Home Business Insights & Advice Ransomware defence for backups: Practical steps to ensure protection

Ransomware defence for backups: Practical steps to ensure protection

by Sarah Dunsby
24th Jan 24 3:32 pm

Running a company, like life, is full of surprises. There are genuine dangers that might create issues. One such severe danger is the loss of vital data.

Data loss may occur due to various circumstances, including accidental deletion, ransomware attacks, and insider threats. Data backup solutions are critical for protecting yourself from these attacks. These backups serve as a digital replica of your data, enabling you to recover it if anything goes wrong. They are beneficial for ransomware attacks since they guarantee that your data is always accessible during an attack.

Before we go into the measures for remaining secure from ransomware using data backup, let’s first define a ransomware attack.

What is a ransomware attack?

A ransomware attack is a kind of malicious cyber activity in which attackers encrypt the data and systems of a victim, rendering them useless. Attackers then demand a ransom for the decryption key required to unlock the hacked data. These attackers use a variety of tactics to gain access to computers, including phishing, infecting software downloads, and so on.

In today’s digital world, ransomware attacks are a clear and present menace. As a result, enterprises must adopt proactive steps such as backup and recovery solutions.

Practical steps to ensure protection from ransomware attack

The capacity of ransomware to get further into an organisation’s infrastructure rises as it advances. Backups have always been seen as the ultimate safeguard against data loss caused by ransomware. Nonetheless, current ransomware strains may identify backup files and encrypt or erase them. This implies that if your defenses are compromised, your main data and backups may become unreachable.

Fortunately, as ransomware evolves, so does cybersecurity technology, giving you a higher chance to protect backup from ransomware. Nonetheless, this ongoing process demands care, preparation, and the use of current technologies and tactics.

Here are some essential steps:

Develop a comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP)

A Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is an essential tool for enterprises to use to defend against unforeseen interruptions and guarantee that company activities can continue in the face of adversity. It requires a comprehensive combination of risk assessment, business effect assessments, and recovery plans. Communication protocols, job assignments, and recovery methods should all be outlined in the DRP. It should also prioritise data backup, determine optimal backup frequencies, and enable testing and access to backup data. A well-designed DRP prepares businesses for interruptions and enables a quick, efficient recovery.

Maintain off-site and offline backups

Geographic redundancy is critical in disaster preparation, both natural and artificial. Off-site backups, whether in physical storage or a secure cloud environment, provide a safety net if a main location is hacked. This strategy defends against regional disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, and prolonged power outages. Offline backups, which are not always linked to the main network, are critical for defending against ransomware and network-based intrusions. A strong protection plan is created by combining off-site and offline backups.

Implement multi-site backup storage

A reliable backup system is built on redundancy. Businesses improve data availability by diversifying storage sites, even when one backup repository has issues. Multi-location backup entails producing numerous independent copies of data, each isolated from the others.

This may include on-premises, cloud backups, and third-party physical storage facilities. Each location has its advantages: whereas cloud backups give scalability and ease of access, physical locations provide actual security and isolation. The concept is simple: if one backup fails, the others continue functioning normally, maintaining continuity.

Maintain consistent software updates

Software is critical to the functioning of enterprises, but it also has flaws that hackers exploit. Regular software updates are critical for security since they address known flaws and close doors to prospective hackers. From operating platforms to backup systems, this approach applies to all systems. Because an out-of-date backup system might provide indirect access to key systems, frequent software upgrades and attentive monitoring protect enterprises from growing cyber threats.

Train and educate your team

An organisation’s security posture is only as strong as its weakest link, which is often the human aspect. Employees who work with vital systems daily are potential candidates for cyber-attacks. Regular training sessions improve this human firewall by teaching staff how to identify phishing efforts, maintain strong password ethics, and adhere to proper digital practices. A cybersecurity awareness culture guarantees that security becomes second nature.

Restriction on backup data access

According to the principle of least privilege, individuals should only have access to the information they need to execute their tasks. Because backup data is vital, it should be handled with extreme care.

Organisations lower the danger of internal threats, unintended data modifications, and data theft by restricting access. Robust monitoring and strict access restrictions can track, dissuade, and even block illegal access attempts.

Perform regular backup tests

Organisations must do regular backup testing to verify data integrity and the feasibility of the restoration procedure. These tests establish the data’s ability to be restored and educate IT professionals on the restoration procedure, providing quick and flawless recovery in times of crisis. They may be seen as data fire drills, preparing the team for probable difficulties while maintaining data security.

Other best practices for ransomware backup protection

Ransomware attacks are becoming more complex, and the threat environment is always changing. While having a solid backup plan is critical, it’s also critical to protect these backups proactively.

Here are some advanced practices that businesses should think about:

Layered defence strategy

“Defence in depth” is a core cybersecurity idea that recommends deploying numerous security measures to avoid possible attacks. Firewalls monitor and manage network traffic by security regulations. Malicious software may be detected, quarantined, and eliminated using anti-malware programs equipped with superior threat intelligence. Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) examine network traffic for unusual patterns that may signal a security attack. These systems are critical for quick reaction, threat mitigation, and network security.

Use encryption

Backups are critical for data security, but they must also be protected. Encryption converts readable data into indecipherable coded data without the necessary decryption key. At-rest encryption guarantees that stored data stays safe even if physically accessible, while in-transit encryption prevents data from being captured during transfers between sites, defeating eavesdropping efforts.

Implement a Zero Trust Model

With the increase of insider threats and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), the Zero Trust Model, a security approach focusing on verifying everything, is becoming more important. This paradigm includes strong authentication, limiting user access to the bare minimum for their tasks, and segmenting the network into smaller, isolated portions. This strategy ensures that users’ credentials are only compromised for the roles they have been given, minimising potential impact.

Monitor and alert

In today’s digital world, advanced monitoring technologies are critical for detecting abnormalities and preventing ransomware attacks. Real-time monitoring guarantees that abnormalities are noticed immediately, and automatic warning methods, such as emails or alerts, aid in response time. Modern monitoring technologies also use artificial intelligence to learn normal activity patterns, alerting users when unexpected data access patterns are found—this proactive protection layer aids in preventing minor offenses from becoming significant breaches.


Finally, protecting against ransomware requires a holistic strategy based on solid data backup solutions. Organisations may enhance their defenses by actively implementing the above-mentioned strategies, assuring data integrity and resilience in the face of emerging cyber threats.

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