Developing an effective cyber resilience strategy to deal with the threat of ransomware

By Nick Lennon, Country Manager for Mimecast Australia

Cyberattacks are constantly evolving, and it seems like every day there’s a new story about an organisation that’s been breached. Most recently, ransomware like WannaCry and Petya have been stealing headlines and wreaking havoc as organisations scramble to get back to business as usual.

Generally, attacks that make it to the news are rarely the ones that pose a threat to an organisation - usually they’ve made the front page because they’ve impacted a big-name organisation, like Google or Netflix. Ransomware attacks occur all the time! It’s important that security professionals don’t get sucked into the ‘doom and gloom’ of the day and focus on what steps are needed to improve their organisation’s cyber resilience.

According to the results of a recent survey Mimecast conducted with Vanson Bourne (outlined in the eBook, Strengthen Your Defenses Against Cybercrime: Cyber Resilience Planning For Email), almost half of the respondents have seen an increase in ransomware attacks over the past three months. That’s right – almost half! However, less than 20 percent of respondents said they felt completely confident in their ability to spot and defend against these cyberattacks.

That’s why it’s so important for cybersecurity professionals to step back and take a look at the current cyber resilience plan they have in place. If the technology they have in place only protects from known threats, their organisation is vulnerable from a wealth of threats that are unknown. A true cyber resilience strategy must span beyond security and include business continuity, data protection and end user empowerment. If an organisation was hit with a ransomware attack, would they be able to stay up and running? Could they afford downtime?

Earlier this year, Mimecast started the Cyber Resilience Think Tank, a group that brings together the top minds in the cybersecurity industry. The objective of the Think Tank was to solidify the definition of cyber resilience, shed light on common challenges these cybersecurity professionals faced and provide guidance for organisations looking to strengthen their cyber resilience.

Three key points were stressed when it came to developing a cyber resilience strategy:

  1. Consider the broader business objectives and how this cyber resilience strategy does its part in achieving the overall objective(s)
  2. Take the onus away from IT and engage leaders across the business. Cyber Resilience isn’t just an IT problem, it’s a business problem
  3. Communicate planning to all staff, ensuring that they are well educated and engaged with on a regular basis – educating staff is especially important to ensure that employees are able to identify and deal with potential attacks when they do come through

Cyber resilience means organisations must take a holistic approach to their defences, and implement an email security system that not only blocks spam and viruses, but also protects from a range of threats. By doing this, organisations will give themselves the best chance to stay protected against ransomware attacks. While the protection and security is undoubtedly important, organisations need to be prepared for the event where they fall victim to an attack ensuring that their data is backed up and protected so that attackers can’t access it. Given ransomware involves locking your data so that it can’t be accessed, backing up your data is imperative, to ensure the business does not fall under the pressure of losing access.

Attributed to Nick Lennon, Country Manager for Mimecast Australia

 

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