Protect your data center from ransomware attacks


Data centers are on the front line of the growing battle to control and prevent ransomware attacks. Attacks on data centers have evolved into triple extortion threats — which involve accessing data, encrypting it and threatening to release vulnerable IP — because they have specific vulnerabilities that individual PCs do not.

In the past, ransomware attackers targeted individuals with links sent via email, enabling them to encrypt a PC. Attackers have now discovered they can move up the food chain — to the data center, which contains a greater quantity of valuable information.

Prevent ransomware attacks

Because hackers have moved from “spray and pray” methods — which essentially amount to sending emails containing links to download malware and hoping recipients click — to highly targeted attacks, every aspect of cybersecurity must consider ransomware defense.

“Essentially, ransomware [forces us to consider] all the [same] things we had to think about before — protecting usernames and passwords, whether to do multifactor authorization, whether to segment the network or implement zero trust, and how to better protect sensitive data,” said Frank Dickson, program vice president of security and trust at IDC.

To protect your data center, you must look to the fundamentals of cybersecurity. Identify critical assets, protect those assets, scan for malicious behavior and respond to that behavior when it arises.

Keep all applications in the data center to ease security operations. However, digital transformation increasingly moves data to the cloud, or even multiple clouds. Even though data lives in the cloud, management remains on premises. This setup opens up new vulnerabilities as points of attack.

“There is a direct correlation between the number of clouds and the number of breaches; it is a function of complexity. Anything you can do to reduce complexity and reduce your attack surface can help,” Dickson said.

Popular cloud providers AWS, Azure, Google and Oracle each have different configurations, which can make implementing resilience difficult. If you use four separate clouds, you must also learn all their different access rules and tools to protect them.

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