Ransomware took the cloud computing industry by storm in 2016

Observing the changes an industry experienced during 2016 can help a company be prepared for 2017. This will inevitably be the case when it comes to the IT market, as there were several more notable events and trends that will help predict what the market will focus on in the coming year.

Ransomware: the digital epidemic of 2016

Data has become an extremely valuable and sought after commodity which is by and large as a result of organisations shifting towards data driven economies.

During 2016 we saw ransomware rise to a digital epidemic of note. Ransomware has become hugely prevalent in all industries over the past 12 months, and has helped to reveal the true nature of those behind ransomware attacks.

Ransomware cyber criminals are thorough in their research when picking targets. They exhibit meticulous planning, an inside knowledge of their targets and an insight into the power of inciting fear into their victims.

Not only did the number of ransomware attacks see a drastic increase during 2016, there was also a development in the so called ‘target market’, or typical victim profile.

>See also: Gartner reveals top 3 emerging technologies from 2016

The traditional target for ransomware attacks were the home users, consumers and individuals who are typically not as well informed about cybercrime and malware.

They more often than not don’t have the right disaster-recovery systems in place, and can be more willing to pay a ransom to get their personal family photos and records back.

Evolving beyond security software

Over time, there has been a steady increase in the targeting of businesses and larger corporations with highly focused, personalised attacks.

Ransomware attacks are based on extensive research of each intended victim, an individual’s web-presence can be used against them in order to ensure interaction with the ransomware activation components.

For instance, very personalised but infected email attachments are sent to individuals, making it very difficult to determine whether it is legitimate or a threat. For this reason, security software is struggling more and more to pick up indicators of compromise.

Once your data is encrypted by ransomware there is very little that you can do, and paying the ransom won’t guarantee that you receive any data back. Paying will only encourage the cyber criminals to continue the ransomware distribution and will inadvertently create a market for ransomware.

>See also: Recovery is the new backup: a blended solution is the key

Yet, more often than not, victims of ransomware simply don’t have any other choice but to pay. There has been a substantial amount of attacks on the medical and educational industries in 2016.

One can only envision that an attack on any medical industry is a recipe for disaster. Without access to patient data lives are at risk, and paying the ransom in order to gain access to data could literally be a matter of life and death.

What can you do to prepare?

Backup your data. It really is as simple as taking a data management approach which includes a disaster recovery plan.

The FBI’s tips for a business continuity plan that helps combat the effects of ransomware is to make regular backups of data, verify the integrity of backups frequently and mirror backups to a secure off-site server.

Picking a reliable data backup software provider, that tailors for your industry whether you are working in education, health or business, could be the difference between losing your data permanently or being back to working order within hours.

How will 2017 look for the industry?

In the wake of the ransomware epidemic, peace of mind, and trust in your data security service provider will be one of the strongest trends in 2017.

There will undoubtedly be a dip in digital trust due to the overwhelming stranglehold ransomware had over the data security market in 2016.

The lack of digital trust will result in a struggle with delivering information management and data security best practices.

However, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) will provide a sturdy foundation to build upon.

Even post-Brexit, UK organisations must adopt rigorous data security and protection laws and still comply with the EU’s GDPR regulation, or else trade via data flow with Europe will be out of the question.

>See also: Is your backup hindering your company’s digital transformation?

We can expect to see many organisations hurrying to get into compliance with the new regulations. If you operate as a data backup service provider it will be very important that you are able to grant customers full access to their data whenever they need it.

Platform ecosystems

In order to accommodate the ever expanding growth of data, platform ecosystems will begin to emerge. Expect to see data-backup, disaster recovery strategies, archiving, security and instant access being integrated into platform ecosystems in order to provide best practices.

Platform-based business models will be the innovation of the digital economy as it not only complies to data laws and legislation, but provides the customer with an ethical offering in order to secure digital trust.


Sourced by Paul Evans, founder and managing director of Redstor

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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