From Zero Day Attack to Zero Day Recovery

Zero-day ransomware attacks are on the rise, becoming more and more sophisticated and increasingly able to bypass organizational defenses.

In order to protect and remain in control of critical systems and data, businesses need to set up efficient recovery systems to quickly get back up and running when all else has failed. 

According to a Cyber Security Ventures report, zero-day cyber-attacks on businesses are expected to rise from one per week to one per day by 2021. As these attacks by definition occur unexpectedly and often unnoticed, it is more important than ever to be prepared for when these attacks occur. 

Most businesses quite understandably concentrate on building defense systems to prevent cyber-attacks from ever happening in the first place. However with the increase in the frequency of ransomware attacks, the last line of defense for an organization should also be the fast recovery of systems and data should all the preventative measures fail.

This is particularly true for ransomware, whereby the rapid restoration of systems is the difference between a minor inconvenience and complete organizational paralysis. 

Millions of lines of code are being written every day and software developers are under increasing pressure to deliver software faster.  This can lead to holes in the code and hackers exploit these vulnerabilities to develop cyber-attacks.

A zero-day attack is when hackers exploit a vulnerability that either has not been fixed or is unknown to the software vendor. These are almost impossible to detect and defeat as they use exploits that aren’t commonly known, and since it is almost impossible to protect or defend yourself against the unknown, attacks like these should be considered a probability rather than a possibility. 

Even the most sophisticated cyber defense systems ultimately cannot protect you from unknown ransomware attacks, businesses should therefore prepare themselves for the worst by making sure critical systems and data can quickly be recovered after a destructive cyber-attack. We refer to this approach to IT operations as Zero Day Recovery, as ransomware attacks require a fast response. 

Zero Day Recovery
Cyber recovery is an often overlooked piece of the puzzle as, when defenses fail, much of the damage can be mitigated through faster recovery of the most critical applications. However, it can only be carried out if the appropriate actions have been carried out in advance.

We’ve seen many occasions where options were limited due to a failure to implement and test effective backup and recovery strategies. In fact, when we first audit a company’s IT architecture, we regularly find that around a quarter of nightly back-ups will fail. This isn’t something an already overworked IT and security team wishes to discover after a ransomware attack has already taken place!

During an attack, the ability of businesses to recover data rapidly ensures that systems and data are less affected and can therefore continue to operate as usual, without major disruption. In cases such as ransomware where no data is successfully exfiltrated, it is not the attack itself but the resulting downtime that causes the true damage – be that financial, operational or even that critical specialist equipment was taken offline.

With Zero Day Recovery, data can be recovered quickly, minimizing or even eliminating the damage that a destructive cyber-attack would have caused the business.   

Restoring data after an attack takes time – planning and regularly testing recovery systems in preparation for an attack should therefore be a priority for any business. Organizations often blindly back everything up the same without understanding what are the critical systems that would be required for the business to operate, leading to major issues should all IT operations collapse at once. 

Identifying the most crucial core systems and data within your business and ensuring that those systems are backed up properly allows you to set up an effective recovery process that meets your recovery time objectives. This prioritization of core systems and data will allow your business to remain operational, as it will restore systems and data based on urgency.

By setting up and combining effective defenses with a quick recovery system for critical systems, it allows you to defeat system damaging cyber-attacks such as ransomware; before they get a chance to disrupt your business. 

With data very much being the DNA of any business, remaining in control of your data is not just important – it is crucial for the business to remain operational. Zero Day Recovery offers the ability to be able to rely on and trust that you have the tested ability to recover your critical systems and data quickly if there were a ransomware attack; so that the prospect of facing a cyber-attack becomes a much less daunting matter for businesses.

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