Cyber Resilience Gaps and Ransom Payment Contemplation

Cyber Resilience Gaps and Ransom Payment Contemplation

By Greg Tavarez

Organizations that fall victim to a ransomware attack and have data stolen, encrypted or destroyed feel the devastating impact. Without access to critical data, the organization's ability to function effectively and serve its customers or clients is hindered. Ransomware attacks disrupt processes, compromise sensitive information and bring operations to a halt. As a result, recovery becomes the top priority; the longer it takes to restore the systems, the more damage is done.

To address these challenges, a comprehensive approach to data security and management becomes essential. This involves implementing a robust cybersecurity strategy that includes proactive measures to prevent attacks, such as regular software updates, employee training on cybersecurity best practices and network monitoring for unusual activities. Organizations also need to maintain secure backups of their data that are regularly updated and stored offline to protect against ransomware attacks that seek to encrypt or destroy data.

Having a well-thought-out incident response plan in place can significantly reduce the impact of an attack and enable a swift recovery. This plan should involve dedicated cybersecurity teams that can quickly assess the situation, isolate infected systems and restore data from secure backups. Regular testing and updating of the incident response plan are crucial to ensure it remains effective against evolving threats.

The reality of where businesses stand with incident response plans is stark, however.

New research commissioned by Cohesity revealed that most businesses do not have the necessary cyber resilience strategies or data security capabilities required to address today’s escalating cyber threats and maintain business continuity. In fact, 80% expressed concerns about their organization’s cyber resilience strategy and whether it can address today’s escalating cyber challenges and threats.

Adding to that, their cyber resilience efforts are not keeping pace with cyber threats, with data security and recovery technology deficiencies reducing cyber insurance eligibility and increasing the fallout of a successful attack.

What is more troubling is when asked how long their organization would take to recover data and business processes if a cyberattack occurred, over 95% of respondents revealed their business would need over 24 hours, 71% said it would take more than four days, while 41% of respondents said over a week would be required.

Read those stats again. Not great, right?

“Companies cannot afford to be offline and unable to maintain operations, especially for more than a day,” said Brian Spanswick, Chief Information Security Officer and head of IT, Cohesity. “However, the stark reality is that many organizations are vulnerable to leverage from cyber criminals because they are incapable of rapidly recovering their data and business processes when necessary.”

They are vulnerable due to various barriers. Respondents said their top three challenges were integration between IT and security systems, a lack of coordination between IT and security and antiquated backup and recovery systems.

Further clarity was provided by respondents regarding their ability to secure their data estates, with less than half stating they are confident all their data stored in the cloud or at the edge is secure and protected, and less than 30% are confident data stored on-premises is secure and protected.

The confidence (or lack of confidence) is worrisome, especially with cybercrime predicted to cost the world $8 trillion annually. And organizations can’t necessarily turn to cyber insurance as a protection strategy because it’s more difficult to obtain cyber insurance today than it was three years ago.

So, despite it being a last resort, 90% of respondents said their business would consider paying a ransom, with close to three-fourths saying “yes” their organization would pay, if it meant being able to recover data and business processes or recover faster. This links back to what Spanswick said about how organizations cannot be offline for a long period of time. The impact is potentially devastating.

Despite these alarming findings that were revealed in this report, organizations can strengthen cyber resilience in the face of escalating threats. Two concrete ways to drive cyber resilience include greater collaboration and deeper insights.

According to 87% of respondents, data and cybersecurity vendors must collaborate to deliver comprehensive and integrated anti-ransomware solutions. When vendors unite in their efforts to combat ransomware and develop integrated solutions supporting clean recovery endeavors, organizations reap significant benefits.

Enhanced cyber resilience not only benefits the organizations themselves but also the customers they serve and the industries they operate in. Moreover, in an era where nation-state actors engage in more cybercrimes, countering these attacks and fortifying resilience proves vital for global security.

Beyond the advantages of vendor collaboration, 90% of respondents believe their organizations would profit from a data security and management platform providing insights into their overall security posture and cyber resilience. These valuable insights enable organizations to reduce the risk of operational disruptions and enhance their ability to withstand cyberattacks. Additionally, they facilitate the expediency and ease of audits for compliance with industry and privacy regulations.

“Relying on traditional backup and recovery systems, which lack modern data security capabilities, in today’s sophisticated cyber threat landscape is a recipe for disaster,” said Spanswick. “Instead, organizations should seek out data security and management platforms that integrate with their existing cybersecurity solutions and provide visibility into their security posture and improve cyber resilience.”

Organizations that engage with vendors who collaborate, partner, and integrate their cybersecurity and data security solutions will experience enhanced resilience against cyber incidents and reduce their operational risks. And those utilizing data security and management platforms with comprehensive insights on their security posture will be better equipped to withstand threats and recover with confidence.

Edited by Alex Passett
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