By Bar Hori and Gerhard Fourie
The shifting landscape caused by the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated not only digital transformation, but cybercrime as well. As one of the largest economies in Africa, Nigeria is increasingly a target, particularly when it comes to ransomware. The African Cyberthreat Assessment Report from INTERPOL identifies increasing digital demand, coupled with “a lack of cybersecurity policies and standards” as issues that make ransomware one of the most significant cybersecurity threats. With data as the lifeblood of any organisation, effectively protecting it is critical, which makes the right data backup and recovery solution vital in handling the threat of ransomware in Nigeria.
Cybersecurity is essential
The current economic climate has opened businesses in Nigeria to increased risk, with many companies being forced to adopt remote workforces without necessarily having the security and data management protocols in place first. The INTERPOL report highlights that 60% of Nigeria’s population is online, but lack of cybersecurity knowledge makes users vulnerable to attack, and Nigerian businesses have become increasingly attractive targets for cybercrime.
There is also the challenge of a lack of standardisation around not only cybersecurity but also data management and data privacy, as the laws in these areas are still under development in Nigeria and much of the African continent.
The result is that there has been a significant increase in the number of cyberattacks: according to a report from internet security group Kaspersky, Nigeria has experienced a 24.6% increase in the number of threats over the last year, with 16.7 million attacks recorded in the first half of 2021.
Ransomware will happen
Lack of cybersecurity standards coupled with rapidly accelerating digital transformation and insufficient awareness of the threats makes businesses in Nigeria increasingly attractive as targets for cybercrime, particularly, profitable exploits like ransomware. The fact is that ransomware attacks are no longer a matter of ‘if’, but a matter of when an attack will successfully penetrate an organisation’s defences.
It has therefore become imperative not only to have security solutions like firewalls, threat detection and antimalware in place, but to address data backup and recovery as a matter of urgency. Organisations in Nigeria need to adopt effective data backup, monitoring and recovery that offers an air-gapped, immutable copy of data. This is the last line of defence that will enable businesses to have a fallback to recover from when ransomware happens.
The data is the key
Ransomware attacks rely on the fact that businesses will pay the ransom rather than lose their data, which are the only two options typically available after a successful attack. Neither of these situations is good for business, however, so a third option – the ability to 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 – can be a business saver. The right backup and recovery solution will enable businesses to do just this, and such a strategy is by far the most effective when it comes to handling the threat of ransomware.
Data is the key to business in a digital world and has rapidly become the most valuable asset of any business. It must be protected effectively, and security solutions alone are no longer sufficient. This means that education around cyber threats needs to become a priority because addressing the human element is critical. In addition, it is imperative to adopt a multifaceted approach, including multiple backups, monitoring of backups to quickly identify any problems, and the ability to recover without potentially reinfecting data. In the wake of a ransomware attack, the ability to return to business quickly is the key. This requires a strategy reacting and mitigating risk, and the right data backup and recovery solution.
Bar Hori is the Regional Sales Executive and Gerhard Fourie, Channel Lead at Commvault Africa