Ransomware Recovery: The Importance of Object Storage

In an era characterised by the rising prevalence and complexity of ransomware attacks, organisations across a broad spectrum of industries are facing heightened threats. Cybercriminals, armed with encryption tools, seize an organisation’s data, holding it hostage for ransom. The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2023 by the UK government reported that in the past 12 months, 32% of businesses and 24% of charities recall experiencing breaches or cyberattacks. These numbers are significantly higher for medium-sized businesses at 59%, large businesses at 69%, and high-income charities with annual incomes of £500,000 or more, where the figure stands at 56%. 

Ransomware threats are constantly evolving, and so should our defence strategies. From our experience working with several organisations, we have realised that an effective countermeasure calls for robust, dynamic strategies focused on ransomware recovery. A key element in these strategies is object storage – a secure, scalable data storage solution. 

We delve into the significance of object storage in the context of ransomware recovery – exploring how it can empower organisations to mitigate the potential fallout from ransomware attacks by employing industry best practices in file data security. 

What is object storage? 

Before diving into its role in ransomware recovery, it’s essential to understand what object storage is. Object storage is a method of storing and managing data as distinct, self-contained objects. These objects contain both the data itself and metadata that describes the data’s attributes and relationships. Unlike traditional file systems or block storage, which organise data into hierarchical file structures or fixed-size blocks, object storage treats data as individual, unique entities, each with its own identifier or ‘object ID.’ 

Object storage systems are highly scalable, making them ideal for storing vast amounts of unstructured data, such as images, videos, documents, and backups. It is a modern data storage and management approach characterised by scalability, metadata-driven organisation, data immutability, high availability, efficient retrieval, and robust access controls. Its unique features make it a valuable asset in the realm of data protection and ransomware recovery, providing a secure and resilient foundation for safeguarding critical organisational data. 

Empowering ransomware recovery with object storage 

In the relentless battle against ransomware, organisations are seeking more than just defence—they are striving for empowerment in the face of cyber threats. Object storage, a modern data storage solution, emerges as a powerful ally in this endeavour. Its multifaceted capabilities fortify ransomware recovery strategies, bolstering data security, accessibility, and resilience. Through the below attributes, organisations can regain control and swiftly restore their data integrity in the aftermath of ransomware attacks. 

  • Data immutability: One of the primary reasons object storage is invaluable in ransomware recovery is its ability to support data immutability. Immutability means that once data is written to object storage, it cannot be modified, deleted, or encrypted by unauthorised users, including ransomware attackers. This inherent protection prevents ransomware from compromising your backup data, ensuring that a clean and unaltered copy of your data is readily available for recovery. This approach ensures that even in the face of sophisticated attacks, the integrity of your data remains intact. 
  • Versioning and snapshotting: Object storage systems often offer versioning and snapshotting capabilities. These features allow organisations to maintain multiple copies or versions of their data at different points in time. In the event of a ransomware attack, you can revert to a previous, unaffected version of your data, minimising data loss and downtime. These capabilities are essential for an effective ransomware recovery strategy – enabling rapid recovery by offering clean and uninfected data snapshots. 
  • Geographic distribution and redundancy: Object storage systems are designed for high availability and redundancy. They can replicate data across multiple geographic locations, ensuring that your data remains accessible even if one location is compromised by a ransomware attack. This geographical distribution reduces the risk of a single point of failure and enhances data resilience by ensuring that your data remains available and unaffected even in the face of regional disruptions – a critical factor in ransomware recovery. 
  • Isolation and air-gapping: To protect against ransomware, organisations often create air-gapped backups, isolating them from the production environment to prevent malware from spreading. Object storage systems can facilitate this by physically isolating backup data from the primary network. This isolation ensures that even if ransomware infects your production environment, your backup data remains safe and recoverable – creating a barrier that ransomware cannot breach, safeguarding your backup data. 
  • Rapid recovery: Object storage’s scalability and distributed nature enable rapid data recovery. In the aftermath of a ransomware attack, quick recovery is crucial to minimising downtime and financial losses. With object storage, you can swiftly retrieve your data from multiple redundant copies stored across different locations, getting your operations back on track more efficiently. Object storage’s distributed architecture ensures that recovery is both fast and reliable, minimising business disruption. 
  • Encryption and access controls: Object storage systems offer robust encryption options and access controls. You can encrypt data both at rest and in transit, protecting it from unauthorised access, even if ransomware attackers gain access to the storage infrastructure. Fine-grained access controls further enhance security, ensuring that only authorised personnel can manage and access critical data – effectively providing an additional layer of protection to thwart attackers’ attempts to compromise your data.

Next steps 

When it comes to protecting against and recovering from these threats, a comprehensive ransomware recovery strategy isn’t simply a nice-to-have, it’s essential. Whilst many organisations strive to prevent ransomware attacks, the reality is that threat actors often stay one step ahead. Over 90% of an organisation’s effort goes into ransomware prevention and detection, with the assumption that recovery will inevitably be successful. 

However, the previously undervalued concept of object storage is now gaining recognition among organisations. By incorporating object storage – with its capabilities for data immutability, versioning, redundancy, isolation, swift recovery, and robust security measures – into their cybersecurity and data protection strategies, organisations can significantly enhance their resilience against ransomware threats, thereby safeguarding their valuable data and business operations. 

But how can an organisation measure its recovery preparedness? 

With our Ransomware Recovery Readiness assessment, we can help organisations gauge their readiness to bounce back successfully from a cyberattack. By using the R-Score™ Framework developed by HYCU, a sophisticated system that provides organisations with a ‘FICO-like’ score ranging from 0 to 1000, organisations can pinpoint their strengths and identify areas that need improvement.  Learn more about it here. 

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