Stronger ransomware protection finally pays off – Help Net Security

60% of companies are ‘very’ to ‘extremely’ concerned about ransomware attacks, according to latest research from Hornetsecurity.

ransomware protection awareness

Businesses acknowledge ransomware risk

Hornetsecurity revealed that 92.5% businesses are aware of ransomware’s potential for negative impact. Still, just 54% of respondents said their leadership is ‘actively involved in conversations and decision-making’ around preventing such attacks. 39.7% said they were happy to ‘leave it to IT to deal with the issue’.

“Our survey is a timely reminder that ransomware protection is key to ongoing success. Organizations cannot afford to become victims –ongoing security awareness training and multi-layered ransomware protection is critical to ensure there are no insurmountable losses,” said Daniel Hofmann, CEO of Hornetsecurity.

Reassuringly, 93.2% of respondents rank ransomware protection as ‘very’ to ‘extremely’ important in terms of IT priorities for their organization, and 87.8% of respondents confirmed they have a disaster recovery plan in place for a ransomware attack.

However, that leaves 12.2% of organizations without a disaster recovery plan. Of those companies, more than half cited a ‘lack of resources or time’ as the primary reason. Additionally, one-third of respondents said a disaster recovery plan is ‘not considered a priority by management’.

Organizations urged to stay alert as ransomware evolves

Since 2021, Hornetsecurity has found relatively small changes in the percentage of respondents saying their organizations have fallen victim to a ransomware attack: 21.1% in 2021, 23.9% in 2022, but a new low of 19.7% in 2023.

Additionally, companies that reported paying a ransom are down from 9.1% in 2021 to 6.9% in 2023.

Some of the data in this survey show positive results, with most respondents reporting they understand the importance of protection, and a drop in ransomware attack victims in 2023, showing companies are becoming more vigilant in their data protection.

However, ransomware attacks continue to evolve, so organizations must maintain this vigilance. In 2023, 81% of respondents reported they are receiving end-user training in comparison to 2021, when only 71.2% reported they had received training.

“Although organizations have reported fewer ransomware attacks in 2023, the threats haven’t necessarily decreased,” Hofmann said. “Cybersecurity awareness among all users remains a crucial element to further decrease the risk of falling for these threats, especially as attacks become more sophisticated with new technologies.”

Effective security tools for ransomware defense

The survey revealed the most used tools to combat potential threats:

  • 87.8% used to end-point detection software with anti-ransomware capabilities
  • 84.4% cited ’email filtration and threat analysis’
  • 22.4% mentioned ‘AI-enabled security solutions’ as a tool they are now using to combat ransomware within their organization.

The most common primary security feature to protect backups from ransomware is:

  • Immutable storage (40.6% of respondents)
  • Tight control of user and application permissions (38.3%)
  • Air-gapped storage (27.8%).

Given the unpredictable nature of ransomware attacks, 76.2% of respondents said their business has changed the way it backs up its data. The 73.6% of respondents who have a recovery plan in place for their Microsoft 365 data are ‘very’ to ‘extremely’ confident in their chosen solution, while 55.1% of respondents are ‘very’ to ‘extremely’ confident that their data backups would be safe from a ransomware attack today.