As Ransomware Attacks Rise In Kenya, Effective Data Backup Becomes Essential

By Bar Hori, Regional Sales Executive and Gerhard Fourie, Channel Lead at Commvault Africa

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, cybercrime, in particular, ransomware, has seen a massive increase across the globe. As a burgeoning economy in Africa, Kenya has become a growing target, with a new report from internet security group Kaspersky recording 32.8 million attacks in the first half of 2021. According to INTERPOL, increasing digital demand in the country, coupled with “a lack of cybersecurity policies and standards, exposes online services to major risks”. As digital transformation continues to gain traction in Kenya, data becomes increasingly important for business, and it needs to be effectively protected. Effective data backup and recovery are key to overcoming the potential threat of a ransomware attack.

Connected, but vulnerable

In Kenya, as in much of the world, the pandemic and moving workforces to remote working scenarios opened organisations to increased risk. According to the INTERPOL African Cyberthreat Assessment Report, 83% of Kenya’s population is online, the highest in Africa. However, a lack of cybersecurity knowledge means that many of these users are vulnerable to attack, making businesses in Kenya an attractive target.

In addition, legislation around data privacy is still in development, so there is a lack of standardisation when it comes to data management. As bad actors seek to exploit the situation, there has been a significant uptick in ransomware attacks in the country, with ransomware being one of the top five cyber threats facing Africa as a whole.

When, not if

The unique situation in Kenya makes businesses in the country fairly easy targets for cybercrime. In addition, there is a lack of effective deterrent around cybercrime, because it is a massive business, and it is difficult to police on a global scale. The unfortunate reality is that ransomware attacks have become a matter of when, not if, and businesses need to be prepared to face the threat.

While having all of the best practice security solutions in place, such as firewalls, antivirus and more remains critical, data backup has become the last line of defence. An effective data backup, monitoring and recovery tool that offers an immutable copy of data provides a final fallback that enables businesses to recover when the worst occurs.

A multi-faceted approach

When a ransomware attack successfully strikes, businesses are often left with two options: either pay the ransom and hope to get data back, or lose the data. With the right backup and recovery solution in place, a third option is available – restore from a clean copy of the data, that has been air-gapped away from production databases, and is immutable, so it cannot be infected by ransomware. This has become the most effective part of strategies aimed at handling the growing threat of ransomware.

The reality is that security alone is no longer enough. Protecting data, a business’s most valuable asset, is vital. A multifaceted approach that includes multiple backups, monitoring of backups to quickly identify any problems, and the ability to recover without potentially reinfecting data, is the most effective way. In addition, education around cyber threats needs to become a priority to create awareness of the threat. The key is to be prepared, have a strategy for reacting and mitigating risk, and be able to return to a state of ‘business as usual in the shortest time possible. The right data backup and recovery solution is central to this.

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