Veritas Technologies today highlighted the challenges that businesses around the globe are facing as they try to protect data stored in complex hybrid multi-cloud environments, from the growing threat of ransomware. In its 2020 ransomware resiliency report, Veritas found that only 36% of overall respondents said that their security has kept pace with their IT complexity.
In the UAE and KSA, only 43% and 29% of respondents have kept pace with their IT complexity, respectively, underscoring the need for greater use of data protection solutions that can protect against ransomware across the entirety of increasingly heterogeneous environments.
Need to pay ransoms
Typically, if businesses fall foul to ransomware and are not able to restore their data from a backup copy of their files, they may look to pay the hackers responsible for the attack to return their information. The Veritas research showed that companies with greater complexity in their multi-cloud infrastructure were more likely to make these payments.
The mean number of clouds deployed by those organizations who paid a ransom in full was 14.06. This dropped to 12.61 for those who paid only part of the ransom and went as low as 7.22 for businesses who didn’t pay at all. In fact, only 20% of businesses with fewer than five clouds paid a ransom in full, less than half the number (44%) for those with more than 20. This compares with 57% of the under-fives paying nothing to their hackers and just 17% of the over-20s.
Only 28% of businesses in the UAE and 28% in KSA with fewer than five clouds paid a ransom in full, considerably less than the 70% (UAE) and 58% (KSA) for those with more than 20. This compares with 59% (UAE) and 56% (KSA) of the under-fives paying nothing to their hackers and just 10% (UAE) and 32% (KSA) of the over-20s.
Slow recovery times
Complexity in cloud architectures was also shown to have a significant impact on a business’s ability to recover following a ransomware attack. While 43% of those businesses with fewer than five cloud providers in their infrastructure saw their business operations disrupted by less than one day, only 18% of those with more than 20 were as fast to return to normal. Moreover, 39% of the over-20s took 5-10 days to get back on track, with just 16% of the under-fives having to wait so long.
Businesses recognize the challenge
Veritas research revealed that many businesses are aware of the challenge they face. The top concern as a result of this complexity, as stated by businesses, was the increased risk of internal attacks from leaks/employee error, cited by 39% of all participants in the UAE and 47% of respondents in KSA.
Johnny Karam, Vice President Emerging Markets at Veritas said: “The benefits of hybrid multi-cloud are increasingly being recognized in businesses around the world. Whilst this is positive news, our research shows that there is still more that needs to be done. For instance, 29% of busineses’ data protection strategies in KSA, and 43% in the UAE aren’t keeping pace with the levels of complexity that they’re introducing. As a result, the majority of businesses are feeling the impact of ransomware more acutely.”
Karam continued: “We’ve heard from our customers that, as part of their response to COVID, they rapidly accelerated their journey to the cloud. Many organizations now need to empower remote working across a wider portfolio of applications than ever before and, with limited access to their on-premise IT infrastructure, turn to cloud deployments to meet their needs. We’re seeing a disconnect between the greater area of exposure that comes with increased multi-cloud adoption and the deployment of data protection solutions needed to secure them. Our research shows that some businesses are investing to close that resiliency gap – but unless this is done at greater speed companies will remain vulnerable.”
Need for investment
Nearly half of businesses (48%) in KSA shared that they had increased their budgets for security since the advent of the COVID pandemic, compared to 57% in the UAE. There was a correlation between this elevated level of investment and the ability to restore data in the wake of an attack: 56% of those in the UAE spending more since the Coronavirus outbreak were able to restore 90% or more of their data, compared with just 24% of those spending less. Whilst in KSA 57% of those in the UAE spending more since the Coronavirus outbreak were able to restore 90% or more of their data, compared with just 14% of those spending less.
The global results suggest that there is more to be done though, with the average business being able to restore only 80% of its data.