Ransomware Decision: to Pay or Not to Pay

by | Apr 30, 2021 | Cyber Incident and Response

The debate has been raging for a while. When ransomware hits an organization, the decision must be made: “to pay up or not to pay up.” While it is easy to think of the dilemma strictly in academic terms, when not actually facing the crisis, the reality of a ransomware attack is paralyzing. In today’s threat landscape, it is full of many variables that may dictate how an organization believes it is to best respond, not only for the sake of self-preservation, but also for the sake of protecting customer information, vendors, and more.

Ransomers have expanded the types of pressure they can exert: nonpayment of the ransom may not merely risk data loss, it may risk data being exposed and sold. But ransom payment offers no guarantees. If an organization pays the ransom, it may save nothing. The greed of ransomers has resulted in the sale of stolen data on the dark webs, even though the ransom was paid. Businesses have no assurance that paying the ransom will rescue them at all. So, as a result, many refuse to pay.

Who is safe from a ransomware attack?

Some believe that ransomers have proven to be selective with their targets, with the Healthcare industry being the most popular industry to be reported for ransomware and data breaches. But no industry is safe, and in actuality, surveys suggest that media industries and IT/telecommunication industries fare the worst. As the Sophos report “The State of Ransomware” indicates, it is pervasive across all industries and it is a global problem. No one is safe.

Locking down a network to make it impervious to ransomware attack is daunting enough. It does not help that demands for remote workforces and device flexibility, which has been forced on companies, adds to the pressure. Both the global pandemic and the need to improve customer service options further complicates and decentralizes control over network security.

Ransomware Decision: Something has got to give.

The good news is that there is a solution for every problem, and one of the solutions can be found in virtualization. It has the ability to remove complication and provide a type of centralization for a remote workforce which, in turn, helps managers secure their networks.

What is virtualization?

Virtualization protects computer networks from ransomware.

Virtualization of a computer network can be likened to a the security of an incubator: the network is protected from any hostile forces that exist in the environment, and all interactions with it involve barriers that prevent the passing of viruses and other infections.

Virtualization is, in fact, a software application. It allows one central system to be divided among multiple computers, where the multiple computers/end users are able to process their information in a manner that maintains their independent work and data, yet all the work and data is received independent of the devices by which the users enter data. Imagine that the whole computer network is put inside an anerobic incubator, and all the end users are still able to type away at their stations. Their stations, however, are reached through glove chambers. It helps maintain the network data in an isolated state…and keeps out the bugs! Furthermore, the virtual software has the ability to provide easy management of policies, guaranteeing control over which user can access which parts of the network — another crucial element of network security.

VMWare offers the Workspace ONE virtualization solution.

One such solution that is useful to businesses both large and small is VMWare’s Workspace ONE. It is able to maintain business processes for remote workforces, it supports the use and efficiency of the applications that the business needs while simultaneously solving VPN/connection problems, and it solves the security problems posed by password management and endpoint security. Furthermore, network managers can have complete visibility over who is accessing what, and govern permissions effortlessly.

Secure Networkers is providing a free webinar to demonstrate how Workspace ONE works on May 6, 2021, 9-11AM Central Time. Please join us and become educated on virtualization: what it looks like, how it functions, and how it benefits the security needs of business.

Ransomware may be one of the more prevalent threats that virtualization can help organizations avoid, but it is by no means the only threat. The work of network administrators to keep the networks they guard completely impervious to all attacks known to (and yet to be invented by) criminals is a relentless, anxiety-driven existence that knows no end. Since bad actors never stop innovating new kinds of attacks, virtualization offers as comprehensive an approach to protecting a network as one can get, and it is a great help to those tasked with managing it.

Instead of anticipating whether to pay or not pay ransom, should your organization be hit with it, consider upgrading your network with virtualization. Not only will it create a computing environment that will be more efficient and likely more profitable, but it may just save you from having to make a decision, like a ransomware decision, where both options stink.

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