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With ransomware looping its way into major headlines weekly, we wanted to cover what we find to be a great defense for this growing cyber threat. With WannaCry ransomware hitting more than 300,000 computers throughout Europe, parts of Asia and the United States earlier this month, and imitators quick on its heels, ransomware is still a force to be reckoned with.

If unphased by this last event, may we remind you that ransomware omits no company from its grasp. Regardless of size or industry, ransomware can sweep the rug out from under anyone’s feet, leading to company downtime and data loss.

Isn’t a good security application enough?

With ransomware attacks getting smarter by the minute and increasing 300 percent from 2015-2016, a good security defense isn’t enough to be fully protected. Ransomware is specifically designed to avoid detection by security applications - using techniques like polymorphism and throw-away command and control servers - and to impair recovery efforts. Some encrypt native Windows backup files, prohibiting restoration without a decryption key. Others use deleteware to delete native backup files altogether, making recovery impossible1

Although a good security application can prevent or warn companies about an attack, if the ransomware does find its way through, how reliable is your backup and recovery plan, and how fast can your data be restored?

Shouldn’t I just pay the ransomware?

If your security application fails, many believe it’s easiest to just pay the ransomware. With the threat of further downtime, data, and monetary loss, sometimes ransomware feels like the best strategy. However, law enforcement agencies like the FBI strongly encourage organizations not to do this:

According to the FBI:

  •   Paying a ransom does not guarantee an organization will regain access to their data; in fact, some were never provided with decryption keys after having paid a ransom.
  •   Some victims who paid the demand report being targeted again by cyber actors.
  •   After paying the originally demanded ransom, some victims have been asked to pay more to get the promised decryption key.
  •   Paying could inadvertently encourage this criminal business model.

What is the true cost of ransomware?

Initially, ransom demands average to only $679. But after factoring in cost of downtime due to an attack, companies can be paying an average of $7,900 per minute, a 41 percent increase from $5,600 in 20102. According to a Ponemon Institute study, organizations can expect a $740,357 loss when it comes to cyber attacks. 

How can hyperconvergence save the day?

SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure provides a scalable, modular, 2U building block of x86 resources that offers all the functionality of traditional IT infrastructure—including hypervisor, compute, storage, and data protection capabilities—in a single device, with a unified VM-centric administrative interface. SimpliVity’s built-in data protection functionality accelerates data backup and restoration operations, helping IT organizations rapidly recover from ransomware attacks. The solution reduces equipment and operations expenses and complexity by eliminating special purpose data backup and recovery tools, data deduplication solutions, and WAN optimization appliances3.

SimpliVity’s inherent data efficiencies enable more frequent backups for near-continuous data protection, longer retention periods and faster recovery.

With SimpliVity:

  •   VMs can be backed up and restored in minutes or seconds— even over bandwidth-constrained WAN links, backed by SimpliVity’s HyperGuarantee.
  •   a VM and all its data can be restored quickly and easily, minimizing system downtime, business disruptions, and revenue loss.
  •   You can take full logical backups every time with no incremental chains or dependencies on parent VMs.

As a SimpliVity Platinum partner, VLCM helps organizations mitigate ransomware risks with SimpliVity Hyperconverged Infrastructure for the Rocky Mountain West. We believe SimpliVity has the best vision and execution for hyperconverged infrastructure, and we partner with SimpliVity to deliver fast backups and reliable recovery to businesses of all types and sizes. 


1SimpliVity White Paper, "Mitigating Ransomware Risks with SimpliVity Hyperconverged Infrastructure," 2016.
2"One minute of data center downtime costs US $7,900 on average," Datacenter Dynamics by Yevgeniy Sverdlik. December, 2013.
3SimpliVity White Paper, "Mitigating Ransomware Risks with SimpliVity Hyperconverged Infrastructure," 2016.

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