Shows backup solutions are critical to fight malware

A recent global survey by Hornetsecurity, a leading European email cloud security provider, has shown that a staggering one in five companies is likely to fall victim to a ransomware attack, in which malicious software (malware) is used with the threat to either publish data, or block access to data or a computer system until the victim pays a ransom fee to the attacker.

“This is particularly pertinent in South Africa, which was named as being in the top three worst-affected countries in Africa – together with Egypt and Tunisia – as regards targeted ransomware attacks for the first quarter of 2021 ,” says Ruan du Preez, Vendor Alliance Director – SA and SADC from Networks Unlimited, an Exclusive Networks company. “This was outlined in Interpol’s African Cyberthreat Assessment Report, released in October 2021.

Ruan du Preez: Networks Unlimited Product Manager, F5

“According to the Interpol report, African organisations also saw the highest increase in ransomware attacks, at 34 percent, during the first quarter of 2021, when compared to the rest of the world . Against this background of local ransomware statistics, the Hornetsecurity report must be carefully considered.”

It’s ugly out there: the global reveal about ransomware

Over 800 IT professionals around the world responded to the Hornetseurity survey, which revealed some of the following facts:

  • The average downtime a company experiences after a ransomware attack is 21 days: While the cost of that downtime alone can be fatal for many companies, this does not take into consideration the cost of data recovery, the payment of the ransom, and long-term brand damage.
  • Nearly one in 10 companies were forced to pay a ransom to recover their data after the ransomware attack: The average amount that companies were forced to pay in 2020 was around $170,400 – over R2.81 million.
  • The most common target of ransomware attacks is to prevent companies from operating: Around 60 percent of reported ransomware attacks affected server infrastructure and network storage
  • Around 15 percent of companies do not protect their backups from ransomware: And yet most, if not all, ransomware attacks could be thwarted as long as a redundant backup schedule is maintained.

Altaro joins the fold: a strategic acquisition

Hornetsecurity’s acquisition of backup solution provider Altaro in March 2021 was a strategic acquisition which strengthened its offering, says Du Preez. “Networks Unlimited distributes Altaro solutions throughout Africa,”he explains, “and the synergies between both companies have resulted in more powerful offerings for clients.

“Altaro develops backup solutions for Hyper-V, VMware, physical servers, network endpoints and Microsoft Office 365, and this is an excellent complement for Hornetsecurity’s email and compliance solutions, particularly in the sphere of Microsoft 365 environments.

“We recommend that backup software should be user-friendly and easy to use, which therefore helps to minimse the existing stress related to an emergency recovery operation. Altaro provides solid backup solutions that are intuitive, easy to use, well-priced and backed by excellent support.”

Du Preez notes that ransomware attacks usually start through a user opening an infected file. “User education is therefore a critical tool in ransomware mitigation,” he adds. “In addition, it’s important to note that in many cases, a ransom demand comes with a deadline, and if the victim doesn’t pay in time, the data is gone forever or the ransom increases. It also occurs that sometimes, the ransom is paid and the data is still not released.

“Properly protected backups will save your organisation if ransomware strikes. Altaro solutions enable MSPs to manage different kinds of backups, such as VMs, Office 365, physical servers and endpoints, across all their customers from a single pane of glass, simplifying their operations,” he concludes.

More information about Networks Unlimited.