As terrible as a ransomware attack may be, if you back up your data and secure your backups against ransomware, you can recover from it, decrease your recovery time, and avoid paying the ransom.

Creating frequent, secure backups can help you protect your data, but the next critical step is to protect backups against ransomware. Remember that even backups may get infected, rendering production and backup data worthless. This article demonstrates how protecting backups against ransomware improves your chances of ransomware recovery and allows you to return to business quickly after an attack.

What Is a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware is malicious programming that encrypts data to prevent access to it and other systems. Attackers claim the encryption key for ransom and often threaten to reveal your data if you do not pay. Ransomware can corrupt software and operating systems in addition to individual files. Enterprise targets include Active Directory authorization and authentication capabilities.

Cybercriminals typically send phishing emails with malicious attachments or links to malicious websites to spread ransomware. They may exploit flaws in operating systems or software applications. Recently, fraudsters have been looking for workers ready to unleash ransomware into their organization’s network in exchange for a portion of the payment.

Protecting Backups from Ransomware

Secure your backup and recovery systems against possible threats by preventing corruption, destruction, or encryption. Create a subnet to limit network connections to backup storage repositories, but encrypting backups makes your data useless to prospective attackers.

Here are some of the best techniques for protecting your backups from this dangerous threat:

Maintain Several Copies of Your Data

The 3-2-1 approach is an IT guideline that states that having two backups is critical owing to the possibility of one failing. It entails keeping three copies of data: two locally and one off-site. This guarantees that numerous redundant copies of data may be retrieved and recovered in the event of a catastrophe. This method is part of a strong data security architecture and may save firms money if not implemented. Still, it also provides a vital backup in a catastrophe.

Use Full, Differential and Incremental Backups

Backups are your final line of security, and they are sometimes the only means to recover data that has been changed, lost, or destroyed due to an emergency or purposeful attack. Aside from adhering to the 3-2-1 rule, it is wise to further reduce risk by diversifying your data backup options.

Full Backup

Full backup is generating a single duplicate of firm data to secure it and speed up recovery. Because of the large amount of data, it demands more disk space and network bandwidth. Advanced technologies, such as data deduplication and compression, may help save storage space. If backup time and capacity are available, complete backups provide consistent results. Encrypting the backup is critical.

Differential Backup

Differential backup is a data backup strategy that only records files that have changed since the previous complete backup, reducing storage space and cost-effectiveness. It is slower to repair and more difficult to maintain. Depending on the store media, it may give quicker recovery times than incremental backups. However, it depends on complete backups. Therefore, replications should always contain the whole. Differential backups make recovery easier in shorter time frames but grow larger as they approach the next full backup.

Incremental Backup

Incremental backups are a low-cost and efficient way of managing data that saves modifications and additions made since the last backup. They need less storage space and may be implemented at the byte or block levels. The save sets depend on each incremental backup in the chain, and extended incremental chains may improve retention. However, they take longer to repair and need more work to maintain. It is ideal for scenarios requiring limited time and network bandwidth.

Distribute Backup Tasks and Access

Distributing backup responsibilities across many systems and giving diverse roles to IT staff members might help prevent ransomware from invading your backups. This guarantees that no one administrator has access to all backups, which limits the spread to fewer sites and accounts. Desktops and laptops should be backed up individually to their respective cloud accounts. This distributed technique decreases the possibility of a ransomware assault infecting your backups.

Limit Access to the Backup Software and Repositories

Similarly, restrict access to your backup console and repository. Create numerous backup admin roles, then offer each position rights and duties that are separate.

As an example, allocate primary duties to distinct positions, such as:

  • Backup job creation
  • Retention policies
  • Reporting

Air-gap Backups — and the Backup Plan

Ransomware attacks may result in data loss, making it critical to safeguard backups from harm. To avoid this, keep them in an offline, unconnected place that is unavailable from internal networks and the internet. Air-gapping backups, which save data on portable media like disks, might offer an off-site backup option, but recovery times can be long owing to the time-consuming process of obtaining, transferring, mounting, and reading data.

An alternative is to store backups in the cloud with a reputable supplier who provides an off-site approach and the ability to restore to many places. Cloud backups may speed up ransomware recovery, but backup data must be encrypted before leaving your network. Backups must be saved securely and off-site to ensure a successful ransomware recovery.

Harden the Data Backup with Immutable Storage

Keep a copy of your backup data on WORM (Write-Once, Read-Many) storage, often known as immutable storage. This sort of storage medium aids in ransomware recovery attempts by protecting data against alteration or erasure. You may, of course, specify a date for deletion in your data retention plan. Ransomware cannot change, remove, or encrypt material that has been written to WORM media.

Increase Backup Frequency

Making comprehensive backups on a regular basis is essential for rapidly recovering from a ransomware attack. To provide complete ransomware backup protection, back up everything every day to capture any changes, updates, and additions. If you do not execute complete backups on a regular basis, recovering your data will take longer, and you will fall short of your recovery point objectives (RPO).

A recent complete backup that allows you to restore your systems to a safe state is required for successful recovery.

Monitor Continuously

Continuous monitoring gives you a higher chance of detecting subtle changes in a system as they occur. This makes it simpler to isolate, confine, and remediate compromised devices before the ransomware has a chance to enter your network. If you scan your systems seldom, you increase your chances of identifying ransomware when it’s too late.

Use Multifactor Authentication

Multifactor authentication (MFA) is required for your administrative accounts. MFA requires all authorized and illegitimate users to input an extra credential in addition to their login and password. It may provide a significant barrier to an attacker attempting to access the backup interface to alter your rules and operations or even erase your current backups.

MFA is also useful for backup repositories that are operated from different consoles.


The issue is not if ransomware will hit, but when. Often, the only thing standing between you and a ransomware assault is your unwavering alertness. The only way to prevent an attack from becoming a disaster is to safeguard your backups against ransomware.

These strategies are part of any wise IT group’s toolset. Following these ransomware backup protection strategies will ensure that you have done almost everything necessary to keep attacks by ransomware at bay.