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How Ransomware Trends Will Drive Significant Data Management Changes In 2023

The spread of ransomware-as-a-service continues to challenge large enterprises, but organizations of every shape and size will need to pay attention to the threats in 2023.

In 2022, ransomware continued to hamper organizations around the world, locking them out of their operational workflows and demanding exorbitant payments. With the availability of ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS), those attacks became even more frequent and random, targeting ever-wider market segments and different sizes of IT environments. Everyone was and remains a target -- from the most seemingly secure government agencies to the largest and most successful global business organizations to small businesses around the corner.

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As a result, two key trends emerged this year.

Trend #1: Organizations recognized the need for a multilayer approach to data protection and security

Certainly, data security software that helped to keep ransomware out was the first step. However, even more important was the ability to quickly detect when ransomware or other malware has successfully broken in.

During 2022, the worst ransomware variants infiltrated organizations and attacked the backups first before hitting the production data and demanding ransom. When an organization turned to their backup, they found that there was no backup from which to recover.

What was -- and still is -- required is anomaly detection with customizable filtering and thresholds, which helps organizations detect successful ransomware attacks in real time, thereby enabling them to thwart the cybercriminals’ efforts, avoid paying ransom, and maintain uninterrupted operations.

Trend #2: Backup strategies evolved

In 2022, organizations increasingly focused on data backup strategies that included backup to a public cloud that could ensure support for immutable backups. An immutable copy of data is one that cannot be deleted or changed in any way, immutable backups ensure that there is an untouched -- and untouchable -- version of that data that is always recoverable and safe from ransomware or any kind of disaster, for that matter.

Trends to Watch in 2023

Organizations aren’t standing still when it comes to protecting their data. In 2023, expect to see these two data-focused trends.

Trend #1: Freedom and flexibility will become the mantra of virtually every data management professional

In particular, data management professionals will seek data mobility solutions that are cloud-enabled and support data migration, data replication, and data synchronization across mixed environments including disk, tape, and cloud to maximize ROI by eliminating data silos. We will likewise see an uptick in solutions that support vendor-agnostic file replication and synchronization, are easily deployed and managed on non-proprietary servers and can transfer millions of files simultaneously -- protecting data in transit to and from the cloud with SSL encryption.

Trend #2: Ransomware will remain a huge and relentlessly growing global threat to high-profile targets as well as SMBs and individuals

There are likely a few reasons for this continuing trend. Certainly, one is that today’s ransomware is attacking widely, rapidly, aggressively, and randomly -- especially with ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) becoming increasingly prevalent, looking for any possible weakness in defense. The second is that small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) do not typically have the technology or manpower budget needed to tackle the issue.

Although a strong security defense is indispensable, we will see that next year security leaders will ensure additional measures are taken. Their next step will be enabling anomaly detection as early as possible in order to remediate affected resources. Large enterprises, SMBs, and individuals alike will need a backup target that allows them to lock backups for a designated time. Many of the major cloud providers now support object locking, also referred to as write-once-read-many (WORM) or immutable storage. Users will leverage the ability to mark objects as locked for a designated time and, in doing so, prevent them from being deleted or altered by any user -- internal or external.


About the Author

Brian Dunagan is the vice president of engineering at Retrospect. Previously, Dunagan built high-speed network traffic analysis tools at WildPackets (now Savvius). Brian graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004 with a bachelor of science and a master of engineering in computer science degree. You can reach the author via email or LinkedIn.

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