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The Importance of Ransomware Protection in Azure

When it comes to cyber-attacks, ransomware is one of the most used and successful forms of attack. Ransomware is generally used to gain access to their victim’s devices and information usually through infected emails, sites and messages and will result in the victim’s data being encrypted and inaccessible. After access is restricted, a target is then demanded to pay ransom for the decryption key.

Whenever a ransomware attack is successful it can easily cripple a business. And no one is safe, generally attackers will target businesses of all types and sizes. Data shows that ransomware is one of the largest growing threats to businesses and IT Support Services in London insist that everyone take preventative action and put security measures in place to ensure protection from the inevitable.

When attacks are successful, there is plenty of discourse on whether or not businesses should just pay the demanded ransoms, but the reality is that there’s more at stake than the initial financial demand. For many businesses, the cost is significantly less to just rebuild from scratch than to pay the original demand. For others, it’s simpler to just pay for the decryption key even though there is a risk they won’t receive it even if they do pay.

Undoubtedly, paying the ransom will only incentivise attackers but more importantly, the biggest risk according to top providers of IT Support in London is that the real damage happens as soon an attack is successful and data is encrypted, deleted or manipulated. The effect from the initial attack is bad enough but businesses should be aware that when the attacker is successful they will leave backdoors open in the network for future criminal activity. This means that whether the ransom is paid or not, the risk of a future attack is even higher.

And when it comes to Azure and cloud infrastructure, ransomware is a big threat because of the nature of the infrastructure relying on the internet and access to a larger pool of data. With a single computer, attacks can be smaller and more limited but with the cloud, attackers have grown to include a variety of techniques to target corporate networks and cloud platforms. On-premises systems are often more vulnerable and more often targeted but the cloud is more vulnerable just by the fact that it has more access overall.

For cloud infrastructures, Microsoft has found that often attackers will target multiple resources to try to access valuable company secrets and customer data. They will go through a four-step process which includes exposure, access, lateral movement, and actions.

Of course, the ideal situation is to stop attacks before they even begin but no system is 100% guaranteed to work. Microsoft 365 Consulting providers have pointed out that Microsoft has invested a lot of time and resources to ensure that Azure has a variety of resources and features available to help businesses protect, detect, and respond to attacks. These can be used for both high-volume everyday attacks and sophisticated targeted attacks.

To prepare for an attack with Azure it is suggested to start by adopting a cybersecurity framework with the Microsoft cloud security benchmark. From there, there are a variety of other steps to take including prioritizing mitigation, limiting the scope for potential damage, preparing for the worst-case scenario, promoting awareness, and preparing for the potential quick recovery.

There are more built-in features like native threat detection, passwordless and multi-factor authentication and native firewall and network security that should be put in place. Azure relies on services like Microsoft Defender for Cloud and Microsoft Sentinel to help businesses deal with ransomware and other forms of cyber attacks.

Overall, Azure is a highly sophisticated cloud-based service. While the threat of ransomware continues to increase, Azure will continue to provide their users with the tools, services and resources to lessen the potential threat of a ransomware attack but also mitigate the effects after an attack has been attempted.

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