Defending Against Ransomware with Immutable Backup

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Today, digitalization enterprises rely on data like blood, and it is becoming the most lucrative source for attackers. As we all know, ransomware is a myriad of malware that encrypts your data and takes it hostage, demanding money in the form of ransom from the company. Due to its high level of development, ransomware is becoming dangerous daily.

With IT professionals increasingly realizing that mutable backup structures are no longer an adequate line of defense against ransomware and other infiltrations, an ardent approach to defense in depth is beginning to favor immutable backups.

This article explores the concept of immutable backups, how they can be a game-changer in the fight against ransomware, and the benefits they offer.

What Are Immutable Backups?

Immutable means that it cannot or will not change. So, an immutable backup is a backup copy of your data that users, administrators, applications, or systems cannot change.

Immutability makes it easier to protect against most of the usual ways data gets corrupted or deleted, whether from malicious viruses and ransomware through simple administrative errors to deliberate sabotage or flat-out software bugs.

All organizations need immutable backups, but enterprises and other big players that are tightly regulated under strict data protection legislation, such as in healthcare or the financial world, need them absolutely. Law enforcement agencies also routinely use immutable backup to maintain evidential video and audio data.

How Immutable Backups Work

Many immutable backups immediately copy data bits to the cloud when a user creates them. In the cloud, users can also mark the system to “mothball” the data for 50 years or forever. Once sealed, the data can be read many times but not written again, even by the sysadmins themselves.

Although the cloud is already air-gapped from an enterprise’s primary storage, it is behind an onsite data center firewall. However, the cloud offers remote everywhere access and easy recovery compared to physical tape media that could take days to retrieve from an archive across the country.

An immutable backup system, which retains a predefined number of snapshots, is kept so that an organization always has at least one clean, recent copy of its data to restore during an attack or some other unplanned occurrence.

Prevent Ransomware and Other Attacks on Backups

Traditional data backups fall short in this regard. They cannot defend against something as targeted as ransomware or other deliberate efforts to change or remove data. Common protection measures like file permissions and access control lists are part of overall data security but can be circumvented.

Creating immutable backups goes a long way to ensuring an organization is partially immune from ransomware and many other types of attacks. An attacker may attempt to use it as an enticement and a ransom. Attackers want to hold the organization’s data hostage, yet the effect becomes null once an organization has been able to recover its data using a dependable backup that can be used for all scenarios.

Other Benefits of Immutable Backup

Immutable backups, in addition to safekeeping data from ransomware and other types of threats, also provide advantages like:

  • Peace of Mind for Assured Data Integrity: Organizations gain peace of mind when they know their data can be trusted and will not be lost or corrupted.
  • Easier compliance: Even though the guidance and mandates are a nightmare of complexity, storing an immutable copy of key information, particularly highly controlled details (regulated by governmental regulation, for instance), can make complying with them far simpler
  • Preventing accidental data changes: There is no chance of unintentionally changing data since immutable backups cannot be changed in any way, even by sysadmins.

Implementing Immutable Backup

The right way to create an immutable backup system is to start with the questions and fully comprehend what a sustainable business-technical approach would look like in your environment. Determining what you need for data protection can be an exhaustive process, and specifying and implementing a scenario to test that solution will again take a lot of conversation.

Here is some best practice advice to implement your immutable backup solution:

  • Preserve your data integrity by saving it on a platform that could make alterations or remove data. Object storage can be a good solution for this, which most organizations prefer.
  • So configure a ‘zero trust ‘ access policy that ensures every single user must verify themselves through whatever measures (maybe it’s multi-factor authentication) you have chosen before they can access the backups.
  • The backup is not the final solution; it should be part of a well-rounded defense against ransomware that would help to increase resiliency. This includes additional advanced data protection tools and personnel trained in data security.
  • Get ransomware identified in the early stage through its behavior anomaly detection facilities.
  • Take the time to create auto alerts and mitigation responses in your backup systems so that the pattern of infections does not continue post-lockdown hours when no employees will be onsite.
  • When an attack is identified, establish scalable remediation policies to take action against the attacker, e.g., automatically blocking that client session or IP address.
  • Simplify recovery by preserving WORM immutable backups. Prevent re-infecting data by scanning your backup for signs of tampering or malware before restoration.
  • Generate an impact analysis report of the attack that will assist in the recovery process and prepare for any new possible attack in the future.
  • Detecting ransomware in its early stages is vital to prevent widespread damage. Implement behavior anomaly detection tools to identify unusual patterns indicative of a ransomware attack. Early detection allows quicker response times and mitigates the potential impact on your data and systems.

Conclusion

This means the organization uses immutable backups as part of a more comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, which would include regular backup testing and offsite, isolated storage, and additional security measures complementary to one another. This makes immutable backups a crucial piece of the modern cybersecurity defense puzzle. They protect data integrity and guarantee quick restoration, helping meet compliance regulations and ultimately making organizations more resilient in this persistent ransomware threat landscape.