Ransomware can compromise your entire website, database, and business within minutes.

Everything you’ve worked so long and hard to build is taken from you. And the only way to recover your data and remove the quickly-spreading virus is to pay a ransom. Usually, it’s a ransom that you can’t afford to pay.

Sounds horrible, right? Unfortunately, that scenario isn’t just a bad dream. It’s a reality for businesses that fall victim to heinous ransomware attacks.

This horrid security breach isn’t uncommon, either. 40% of businesses experienced a ransomware attack in 2016. That’s almost one in two.

In a way, it’s becoming a digital pandemic. Which means that your own website and database is far from immune.

Thankfully, there’s a way to battle it.

Namely, backing up your business’s information with Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). 87% of developers consider DRaaS to be of one of the best ways protect their website from ransomware attacks.

But what makes DRaaS such an effective defense against ransomware? And why would you want to consider using it? Here are five specific reasons.

Quick Infection Identification and Failover

Fifty percent of businesses have experienced a disaster bad enough to cause downtime.

And with traditional infection identification methods, determining when, how, where, and if ransomware or some other attack has crippled your application is quite the chore.

But don’t take our word for it.

It takes an average of 18.5 hours for a business to recover from a disaster. Each hour can cost your business anywhere from $8,000 to $700,000 depending on the size of your corporation. And ransomware alone accounted for over a billion dollars of stolen money last year.

I’m no mathematician, but that’s a lot of lost cash.

Let’s imagine you’re backing up your data in the cloud, for instance. First, you have to download all of the application files onto your computers. Then, you have to rebuild those files and combine the database and application. Finally, you can test whether your application actually runs. If it does, then you’ve restored a clean copy of the files. If not, though, you have to run the whole process over again with a backup from an earlier date.

The problem is that you can’t know if you’re restoring a clean copy of the files without trial and error.

That entire process can take hours and sometimes days. Which further means that your business experiences more downtime, less revenue, and higher customer frustration.

With DRaaS backup, on the other hand, all you need to do to recover your application is power down the machine, determine the time of infection, log into your DRaaS dashboard, and boot your VM from your last clean backup.

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That process only takes a matter of minutes because DRaaS allows you to immediately identify whether the application is free of infection.

Which means that your business has less downtime and faster recovery.

Predetermined Failover Plans

Earlier, we found that 40% of businesses experienced a ransomware problem last year. And another study shows that about 40% of businesses feel that their disaster recovery plans are either poor or fair.

Coincidence? Probably not.

The problem is that the bigger the business and dev team, the longer it takes to actually execute everything.

Implementing a failover plan is hard enough. The team coordination that the plan requires only adds on to the already-debilitating downtime that your business experiences.

So how does DRaaS solve this problem?

Most of the leading companies that offer DRaaS also allow their users to create predetermined failover plans. Which means that the moment everything crashes and burns from a ransomware attack won’t be the moment that everyone panics with no idea of what to do next.

With a plan for booting VMs simultaneously or in a specific order, the DRaaS saves your application from the after-effects of an attack. Namely, everyone running around without direction.

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Having a plan in place makes sure that you’re ready to recover from criminal attacks on your website, seconds after they hit.

Countless Recovery Tests

Everything is going well when a sudden ransomware attack occurs. After identifying the time of the attack, you and the rest of the IT team get to work trying to launch a failover.

However, when you go to use your backup, it doesn’t work. Maybe an unknown code discrepancy stands between your backup and a functioning application. Or maybe the backup was attacked at the same time your application was attacked.

Whatever the case, the situation is the same. Your data is gone.

Only 10% of businesses that experience massive outages without a failover plan survive to see the light of day again. The rest? Well, they never recover. Doors shut, sign turned, lights off. The end.

That’s where a routine failover testing schedule comes into play. As Rachel Dines, the senior analyst at Forrester, says:

“The only way you can really know if your DR service is working (besides declaring a disaster) is to run tests. Customers that I’ve spoken to really value the providers that enabled them to test more frequently and more comprehensively.”

Unfortunately, though, most traditional disaster recovery options limit the number of tests you can run to ensure your failover is functioning properly.

Leading DRaaS companies, however, often allow users to test the backup as often as they like. Which means that when all hell does break loose, you’ll have the peace of mind that your defense mechanism works correctly.

Manual Recovery

If you’re like most IT professionals, you want to be able to push the failover button yourself. You don’t want to wait for someone else’s permission to rebuild your systems from an attack. And you can’t afford to wait for hours or days.

Sadly, after an attack takes place, many DR vendors require their clients to fill out a formal disaster report with them. But what happens if your servers get hit by ransomware at midnight while the vendor is fast asleep? Well, therein lies the problem.

And frankly, you don’t have the time to wait. Take WhatsApp, for instance. When they experienced just three hours of downtime, they lost four million customers to competitors.

Four million. Lost. Gone. Paying the competition.

Now you might not lose four million customers like WhatsApp, but every hour that you’re down can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars lost.

In fact, the average downtime cost for businesses sits at $336,000 per hour. Virtually no business can stomach losing that kind of money.

Without the ability to manually recover your website from a ransomware attack, your failover depends on the permission of a third-party vendor. That downtime can quickly kill your bank account and hurt your business’s trustworthiness in the eyes of loyal customers.

Many DRaaS solutions, however, allow you to launch a failover solution for your compromised systems within seconds. You have the power to press the button. You don’t have to wait for someone else’s permission, and you definitely don’t have to ask nicely to avoid losing thousands of dollars.

Less Expensive Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery expenses add up fast. And that’s not a big surprise.

When you’re trying to manage and maintain loads of backup data locally, you have to hire companies committed to doing so. But testing takes longer, and disaster recovery definitely takes longer.

In the words of product manager from Veritas Technologies, Lisa Erickson,

“Building and managing one’s own data centers and recovery personnel that are well-versed in business continuity strategies, technologies and procedures can be an expensive proposition.”

But just how expensive?

One study showed that trying to protect two terabytes of data on five mission-critical servers on your own will cost you more than $300,000 in three years. And that price goes without mentioning the cost of capital equipment you’d need to invest in.

It’s no surprise, then, that 46% of IT professionals said that disaster recovery spending was a top priority in 2014. And 52% of IT executives increased their DR budgets in 2015.

Of course, you could avoid spending all of that money by using a tape backup solution. You can generally get them for only $10,000 to $20,000. But those solutions often measure their recovery times in days rather than minutes.

Fortunately, that money-spending trend might start to die down with the rise of DRaaS. If you’re managing two terabytes of data on five mission-critical servers over a three year period, you’ll only spend about $30,000.

Plus, DRaaS allows you to immediately launch failover, meaning the least amount of downtime possible.

Most DRaaS solutions use subscription pricing plans that offer a consistent, predictable, and affordable failover. Meaning you’ll save your business far more money in the event of a ransomware attack than if you had a less-than-adequate backup plan.

Conclusion

No one is completely immune to ransomware attacks. Not when 40% of businesses experienced an attack in 2016. And 2018 will likely be worse.

Success begets success. There’s a reason ransomware attacks increased 36% and doubled in cost during 2017.

Fortunately, DRaaS is the best solution that modern vendors have to offer. With it, you can identify infections and launch a failover quickly, set up a plan for when disaster strikes, run countless recovery tests, push the failover button yourself, and spend less money doing it.

 


Editor’s Note: This blog article was written by an outside contributor – a guest blogger – for the purpose of offering a wider variety of content for our readers. However, the opinions and recommendations expressed in this guest blog are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of The Security Awareness Company, LLC. If you are interested in writing something for us, please do not hesitate to contact us: blog@thesecurityawarenesscompany.com.

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