The Best Line of Defense

The Best Line of Defense

Keeping Ransomware threats exactly where they belong

Of the many challenges plaguing the security industry today, stricter compliance regulations are a top concern for many administrators. A main reason for this is because the longer data must be retained, the longer the window of opportunity for a cyberattack grows.

With IDC’s Video Surveillance Survey 2022 showing that a growing number of enterprises are expecting their video surveillance storage requirements to increase over the next three years, it is likely these windows for attacks will grow even more. Not only can a cyberattack put sensitive data into the hands of bad actors who could destroy or tamper with it, but it can also be costly. Recent data found that the average ransom paid is up over $100,000 this year, and that is not counting investigation costs.

One of the simplest and most cost-effective means to protect security data against ransomware threats is by storing a second copy in the cloud. Cloud storage offers several key benefits when it comes to fighting cyberattacks, including, zero-trust, immutability, and scalability.

Why a Zero-trust Approach to Cloud Storage is Key
Now that enterprises operate in an age of interconnected access to data, many have seen the need to adopt a less trusting model of security where focus is placed on users and their access to certain resources and data. As a result, many have adopted zero trust security, an approach that requires all members of an organization to be authenticated and authorized to access sensitive data.

A major part of zero trust that security administrators must keep an eye on is cloud storage. Since the cloud can potentially be vulnerable to cyberattacks, administrators should take added zero trust precautions. This can include end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication, and immutable buckets. The less access users have to data, the better it is protected from malicious changes, deletion, or encryption from bad actors.

The Importance of an Having a Copy in the Cloud
Most surveillance video is still traditionally stored on premises. However, there are numerous benefits to storing a copy in the cloud, from freeing up on-site storage space, to safeguarding a copy against other security incidents like ransomware or accidental deletion.

Since the onset of the cloud, this strategy has evolved to consist of another added layer of protection, which is an immutable copy of data. An immutable layer is locked and cannot be altered or deleted. Companies leave the replication of the cloud copies to the cloud vendor.

The user backs up to one cloud location and the cloud vendor replicates the backup, remaining unseen by the corporate network.

An immutable copy of data is critical to any cybersecurity strategy, considering security administrators must plan for any kind of incident that can occur. Since most ransomware attacks occur because of human error, an additional layer of immutable backup can help restore data if it is affected by an attack.

This layer is “air gapped,” which means it is disconnected from the corporate network, making it impenetrable from potential hackers. It also helps ensure the chain of custody for evidence in investigations.

Simple Ability to Scale Up and Down
As security footage regulations change, the amount of content that the cloud must store also changes. Cloud storage allows for administrators to easily scale their storage up or down, based on demand. This is especially helpful for organizations that use motion-based cameras and have busier times of year, for example sports stadiums or schools.

For states or organizations that require longer retention time, it is even more critical to have secure cloud storage, since bad actors have more time to plan their attacks. By being able to increase or decrease cloud storage as needed, security administrators can ensure that the necessary data is being protected for the required amount of time. This way, they are meeting regulations while also keeping data and security footage safe.

Ensuring protection is not a simple task. It requires thorough planning and regular reassessment and checkups. Beyond cloud storage, organizations should ensure that they are regularly training their employees on cybersecurity best practices, such as how to spot phishing emails and updating who is authorized to access data. With regular cybersecurity assessments and proper cloud storage, security administrators can ensure that they are protecting their data from bad actors to the best of their ability.

This article originally appeared in the September / October 2023 issue of Security Today.


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