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Why organizations must detect ransomware as early as possible

Anomaly detection to identify changes in an environment that warrants the attention of IT is a must.

A pattern of data, taken at the Barbican Centre, London. Image by Tim Sandle
A pattern of data, taken at the Barbican Centre, London. Image by Tim Sandle

A digital data backup strategy is not something to focus on just one day of the year. It should be a part of your cyber hygiene. This is in the context of rising ransomware attacks and other threats to data security.

The back-up process should extend beyond files and databases, and include the back up of operating systems, applications, and configuration.

Looking into the importance of backing-up data and having systems in place for the recovery of digital data is  JG Heithcock, GM, Retrospect, a StorCentric Company.

Commenting to Digital Journal, Heithcock  says: “On World Backup Day we are reminded of the myriad reasons a sound data backup strategy and proven solutions are critical to the success of virtually all organizations, as it is a given that at some point most will suffer a failure, disaster or cyber-attack.”

There are issues that will affect any attack outcome. Here Heithcock warns: “However, given the world’s economic and political climate, the customers I speak with are most concerned about their ability to detect and recover from a malicious ransomware attack.”

As to what is to be done, Heithcock recommends: “My advice to these customers is that beyond protection, organizations must be able to detect ransomware as early as possible to stop the threat and ensure their ability to remediate and recover.”

As to what this constitutes, Heithcock advises: “A backup solution that includes anomaly detection to identify changes in an environment that warrants the attention of IT is a must. Administrators must be able to tailor anomaly detection to their business’s specific systems and workflows, with capabilities such as customizable filtering and thresholds for each of their backup policies.”

Furthermore, another thing to note is that “those anomalies must be immediately reported to management, as well as aggregated for future machine learning or analyzing purposes”, says Heithcock.

Heithcock’s final element of advice runs: “The next step after detecting the anomaly is providing the ability to recover in the event of a successful ransomware attack. This is best accomplished with an immutable backup copy of data (also known as object locking) which makes certain that the data backup cannot be altered or changed in any way.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, 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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