In today’s digital age, businesses need to protect against virtual disasters just as much as physical ones. Four years ago, over one-third of Canadian businesses reported suffering from a known data breach. More recently, the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre has testified before the Canadian Senate’s National Security and Defense Committee about the growing threat of ransomware. As virtual attacks become more and more sophisticated, businesses need a disaster recovery solution they can trust to keep them safe. They’re finding it in the cloud.
Viruses, adware and malware have plagued computers since they’ve been connected to the internet. In recent years, though, a new form of virtual attack has become much more prevalent — and it’s costing companies millions of dollars.
Ransomware isn’t exactly new. Programs that extorted money can be traced back to the PC Cyborg Trojan horse (also known as the AIDS Trojan horse), which was released in 1989. It is within the last 10 years or so, however, that these types of Trojan horses evolved into the serious threats they are today.
Today’s most sophisticated ransomware programs infect computers and encrypt their files. The ransomware then holds the files ransom, hence the name. If businesses don’t pay a set amount of money (usually via bitcoin or another untraceable means), the program threatens to destroy the files.
In some cases, it’s relatively easy to remove the Trojan horse itself. The files remain encrypted and inaccessible even once the ransomware is removed, though. Thus, the ransomware costs businesses regardless of whether they pay the ransom.
In many ways, the latest generation of ransomware programs can be traced back to CryptoLocker. Released in 2013, it extorted about US $3 million ($3.9 million CAD) from individuals and businesses before authorities shut it down. In 2014, CryptoWall was released. It cost businesses US $18 million ($23.6 million CAD), and probably more, according to the FBI. Yet another variant, CryptoBlocker is still extorting businesses for money.
Because ransomware encrypts files so that they’re unreadable without a key, it can be extremely difficult to regain files after a computer is infected. If no encryption key is publicly known, getting back the files without paying can be nigh impossible. Additionally, programs sometimes don’t decrypt files even if the ransom’s paid.
It is, however, extremely easy to protect a business against ransomware attacks. All businesses need to do is to create off-site backups of their files. If there’s another copy of a file that can be imported, then a ransom has no power. The Trojan horse can simply be wiped from a computer and all the files that were on the computer can be imported from the backup copies.
To ensure that ransomware doesn’t encrypt backup copies of files, all backups should be stored on a different network. This is where the cloud comes in. The cloud makes it easy to backup files and store the copies on another company’s servers — and to access those backups if they’re ever needed.
With all files backed up in the cloud, businesses don’t need to worry about ransomware. If their computers become infected, they can easily remove the program and then download unencrypted copies of the files that were compromised.
Businesses that want the most secure backup solution possible will find it in the Microsoft Azure Cloud. Unlike other cloud solutions, the Microsoft Azure Cloud was built and is run by one of the largest pillars in the computing industry: Microsoft. Microsoft takes every measure to ensure that the Azure Cloud is secure. The Microsoft Azure Cloud is protected by:
• Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) requirements that ensured security was at the heart of every phase of the Microsoft Azure Cloud’s design
• Operational Security Assurance (OSA) requirements that ensure that all operational activities adhere to rigorous security standards
• Continual research and advancements in cloud security
Because Microsoft has been so devoted to a secure cloud solution for businesses, the Microsoft Azure Cloud meets more than 30 certification and compliance requirements in countries and industries throughout the world.
Businesses can ill afford to not backup their files, or else they may one day be faced with a ransom demand and not have access to important data they need. To see how your business can protect itself from ransomware by backing up files in the Microsoft Azure Cloud, give us a call at (905) 907-3600.
Our Azure Cloud security experts will gladly explain the systems Microsoft has in place to keep your company’s files secure, and we can even walk you through how your business would recover files if they were ever encrypted by CryptoBlocker or a similar program. You’ll find that the Microsoft Azure Cloud is both a very secure disaster recovery solution, and one that’s very easy to use.
Register for our 1 on 1 Azure Cloud Workshop where our experts will guide you through the many features and benefits of using the Cloud in your business, and how to get the most value from it.