Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Strengthen Your Cybersecurity Approach with This Strategy

Oct 18, 2022 | Blog, StorCentric

This October marks the 18th Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Led by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA), this monthly campaign empowers individuals and organizations to protect themselves against ever evolving cyberthreats. 2022’s theme is to See Yourself in Cyber to demonstrate that cybersecurity is really all about people. Having a stronger cybersecurity foundation reduces the risk of a data breach and builds a more resilient organization capable of handling the hurdles thrown their way.

Most organizations realize a single layer of cybersecurity does not adequately protect against today’s sophisticated attacks. For businesses looking to strengthen their data security, a multi-layered cybersecurity approach stops attacks in their track.

A Strong Cybersecurity Approach Uses Defense in Depth

Defense in depth is a comprehensive cybersecurity approach used to ensure critical assets are always protected through various security layers. If one layer of defense is compromised, other security layers exist to stop the threat along the way. When done properly, this strategy thwarts in-progress attacks and prevents additional damage from happening.

In real-life situations, this approach gives your team time to launch countermeasures if a hacker infiltrates their network. The various layers and duplicating security processes minimize the likelihood of a data breach.

Defense in Depth Structure

  • Physical controls: Restrict physical access using security guards, key cards, or locked doors.
  • Technical controls: Specialized hardware or software, like antivirus or firewall applications, to protect systems.
  • Administrative controls: organizational policies and procedures around security.

Physical Controls

Physical controls are barriers to prevent unauthorized access to your networks, data, facilities, hardware, or software. This layer could use any of the following to restrict access:

  • Security cameras
  • Locked doors
  • Key cards
  • Security guards
  • Fences

Technical Controls

Technical Controls are security measures to protect network systems and data from known security vulnerabilities. This layer consists of:

  • Firewall applications
  • Antivirus software
  • Email security
  • VPNs
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Disk encryption
  • Backup and recovery
  • Network segmentation

Administrative Controls

Administrative controls refer to an organization’s policies and procedures to ensure proper handling, transmission, and storage of data. This layer also covers proper cyber-hygiene. This layer can consist of:

  • Security trainings
  • Security requirements
  • Hiring practices
  • Strong passwords
  • Patch management

Layers of Security for Backups

Ransomware exploits cloud misconfigurations or stolen credentials to delete backups and cloud storage then encrypt everything. The encrypted data will be held hostage until you pay their ransom demand with an average payment request of $570,000. For most businesses, that amount of money makes all the difference to their operational costs. That is why 75% of small to mid-sized businesses would be forced to close if a bad actor demanded a ransom according to CyberCatch.

If all levels fall to a cyberattack like ransomware, backups are your last line of defense. To ensure data recoverability, it is important to have multiple layers of protection when choosing the hardware and software used for backups. If you don’t protect backups well enough, malware such as ransomware will target and encrypt the files making a clean recovery impossible.

Where your backups are stored is just as important as the software you use. The data storage solution hosting your backups should include the following data security capabilities:

  • File Redundancy: Makes two copies of the file and its fingerprint are stored in a separate RAID disk set either in the same system or a remote one.
  • File Fingerprinting: A combination of two cryptographic hashes to create a unique file identifier.
  • Storage Optimization: Archives unstructured and infrequently used data to free up primary data and dramatically reduce the size, time, and cost of the backup process.
  • Flexibility: to be implemented in cloud, hybrid cloud, or on-premise storage infrastructures.
  • File Serialization: Assigned serial numbers to each individual file to ensure no files are changed, missing, or inappropriately added

When it comes to choosing backup software, look for these data security features to protect against ransomware:

  • Anomaly Detection: Detects all major ransomware variants using an algorithm focused on behavior-based monitoring to flag file metadata anomalies. Customizable filtering and thresholds allow administrators to tailor it to specific systems.
  • Immutable Backups: Backups locked for a specific amount of time to prevent deletion by any user. Even if a malicious actor acquires the root credentials, backups cannot be altered during the set retention period.
  • Backup Comparison: Businesses need to understand any changes between backup copies. Administrators can identify exactly which files changed to investigate and isolate ransomware infections.
  • OS Compliance Checks: Aggregates system information to identify systems that are out of compliance with the latest version of each operating system. This reminder to patch systems avoids infiltration techniques targeting unpatched systems.

In the event of a ransomware attack, these additional security features give your team a higher chance to identify and contain the infection. If the ransomware can not be contained before it encrypts everything, having immutable backup capabilities guarantees you always have a clean backup copy. By prioritizing security at every level, you can ensure a clean recovery without paying the ransom.

How StorCentric Can Help

With over 20 years of expertise gained from delivering security-focused, award-winning data management products, StorCentric has a solution for your business no matter the industry. Every year StorCentric focuses on adding new enterprise-grade security capabilities to our brands’ range of products. From hardware to software, StorCentric’s designs prioritize your data’s security while maintaining the flexibility, reliability, and competitive pricing we have been known for.

Ultimate Ransomware Protection Hardware – Unbreakable Backup

Protection of unstructured data is critical – all the way through the backups. With Unity and the Assureon, an active data vault, working together, this solution creates an immutable copy of any data tied to the Assureon. It is equipped with all the security capabilities critical to maintain technical and administrative controls.

The Assureon is equipped with private blockchain to protect and store digital assets in an immutable data structure, utilizes cryptography to secure transitions, and relies on an automated integrity audit at the redundant sites to maintain data integrity and transparency. Combined with unique file fingerprinting and asset serialization process, metadata authentication and a robust consensus algorithm, Assureon protects data in a format that guarantees integrity and malware protection.

The advanced Unity architecture supports block and file access allowing it to integrate easily with any backup solution. Data integrity and availability are key features of the Unity array. Policy-driven and scheduled data integrity checks scrub the data for faults, and auto-heals these without any user intervention. Dual controllers and RAID-based protection guarantees data access in the event of component failure.

The replication capabilities enable you to keep an additional copy of your backups on a different site for disaster recovery and high availability. Together, these make the Unity and Assureon creates an Unbreakable Backup solution.

Backup Software with Data Protection Capabilities

When bad actors get access to administrative credentials either through an insider threat or other method, they gain full access too. Backup software like Retrospect Backup is equipped with tools to protect, detect, and recover to defend against ransomware.

As protection, Retrospect Backup uses Object Lock with supported cloud platforms to create Immutable Backups. This way even if a bad actor gained access, the immutable retention period would not allow the backups to be deleted or altered by any user. In conjunction with ProactiveAI for advanced scheduling logic, Retrospect implements a rolling window of immutable backups, combining forever-incremental backups with point-in-time restores even after the initial backup passes out of the immutable retention policy.

Unpatched vulnerabilities are the most common entrance route used by ransomware. To prevent a bad actor from infiltrating this way, Retrospect Backup 19 is equipped with OS compliance checks. This feature aggregates system information to identify out of compliance operating systems while anomaly detection and backup comparisons work in tandem to identify when an attack is underway. Administrators can tailor anomaly detection to their business’s specific needs using customizable filtering and threshold for each backup policy.

With Retrospect, you have powerful capabilities to tailor your recovery to your environment. For disaster recovery (DR), Retrospect restores the backup to the original machine or new system with dissimilar hardware restore. For file-level recovery, Retrospect can restore the set of files and folders to the original location or new one and support fine-grained options. In the event you identify ransomware slowly encrypting your system with no unaffected backups, you can still recover that full system for a ransomware-proof restore with Retrospect by using file-based data filtering during the restore process to exclude bad files.

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