Ransomware impacts organizations and data--and also yield a negative human impact, including increased workloads and heightened stress.

In ransomware attacks, expect to lose 43 percent of affected data

Cyberattacks impact organizations and also yield a negative human impact, including increased workloads and heightened stress levels post-attack

Key points:

During a ransomware attack, only 57 percent of compromised data will be recovered, leaving 43 percent of compromised data lost, according to the Veeam 2024 Ransomware Trends Report.

Ransomware remains an ongoing threat for organizations, including higher education, and is the largest single cause of IT outages and downtime because 41 percent of data is compromised during a cyberattack, according to the report. Organizations are vulnerable to substantial data loss and negative business impact as a result.

“Ransomware is endemic, impacting 3 out of 4 organizations in 2023. AI is now enabling the creation of smarter, more advanced security, but it’s also facilitating growth in the volume of sophistication of attacks,” said Dave Russell, Senior Vice President, head of strategy at Veeam. “Ransomware attacks will continue, be more severe than predicted, and the overall impact will cost organizations more than they expect. Organizations must take action to ensure cyber resiliency and acknowledge that rapid, clean recovery matters most.”

The third annual Veeam 2024 Ransomware Trends Report draws insights from vetted organizations that experienced at least one successful cyberattack in the preceding 12 months. With 1,200 responses from executives, information security professionals, and backup administrators, the report provides a comprehensive overview of the evolving threat landscape.

The toll on the organization’s people

While cyberattacks affect an organization’s financial stability, just as significant is the toll it has on teams and individuals. When a cyberattack strikes, 45 percent of respondents reported heightened pressure on IT and security teams. Additionally, 26 percent experienced a loss of productivity, while 25 percent encountered disruptions to internal or customer-related services.

The report shows that the human impact of cyberattacks cannot be overstated. Forty-five percent of surveyed individuals cited increased workload post-attack, while 40 percent reported heightened stress levels and other personal challenges that are difficult to mitigate on ‘normal’ days. These challenges, coupled with existing organizational struggles, further underscore the importance of effective cyber defense strategies.

Organizations are misaligned for preparedness

Despite increased focus on cyber-preparedness, organizations still face a misalignment between their backup and cyber teams. For the third consecutive year, close to two-thirds (63 percent) of organizations find their backup and cyber teams lacking synchronization. Adding to the misalignment challenges in organizations, 61 percent of security professionals and 75 percent of backup admins believe that the teams need either ‘significant improvement’ or that a complete system overhaul is required.

Paying the ransom does not ensure recoverability

For the third year in a row, the majority (81 percent) of organizations surveyed paid the ransom to end an attack and recover data. One in three of these organizations that paid the ransom still could not recover even after paying. And also for the third year in a row, more organizations ‘paid, but could not recover’ than those organizations that ‘recovered without paying.’

Unveiling the true financial impact

Contrary to the belief that having cyber insurance increases the likelihood of ransom payments, Veeam’s research indicates otherwise. Despite only a minority of organizations possessing a policy to pay, 81 percent opted to do so. Interestingly, 65 percent paid with insurance and another 21 percent had insurance but chose to pay without making a claim. This implies that in 2023, 86 percent of organizations had insurance coverage that could have been utilized for a cyber event.

The ransoms paid averages to be only 32 percent of the overall financial impact to an organization post-attack. Moreover, cyber insurance will not cover the entirety of the total costs associated with an attack. Only 62 percent of the overall impact is in some way reclaimable through insurance or other means, with everything else going against the organization’s bottom-dollar budget.

Relying on a “good backup”

The most common component of a cyber preparedness playbook is a “good backup.” While cyber and backup teams may not always be organizationally aligned, when asked about the existence of an incident response team (IRT) and whether that team had a playbook, a mere 2 percent of organizations lacked a pre-identified team. Additionally, only 3 percent had teams but without a playbook in place.

Other key findings from the Veeam 2024 Ransomware Trends Report include:

  • Cloud and on-premises data are just as easily attackable: Surprisingly, there was no significant variation between how much data was affected within the data center vs. data within remote offices/branch offices or even on data hosted in a public or private cloud. Meaning that all IT infrastructure is just as seamlessly available to the attacker as it is easily accessible to the users.
  • Most organizations risk reintroducing infections: Alarmingly, almost two-thirds (63 percent) of organizations are at risk of reintroducing infections while recovering from ransomware attacks or significant IT disasters. Pressured to restore IT operations quickly and influenced by executives, many organizations skip vital steps, such as rescanning data in quarantine, causing the likelihood of IT teams to inadvertently restore infected data or malware.
  • Organizations must ensure recoverable data: As a ‘lesson learned’, respondents of prior cyberattacks now recognize the importance of immutability with 75 percent of organizations now utilizing on-premises disks that can be hardened and 85 percent are utilizing cloud-storage with immutability capabilities. In fact, half of their overall backup storage is immutable, highlighting good improvements but with more work to be done.

This press release originally appeared online.

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Laura Ascione

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