Paying the Ransom Doesn’t Mean Your Data is Returned: Why a Disaster Recovery Plan is Essential for Your Business

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As it has for the last several years, ransomware continues to grow as a cyber threat. While it is difficult to estimate the number of ransomware attacks in 2021, this figure is likely around 750 million. Ransomware attacks present a threat to business continuity and data security.

Many people think that the worst outcome of a ransomware attack is paying the ransom. After that, you get your data back, right? Well, not always. Even if you have paid a ransom, there is no guarantee that you will get your data back. There are many instances where things don’t work this way. Examples of this include:

  • A hospital in Kansas sent money to meet a ransom demand. After, the hackers did not return the data but demanded additional money.
  • A small retailer paid a ransom, but the virus malfunctioned and only partially decrypted the company’s files.

And these aren’t isolated instances. There is a one in five chance that you won’t get your data back after paying a ransom. There are three common reasons for this:

  1. The decryption system could fail
  2. The attackers could demand additional money
  3. You could become a target again

Unfortunately, it can be very costly to pay the ransom, especially if it doesn’t result in the return of your data. The average ransom is approximately $230,000. However, this figure can be substantially higher when the targeted company is in healthcare or finance. Additionally, the cost of remediation after a ransomware attack is $761,106, and the average downtime a company suffers after an attack is 19 days. This downtime is often accompanied by a tremendous loss of revenue.

And in addition to the direct costs of a ransomware attack, companies that have suffered a data breach may be the target of legal action. The bottom line is that ransomware attacks are expensive, and unfortunately, even paying a ransom doesn’t always result in a positive outcome.

There is a better alternative. Creating a disaster recovery plan can be the key to weathering a ransomware attack. Approximately 96% of companies with a reliable backup and disaster recovery plan survive a ransomware attack. When these efforts are combined with preventative measures directed at ransomware attacks, you can greatly reduce your risk. And this is much better than relying on cybercriminals to keep their word and return your data.

A disaster recovery plan is a formal document created by a company. This document includes instructions for unplanned incidents. A comprehensive disaster recovery plan will include many events, such as natural disasters, power outages, and cyber attacks (including ransomware attacks. The plan will also contain step-by-step guidance for actions that can be taken to reduce the effects of any disaster.

Business disruption due to data loss from a ransomware attack can be devastating. A disaster recovery plan can ensure business continuity through multiple methods. These methods allow the company to restore critical systems within minutes, even after a ransomware attack. The benefits of this feature include:

  • The ability to minimize interruptions to normal operations.
  • Limiting the extent of the disruption and damage.
  • Minimizing the economic impact of the interruption.
  • Establishing alternative methods of operation in advance of a threat.
  • Training personnel on appropriate emergency measures.
  • Providing for a smooth and rapid resolution without impacting services or product delivery.

In addition to this, a disaster recovery plan will ensure that you still have access to your data, which removes the leverage that cyber attackers have. And without leverage, you have no reason to pay a ransom. You keep your data and your money. If all companies adopted a disaster recovery plan that includes provisions for restoring data and systems, cybercriminals would have to ditch ransomware attacks entirely.

And while many companies fail to create a disaster recovery plan in an attempt to cut costs, this is a grave mistake. The reality is that a disaster recovery plan can save your company. Many small and mid-sized companies simply cannot afford the losses of an attack and stay in business. The cost of ransom expenses, revenue losses from downtime, reputational damage, legal fees, and regulatory penalties can quickly add up. Few companies can return to business as usual after a ransomware attack.

One of the best things to protect your company from a ransomware attack is to develop a disaster recovery plan. To learn more about developing a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, contact Sagacent Technologies today.