Authored By: Gary Sievers, Vice President, Asia Pacific and Japan, Channel Sales and Alliances at Veritas
Ransomware attacks are not only increasing in frequency but also growing in sophistication. We are witnessing a surge in crippling ransomware attacks against organisations and critical infrastructure across the globe – from the recent Colonial Pipeline saga in the US that sparked panic buying of gas, to the JBS attack where the world’s largest meat processing company had to temporarily shut down some operations in Australia, Canada and the US.
The recent Kaseya VSA attack also demonstrated that end user companies could be caught in the crossfire. According to reports, around 1500 downstream businesses globally were impacted, including Sweden, New Zealand, Indonesia, Canada and the UK, among others.
Resiliency against ransomware is a pressing concern for both organisations and governments alike, with the ransomware community setting its eyes on disrupting businesses and the ability of ordinary people to access critical services and goods. Despite the risks, many organisations continue to struggle with protecting their data stored in complex hybrid multi-cloud environments from ransomware.
Tackling IT complexity in heterogenous environments
According to the 2020 Veritas Ransomware Resiliency Report, 64% of respondents globally said their security have not kept pace with IT complexity, underscoring the need for greater data protection solutions that can protect against ransomware across the edge, core and cloud environments.
The problem is compounded by accelerated digital transformation as organisations look to redefine their go-to-market strategies, spurred by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. By fast-tracking hybrid multi-cloud strategies to manage data more effectively, businesses hope to move faster, be more agile, and reduce time to market. This inevitably introduced more complexity and at a greater speed than IT staff can cope with, leaving them vulnerable to data exploit in the event of a ransomware attack.
Fighting ransomware threats across all fronts
It is vital that organisations work with a trusted advisor to implement a holistic data protection strategy to ensure data is always protected and available.
With the rise of hybrid working, there are new opportunities for channel partners to offer their services. In the face of ever-increasing ransomware threats and multi-cloud complexity, it is crucial for organisations to ensure that their data security needs are well-defended across all fronts, in partnership with a reliable vendor and its channel partners.
Besides helping companies to solve ransomware and multi-cloud challenges, a well-trained and incentivised channel partner is also well-placed to bolster stretched in-house IT teams in navigating the data security threat landscape.
Here are three questions to ask your customers when it comes to assessing their readiness in combating the new wave of ransomware attacks and channel partners can help to play a role:
Is my existing IT infrastructure modernised for data protection?
Any data can be accessed and changed by ransomware – including backup files. For all organisations, immutability of data is critical, to ensure that their data cannot be deleted or tampered with, and information is impermeable against any malicious or accidental attacks.
In the new normal where remote working is here to stay, not all organisations are equipped to ensure that data – which has been disparately spread across remote infrastructure and different applications – is protected, available and stored compliantly. There are opportunities for channel businesses to offer their services for functions that have potential to transition to the partner community in the absence of a physical corporate office.
Is my organisation adopting a comprehensive data protection strategy in an increasingly complex hybrid multi-cloud environment?
What is the weakest link? If your answer is employees, you are right on the money. Surveys have shown that the weakest link in an organisation's data security is their employees or users, with human error or negligence being a leading cause of data breaches. Too many employees still fall prey to phishing scams, fail to set strong passwords or follow cyber-safe protocols.
As organisations rushed to empower a newly remote workforce during the pandemic, security often fell by the wayside. As such, it is vital for organisations to provision for data security coverage across all infrastructure and workloads, including SaaS applications, and monitor the environment from all angles for anomalies. Channel partners who can overlay third-party management and protection solutions onto these cloud environments so that consistent policies can be applied across their customer’s networks, will find themselves on the right side of the cloud protection conversations.
Can my organisation meet the new challenges in the current digital transformation?
Over the course of 2021 with accelerated digital transformation – multi-cloud complexity and spike in ransomware attacks will remain hot topics for organisations. To address these challenges, organisations can lean on channel partners to provide the breadth in terms of solutions and outreach. For instance, resellers can partner with vendors of cloud-agnostic solutions to simplify reporting and ensure holistic best-practice can be enforced.
The right channel partner – one who is constantly providing value-added services and innovative solutions – will understand how the threat landscape is shifting and what solutions can mitigate new variants of ransomware attacks to help strengthen the resiliency of enterprises.
Channel partners can provide timely expertise to organisations and help them prevent further attacks by reviewing their IT health, using solution trials to provide insights into existing issues that have not been fixed or help them prioritise the key threat issues at hand, so that they do not fall victim to attack.
In today’s distributed work environment with data sprawling across the edge, core and the cloud, ransomware threats will only multiply as cyber criminals look to exploit the increased vulnerabilities stemming from IT complexity and a lack of readiness. Companies who can leverage their vendors and channel partners in ensuring protection and availability solutions are up to speed, with multi-layered security, will have a stronger fighting chance in securing their data in the battle against malicious attacks.