In this digital era, organizations rely heavily on personal data to gain valuable insights into customer behavior. However, this has raised concerns about data security. The impact of a single breach can be severe, compromising critical organizational data and the personal information of thousands of people. Recent paradigm shifts and radical changes in workplace access have further complicated the scenario.
A few alarming statistics highlight the scale and consequences of cyber threats. In 2021, approximately 37% of global organizations experienced ransomware attacks. Cybersecurity Ventures that damages from cybercrime will reach $9.5 trillion annually by 2024. The global ransomware protection market is projected to surpass $46 billion by 2028, with a CAGR of 16.6%.
As organizations acknowledge the inevitability of security breaches, they invest significant resources in adopting robust data security measures to safeguard information and instill stakeholder confidence. Implementing effective data protection measures can mitigate potential data breach costs and ensure compliance with industry and regulatory standards.
Implementing data protection strategies: The first line of defense
Today’s organizations fall into two categories: those that have already experienced cyberattacks and those that will be targeted in the future. Organizations must also take definitive steps to strengthen their defenses and adopt a “never trust, always verify” philosophy in their cybersecurity practices.
Building cyber resilience strategies around data protection can help them bolster their defenses and adhere to stringent verification processes. This way, businesses can mitigate the impact of ransomware attacks and safeguard their valuable assets. Enterprises can adopt the following primary steps to secure their data:
Securing RDP and enabling MFA
Organizations should secure Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) by implementing solid and unique passwords and regularly updating them. Additionally, enabling multifactor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security, reducing the risk of unauthorized access through biometric verification or one-time passwords.
Blocking TCP and turning off user-level command line capabilities
Blocking the TCP port 445, which attackers commonly exploit, can reduce the attack surface drastically. Also, turning off user-level command line capabilities makes it difficult for hackers to utilize free software and scanning tools, impeding their ability to exploit any vulnerabilities.
Active Directory (AD) contains critical customer environment data and must be secured with strong security controls and access management to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches.
Enhancing and training the workforce
Comprehensive cyber awareness training is essential for employees to understand and adhere to cybersecurity best practices. Conducting enablement workshops further empowers employees to actively contribute to maintaining a secure work environment.
Regular software updates and promptly applying patches to operating systems and other software empower organizations to create a strong barrier against potential attacks, enhancing their overall security posture.
Building cyber resilience: Choosing resilience over ransom payments
However, more than implementing traditional security measures is required to ensure complete infrastructure protection. Criminal groups continue to leverage more advanced techniques to infiltrate the network, find and encrypt the data and demand huge sums of money to return the decryption key. The situation is worsened by attackers who neglect to address system vulnerabilities even after receiving ransom payments. They may even share system loopholes with other attackers, exacerbating the risks faced by the organization.
Venafi, a cybersecurity supplier, corroborated this, highlighting that ransomware groups failed to provide the decryption key or delivered an ineffective key in approximately 35% of cases. Paying these criminals is not an effective strategy. Instead, organizations must adopt advanced proactive measures to prioritize cyber resilience and strengthen their defenses against ransomware attacks.
To combat this, backup vendors have implemented additional safeguards. They have introduced measures to render data "immutable" within backup locations, ensuring that even during an attack, data integrity remains intact and unauthorized modifications are prevented. Furthermore, organizations are advised to separate their backup and recovery tools physically and logically from production systems. This segregation strategy establishes a cyber vault, safeguarding critical organizational data from malicious actors.
The way forward: Partnering for resilience
Businesses can ensure a robust cybersecurity posture by addressing the dimensions of assets, people, technology and process/compliance. Furthermore, it's essential to have a holistic view of cybersecurity, which includes defending against threats and ensuring the continuity of critical operations in the face of evolving cyber threats.
At HCLTech, we understand the critical importance of safeguarding your organization against the escalating threat of ransomware attacks. Our comprehensive cybersecurity solutions cover the entire spectrum of protection by drawing on our extensive knowledge, expertise and commitment to effectiveness. Organizations must adopt advanced proactive tools and technologies to thrive in the future digital business landscape. But more importantly, they must foster a culture that understands and prioritizes cybersecurity with a trusted and experienced partner at the helm. This is the only way of supercharging their security and ensuring continuous business innovation.