Backing Up Your Data in Microsoft 365 #2: Handling a Ransomware Attack

Backing Up M365 Data

Handling a Ransomware Attack

Backing Up Your Data in Microsoft 365 #2: Handling a Ransomware Attack

Last year, a week could hardly go by without news of a new ransomware attack. Businesses bore the brunt of the attacks, with an alarming 365 percent rise in cases. Unnerving as that sounds, this year is predicted to be even worse.

Since ransomware attacks target an organization’s data, one of the biggest concerns is how and where your files are stored. Because the sky-high adoption rates of Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) are piquing the interest of hackers, it is important for users to understand how a ransomware attack could affect their organization.

This brings us to the power of the backup. In this second installation of our series on use case scenarios for a third-party backup data storage and recovery solution, we’ll be talking about ransomware attacks. Let’s get started.

Ransomware Attacks Are More Sophisticated Than Ever

Microsoft does release ransomware detection features and offers solutions for recovery, but cybercriminals have proven to be particularly good at staying a step ahead in the race. And why wouldn’t they be? The stakes are high because data is a valuable, critical asset for any organization in today’s digital era. The larger the organization and the more capital assets they have, the bigger the ransom can be.

That presents a tough challenge for enterprise software. Larger organizations are more likely to be using enterprise software and systems like Microsoft 365 which is why Microsoft’s products (and, more recently, their cloud services) have been the preferred target for cybercriminals for decades.

Cybercriminals that deploy ransomware will infiltrate, copy, and encrypt an organization’s data, rendering it useless or inaccessible until the ransom is paid. Meanwhile, the original files are deleted. At that point, there is really not much you can do beyond paying the ransom and hoping for the best.

Beware the False Security of Microsoft’s Built-in Capabilities

It is clear that businesses have to do something to protect themselves before an attack occurs. Let’s consider this scenario that is, unfortunately, becoming all too familiar to IT staff in enterprise, healthcare, and government organizations in the 21st century.

Someone in your marketing department opens a document emailed to him from a “former business colleague” promising to offer valuable information about an upcoming event he’s scheduled to attend. After he opens the document he brings it out of read-only mode, therefore enabling the macros. At this point, his device starts to behave strangely. First, he sees some text files on his desktop that were not there before. Next, he cannot open his SharePoint or OneDrive files. Finally, he hears from a co-worker that the SharePoint files she needs for a meeting are corrupt.

After your IT team pieces together these unusual events, you start to feel a sense of panic – you realize that your organization is experiencing a ransomware attack. The individual from the marketing department unwittingly served as the vector of attack by falling victim to an email phishing scam. From any perspective, it does not look good. If this attack were anything like WannaCry, the entire network would soon be shut down, slowing operations to a grinding halt.

For a fleeting moment, it occurs to you that there is a glimmer of hope. Doesn’t Microsoft provide built-in protection against data loss? Unfortunately, the protections they offer are limited. As it currently stands, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business do not protect against a scenario like the one above.

Unfortunately, the damage has been done - the network has been infiltrated. A great deal of files within your network have been encrypted and are now totally inaccessible to everyone in your organization. Your applications, which rely heavily on data, go down and nobody can get work done. Your CEO is envisioning money flying out the window as the hours tick by and productivity plummets.

In situations like this, it is not only crucial to recover but to recover quickly. As you work to restore your data, you realize that your most recent restore point was five days ago. That is five days’ worth of data and documents, lost. Reverting to those files is going to make a lot of people very unhappy. Paying that ransom is beginning to look like a good idea. But you cringe, thinking of the money your company is losing by paying the ransom, not to mention what it is costing in lost productivity. In some cases, cyber criminals are making off with millions of dollars after a single ransomware attack. Emboldened by an increase in the rate of organizations that are willing to pay to get their data back, criminals are raising the price of their ransom.

Secure Your Most Important Information with BackupSimple from SoftwareONE

To fully protect your Microsoft 365 data from ransomware attacks, back up everything to a secure location offsite. SoftwareONE’s BackupSimple solution has been crafted to ensure that you always have a fresh backup of your files and data. So, even if you are targeted by ransomware, you have a way to keep operations going and keep productivity levels high.

The BackupSimple platform is not hosted onsite so even if your network is compromised, your data is safe. What’s more, the data stored in the BackupSimple repository can be recovered quickly so your Microsoft 365 service is restored within defined SLAs. This means operations continue running smoothly and the loss in productivity and revenue is limited.

Plus, we aim to provide you with a consistent and compliant backup process. We understand every organization has its own backup policies and security obligations which is why we work to align BackupSimple with your organization’s unique needs. This way, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing your organization has ongoing backup compliance.

Last but not least, we create a remote workplace solution that is built to last. With BackupSimple you plan for a comprehensive and streamlined data recovery - centralizing all of your backup needs and providing a single secure, scalable and resilient platform which you own. With our special BackupSimple offer we make sure you stay in control of your data with no onboarding costs and the first 6 months free.

Defend Against Future Attacks

Cyber attackers will always devise newer, better versions of ransomware to exploit new vulnerabilities in the apps used within your organization. Aside from practicing good cybersecurity hygiene, your only other defense is backing up your files and data somewhere other than your network. And when you enlist the help of SoftwareONE, we make sure you have everything you need to stay safe and secure.

Discover All the Ways You Can Back Up Your M365 Data

To learn more about how BackupSimple has you covered, download our eBook “Backing Up Your Data in M365,” where we cover cloud backup and storage for Microsoft 365 data.

Request Your Copy

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Author

Mathew Showers

Global Best Practice Manager - Technology Services

Data Backup, BackupSimple

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