May 2017 saw the WannaCry ransomware infected thousands of computers around the world. It hit 150 countries, from the UK to the USA, and encrypted specific file types that cannot be accessed without a file key and a paid-up ransom. It’s a reality security pundits have predicted for a very long time, and one that has left organisations gasping. Who knew it could be so voracious and vicious? Well, the security experts did. In fact, if it wasn’t for a security expert, the ransomware could have done far more damage than it did. Unfortunately, this attack has impacted more than files, bottom lines and reputations, it has also impacted on trust.
Many businesses feel that this is proof that the cloud is a terrible idea. Why would they trust their data to the cloud when this attack happened on home turf? The thing is, WannaCry doesn’t tell a story of cloud data storage and the failure of security to protect it, it tells the story of old computers and operating systems without relevant patches, and of users without the right training and levels of awareness.
The cloud can, in fact, be a more resilient solution. Especially when it comes to data storage. Most cloud datacentres have different security levels in place, specifically designed to block certain exploits and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. This high level of security starts in the physical hardware layers and is executed across the software and application level layers to ensure rich protection and control. Most datacentres also have backups of data which can be accessed in the event of a ransomware attack, and these backups are kept offsite at different locations.
For the larger organisation that finds it more complex to place all their data in the cloud, this backup functionality can be used to store critical files and systems that can be restored easily in the event of an attack. Cloud data storage can decrease the risk of ransomware attacks as the operating systems and hardware security for cloud systems are different from those used on the personal computer. It also alleviates another loophole often used by hackers to gain access to corporate systems – people. A cloud backup not linked to the computer or cloud synchronising storage bypasses human error and keeps files secure.
Reliable datacentres monitor global internet traffic, DoS attacks and virus breakouts to prevent and block internet traffic or IPs at the right moment. In short, cloud supports system security and helps the business bypass ransomware demands.