Reducing the Impact of Ransomware WIth Immutable Backups

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Introduction

Ransomware is showing no signs on slowing down, so it is more important than ever to revise your backup strategy.  This post will introduce immutable backup methods and explain how it can help your company recover from ransomware, insider threats, accidents, and errors.

Immutable backups are backups that cannot be erased or overwritten with software. Normal backups are often stored on HDD/SSDs or in the cloud, but these methods are vulnerable to erasure both by accident and malicious intent.

The need for Immutable Backups

When ransomware spreads across an organization, it identifies storage devices, backups, and cloud services to encrypt at a later time. This means that when ransomware strikes, it often hits everything in your organization at once. You do not have time to restore backups if they are overwritten at the same time as your main storage. With an immutable backup, anything short of physical failure of the storage medium will not be able to erase the data. This is because immutable backup hardware employs Write Once Read Many (WORM), meaning the data can be written exactly once. The down sides are that it can be expensive if you have a lot of data and that secure data erasure requires physical destruction.

Aside from ransomware, other threats to your data include accidents such as accidental overwrites, trojans, and disgruntled insiders.

Methods of Immutable Backup

There are various methods of immutable backups, each with their own benefits and cons.

WORM-enabled Tapes

Linear Tape Open (LTO) cartridges are an affordable way to conduct immutable backups. They are slow compared to other storage types, but this is generally acceptable as they are meant for long term storage. LTO requires special drives to use the cartridges that standard office workstations and servers are often not equipped with.

CD-R/DVD-R

This classic method of data storage was at one time ubiquitous. For many purposes it has been supplanted by the cloud and flash storage, but it is still useful for immutable backups and since many machines have the ability to read/write CDs it can be easy to start using them for backups in an organization. The downsides to them are that they are not as information-dense as other mediums and are more physically fragile.

Cloud backups

One can configure cloud storage to not allow deletion/modification for a specific time period. The price depends on the specific cloud service and usage amount, and typically bills separately for storage size and bandwidth usage. This method is a great way to do offsite immutable backups, and can often be easily integrated into your company given that you are probably already using cloud storage.

Conclusion

Immutable backups are a key element in preventing data loss, and is one of the best things you can do to mitigate the impact of ransomware on your company.

Purple Folder can help you plan, setup, and regularly test your backups. Get in touch with us or plan a consultation today to secure your company against ransomware and other threats.

 

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