If you were hit with a ransomware attack right now, your first instinct would be to strive to survive it.
I believe businesses should aim higher: they should strive to thrive during a ransomware attack.
No, I’m not an incurable optimist. I’m a pragmatist. And the reality is that ransomware can cost your business a lot of money, even if you never have to pay a ransom. It costs you time and money to mobilize internal resources to mitigate the attack, recover data that may have been compromised and hire auditors to confirm that everything is okay. Even if the bad guys are ultimately unsuccessful at holding your data hostage, they’ve succeeded at holding your business hostage for hours (or worse).
I bring this up not to scare you, but to start a conversation that should be taking place the moment you start thinking about data storage. You see, ransomware is a data recovery issue before it’s a data security issue. Despite your best efforts, you can’t stop every cyberattack every time, which is why you need to make sure that your business can quickly, gracefully and reliably recover critical business data during and after an attack.
In my experience, conversations around storage tend to be reactive and focused on cost and capacity.
A business might talk about capacity planning over the next three to five years during a storage refresh conversation, or look at reducing storage costs over a similar span. These discussions cast data storage as a cost of doing business rather than a strategic asset. Data storage is often viewed as an amorphous blob of information, but information is very strategic in any business. That information is what separates you from the competition and is the source for your business intelligence, which in turn drives important business decisions and transactions.
My challenge to businesses is this: Stop thinking of data as something you need to store, and start thinking of it as the repository of your information.
You need that information to make decisions, to serve customers, to keep your website running and to run your business at every level, from HR to AP.
If you don’t have access to that information—even for an hour or two—you’re literally out of business for that same period of time. This paradigm shift is what will help you realize that what is most important is your ability to access your information. Reliability of storage products is important, but what is most important is how quickly you can access the information that drives your business, under any circumstances.
If you don’t have a data storage strategy today that details how your business will recover from a ransomware attack (or any other disruption), Advizex can help you create one. Our Storage Advizer engagement is designed to assist businesses in building a data storage infrastructure that supports their business in critical areas including data access, organization, security and analytics. As part of the Advizer engagement, we’ll map out your data storage strengths and weaknesses, identify the unique business requirements that impact your data (e.g., regulatory compliance) and propose storage technology solutions from leading partners such as HPE to bring you the best mix of products, features and price points.
In a world where cybercrime pays—and pays well—it’s impossible to know what’s in store for your data. A smart data storage strategy, however, will not only protect your information but protect the people and processes that depend on that information. ▪