Ransomware! Has a shiver crawled up your IT administrator’s spine yet? Any business, big or small can fall victim to ransomware. It costs businesses more than $75 billion per year.
To prevent ransomware attacks, some businesses are migrating their critical data to the public cloud. Google G Suite has certain data protection mechanisms built into the solution. But even there, your data is vulnerable.
The only way you can successfully overcome a ransomware attack is to have a backup and recovery solution in place. But what is the best protection against ransomware? Let’s take a look at how you can implement backups of G Suite to protect your organization against malicious software.
Protect Against Ransomware – A Menacing Threat!
If you do not protect your organization from ransomware, you will be hit eventually. Without the proper protection against ransomware attacks, data loss is sure to happen. This is a forgone conclusion both on-premises and in the public cloud. How exactly is ransomware such a threat? How does it render data completely useless?
Ransomware uses a process called encryption to make data unreadable by its rightful owner. Encryption uses a mathematical algorithm as a key that makes the data unreadable without the proper key to “unlock” it. Attackers that use ransomware hold the “readable data” hostage until the “ransom” is paid to obtain the key to unlock the data so that it is normalized once again so that it can be read. The ransomware process is by design uneventful to the end-user.
There is nothing that lets the user or administrator know their data is being encrypted silently and maliciously. When the encryption process is finished however and it is too late to stop the damage, the attackers present a message to the end-user letting them know they have been affected by ransomware and they must pay the demanded ransom before their data will be unlocked.
The ”Ransom” note left on the desktop of an infected workstation
How can ransomware infiltrate your environment? There are many attack vectors that deliver ransomware to unsuspecting users. However, one of the most prominent methods that ransomware infects end users is via email. An end-user is tricked into opening an attachment that in actuality contains a malicious executable file that houses ransomware.
Many ransomware variants may make it past traditional antivirus protection and begin the process of encrypting critical files, folders, mapped network drives, and any other resources the end-user has permissions to access.
One of the avenues for ransomware infection that ties on-premises environments to the G Suite public cloud SaaS environment is file synchronization. G Suite offers installable utilities to synchronize files from on-premises end-user devices to the Google G Suite cloud. If ransomware infects an end-user device, it will begin encrypting files that will then be synchronized to the Google cloud. The ransomware encryption process is simply viewed as a change in the file, so this will trigger the synchronization process to take place.
Ransomware Can Infect Public Cloud
There are still huge misconceptions regarding public cloud environments and ransomware. Many businesses with untrained or naive and inexperience personnel may fee that once data enters the realm of a public cloud SaaS environment such as Google G Suite, their data is immune to the effects of ransomware infections that wreak havoc on-premises. However, this could not be further from the truth.
The major advantage of public cloud SaaS environments comes in the form of high availability that results from the world-class data centers and failover mechanisms in the underlying data center technologies used to host the SaaS services.
This should not be confused with data protection. They are two separate mechanisms and involve separate technologies. While Google, Microsoft, and others are working at introducing the most basic nuances of data protection, these in themselves are not and should not be considered as backups.
Google G Suite has the ability to restore data in a rudimentary fashion of “versions” of files in their cloud storage as well as a “recycle bin” of sorts that allows “un-deleting” files that have inadvertently been deleted either accidentally or intentionally by end-users for up to 30 days.
While businesses may be able to leverage the file versions as a way to potentially recover data, this is not a method that can be relied upon for wide-scale protection of business-critical data hosted in the public cloud. Ransomware is ravenous and destructive to any data it touches.
What if ransomware infected files are not discovered in the 30-day window of time for recovery? What if businesses need to restore a “version” of a file that what not captured by the versions in cloud storage? What if there are services affected by ransomware outside of G Suite storage such as email? “RansomCloud”, a term coined for a ransomware variant able to encrypt cloud-based email, offers the smoking gun to show that even public cloud email is at risk for ransomware infection.
Currently, only the G Suite cloud drive storage is available for the recovery of various versions of data. What about email? What about any other services that may potentially be infected by ransomware or a yet to be utilized ransomware attack that targets other cloud services contained in SaaS services like G Suite?
All of these and many other questions lead to the conclusion that more is needed in the way of backups for data stored in the public cloud. This can not be stressed enough – backups are essential to surviving a ransomware attack on-premises and in the cloud.
The meager data protection that is provided as a native feature in G Suite cloud storage is simply not sufficient for surviving a massive ransomware attack in a G Suite environment. Organizations need an enterprise data protection solution that provides true backup functionality for data stored in the G Suite SaaS environment that allows true versioning, retention beyond the 30-day limit imposed by Google with their file versions, automation, powerful restore functionality, migration features, and many other features and functionality that provide true protection for public cloud Saas like G Suite.
How to Protect Against Ransomware Attacks in G Suite
Backups are the only sure way to recover your data in the event of a ransomware infection that manipulates your data in the public cloud or anywhere else. As mentioned, the backup and recovery functionality provided by the G Suite SaaS public cloud environment is very limited. Spinbackup totally removes the limitations to effective backups by providing an enterprise-grade backup and recovery solution for G Suite.
Spinbackup provides the “One-Two punch” needed to totally eradicate the ransomware threat in G Suite. Coupled with powerful automated backup and recovery capabilities, Spinbackup adds Machine Learning enabled cybersecurity protection that works seamlessly with the data protection functionality to not only protect against ransomware processes infecting G Suite cloud environments but also automatically restore any files that may have been affected by the ransomware encryption process. It makes it the best way to protect against ransomware for organizations.
Choose Spinbackup for the following automated responses to ransomware and ransomcloud attacks:
- Security Scanner identifies the source of the attack
- Blocks the source and encryption process
- Identifies the number of damaged (encrypted) files
- Runs a granular recovery of encrypted files from the last successfully backed up version
Check out these and other Spinbackup Ransomware Protection features.
The Cost of a Ransomware Attack
The cost of a ransomware attack can escalate dramatically with every minute and hour that passes with business continuity disrupted. Additionally, the intangible cost of lost customer satisfaction, harm to brand reputation, and many other factors can add up to untold costs that can literally take an organization out of business. Let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios, one with a customer using a traditional cloud backup solution, and one with a customer using Spinbackup to protect business-critical data.
Customer “A” has a rather large environment in Google’s G Suite SaaS environment with some 1,000,000 files stored on Google Team Drives with approximately 15,000 G Suite accounts. An unsuspecting high-level end-user device is infected with ransomware leading to the majority of the files stored across the G Suite environment being encrypted. The company has chosen a traditional backup vendor for the G Suite cloud environment with no additional ransomware protection. Customer A is required to restore most if not all files stored in their G Suite environment. Google has imposed limitations in G Suite to prevent the abuse of the underlying infrastructure. One aspect of these limits is a 10 I/O requests per second limitation. This can slow the restoration process even further.
For an environment of this size, a number of files and potential scope of ransomware infection, it could take upwards of 4 days to recover all files from backup.
Customer “B” also has some 1,000,000 files and approximately 15,000 G Suite accounts. However, they have chosen to use Spinbackup for both backing up their G Suite environment and for ransomware protection. This combination of machine learning-enabled technologies immediately starts fighting ransomware as soon as it starts attacking files in the cloud.
As listed above, Spinbackup uses 4 steps to protect against ransomware:
- Ransomware process is identified by Spinbackup Security Scanner
- Ransomware process is effectively isolated and blocked by Spinbackup
- Ransomware affected files in the G Suite cloud are automatically identified
- Ransomware encrypted files are automatically restored by Spinbackup’s powerful data protection recovery mechanism
When comparing the two scenarios, even though Customer A has a data protection solution in place, the damage can be extensive. Files have to be manually identified that need recovered. As mentioned, the restore operation may take days! In contrast, by choosing Spinbackup, the ransomware attack affecting Customer B was automatically stopped within minutes, the ransomware process was blocked, and files that were affected were automatically recovered!
What is the return on investment or ROI for Spinbackup protecting your G Suite cloud environment? Priceless. When considering the damage that was prevented by this machine learning, proactive, automated response, the damage that was avoided could literally have saved the business.
Native cloud-provided data protection solutions are absolutely required for businesses to effectively withstand and survive a ransomware attack. However, even though the backup is one of ransomware protection best practices, alone do not prevent the potential downtime that may result from a ransomware attack.
Spinbackup’s ransomware protection and backups are absolutely priceless to businesses who are looking to not only backup their data but also protect against ransomware attacks altogether. Spinbackup saves businesses from the manual recovery time needed to identify affected files and restore them. Instead, it blocks the ransomware quickly, identifies the affected files, and automatically restores them. It all makes Spinbackup a great enterprise ransomware protection service.
By implementing the proactive, automated, and intelligent response provided by Spinbackup, businesses can take the offensive against ransomware attacks instead of simply reacting to an attack and restoring data manually.
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