Ransomware Continues to Cause Mayhem as Victims are Unable to Recover 43% of Affected Data

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Ransomware remains an ongoing threat for organisations and is the largest single cause of IT outages and downtime as 41% of data is compromised during a cyberattack, according to the latest Veeam 2024 Ransomware Trends Report. The report reveals that only 57% of the compromised data will be recovered, leaving organisations vulnerable to substantial data loss and negative business impact as a result.

“Ransomware is endemic, impacting 3 out of 4 organisations in 2023. AI is now enabling the creation of smarter, more advanced security, but it’s also facilitating growth in the volume of sophistication of attacks,” said Dave Russell, Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy at Veeam. “Our report delivers a clear message: ransomware attacks will continue, be more severe than predicted, and the overall impact will cost organisations more than they expect. Organisations must take action to ensure cyber resiliency and acknowledge that rapid, clean recovery matters most. By aligning teams and bolstering cybersecurity with immutable backups, they can protect their valuable business data while Veeam keeps their business running and secure.”

The third annual Veeam 2024 Ransomware Trends Report draws insights from vetted organisations that experienced at least one successful cyberattack in the preceding 12 months. With 1,200 responses analysed, comprising executives, information security professionals, and backup administrators, the report provides a comprehensive overview of the evolving threat landscape.

 

The toll on the organisation’s people

Cyber-attacks naturally affect an organisation’s financial stability, but just as significant is the toll it has on teams and individuals. When a cyberattack strikes, 45% of respondents reported heightened pressure on IT and security teams. Additionally, 26% experienced a loss of productivity, while 25% encountered disruptions to internal or customer-related services.

The report shows that the human impact of cyberattacks cannot be overstated. 45% of surveyed individuals cited increased workload post-attack, while 40% reported heightened stress levels and other personal challenges that are difficult to mitigate on ‘normal’ days. These challenges, coupled with existing organisational struggles, further underscore the importance of effective cyber defense strategies.

 

Organisations are misaligned for preparedness

Despite increased focus on cyber-preparedness, organisations still face a misalignment between their backup and cyber teams. For the third consecutive year, close to two-thirds (63%) of organisations find their backup and cyber teams lacking synchronisation. Adding to the misalignment challenges in organisations, 61% of security professionals and 75% of backup admins believe that the teams need either ‘significant improvement’ or that a complete system overhaul is required.

Paying the ransom does not ensure recoverability

For the third year in a row, the majority (81%) of organisations surveyed paid the ransom to end an attack and recover data. One in three of these organisations that paid the ransom still could not recover even after paying. And also for the third year in a row, more organisations ‘paid, but could not recover’ than those organisations that ‘recovered without paying.’

 

Unveiling the true financial impact

Contrary to the belief that having cyber insurance increases the likelihood of ransom payments, Veeam’s research indicates otherwise. Despite only a minority of organisations possessing a policy to pay, 81% opted to do so. Interestingly, 65% paid with insurance and another 21% had insurance but chose to pay without making a claim. This implies that in 2023, 86% of organisations had insurance coverage that could have been utilised for a cyber event.

The ransoms paid averages to be only 32% of the overall financial impact to an organisation post-attack. Moreover, cyber insurance will not cover the entirety of the total costs associated with an attack. Only 62% of the overall impact is in some way reclaimable through insurance or other means, with everything else going against the organisation’s bottom-dollar budget.

 

Relying on a “good backup”

  • The most common component of a cyber preparedness playbook is a “good backup.” While cyber and backup teams may not always be organisationally aligned, when asked about the existence of an incident response team (IRT) and whether that team had a playbook, a mere 2% of organisations lacked a pre-identified team. Additionally, only 3% had teams but without a playbook in place.
  • Other key findings from the Veeam 2024 Ransomware Trends Report include:
  • Cloud and on-premises data are just as easily attackable: Surprisingly, there was no significant variation between how much data was affected within the data centre vs. data within remote offices/branch offices or even on data hosted in a public or private cloud. Meaning that all IT infrastructure is just as seamlessly available to the attacker as it is easily accessible to the users.
  • Most organisations risk reintroducing infections: Alarmingly, almost two-thirds (63%) of organisations are at risk of reintroducing infections while recovering from ransomware attacks or significant IT disasters. Pressured to restore IT operations quickly and influenced by executives, many organisations skip vital steps, such as rescanning data in quarantine, causing the likelihood of IT teams to inadvertently restore infected data or malware.
  • Organisations must ensure recoverable data: As a ‘lesson learned’, respondents of prior cyberattacks now recognise the importance of immutability with 75% of organisations now utilising on-premises disks that can be hardened and 85% are utilising cloud-storage with immutability capabilities. In fact, half of their overall backup storage is immutable, highlighting good improvements but with more work to be done.

The full Veeam 2024 Ransomware Trends Report is available now for download at https://vee.am/RW24 and as part of sessions at VeeamON 2024, the community event for data recovery experts, taking place online June 3-5 and in person in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Designed by and built for the backup and recovery professional, attendees will expand their skills, learn how to protect their businesses from ransomware, and share industry knowledge with exclusive content from VeeamON 2024 Diamond Sponsors include ExaGrid, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lenovo and Microsoft; Platinum sponsors Backblaze, Hitachi, Pure Storage, Scality, and Wasabi; and many others. Registration for the in-person event and the virtual option is now open.

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