses, as Varanasi recounts: “And for those that fell victim, many experienced multiple ransomware events. With cybercrime projected to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, it is clear why ensuring your organization is taking the appropriate measures to ensure cyber safety and security must become priority number one.”

This situation requires new tactics, Varanasi  recommends. She states: “Traditionally, the game plan has been to maintain production data storage on-site, snapshot the data, replicate to an off-site location, store it to a disk, and then move it to tape storage and/or the cloud. Unfortunately, cybercriminals know this and have engineered their technology to behave accordingly. Bad actors can now rather easily use ransomware to infiltrate your network and render all forms of traditional backup useless.”

In terms of concrete recommendations for business, Varanasi sets out the agenda: “Today, what is required is an elevation in backup strategy from basic to unbreakable. In other words, for today’s ransomware threat what’s needed is to make backed up data immutable, thereby eliminating any way it can be deleted or corrupted.”

To these recommendations, she adds: “Unbreakable Backup can do just that by creating an immutable, secure format that also stores the admin keys in another location entirely for added protection.”

Finally, Varanasi  says that having something straightforward is key: “And, by layering-on a backup solution that has built-in verification, savvy SysAdmins can alleviate their worry about their ability to recover — and redirect their time and attention to activities that more directly impact their organization’s bottom-line objectives.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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