On September 21, Barracuda CTO Fleming Shi hosted a panel-discussion webinar along with two of our valued customers: IT Manager Niels Smets of Belgian education firm Syntra, and Keiron Prince, Cloud and Infrastructure Lead for the English charitable housing association L&Q.
The goal was to find out what these two security-minded IT leaders were thinking, and doing, about the surging threat of ransomware. And we learned a lot!
While Smets and Prince differ in terms of their specific areas of greatest focus, both agree that ransomware remains a significant and growing threat. And they both stress the importance of a comprehensive approach to security that combines integrated technical solutions with a sustained effort to build a strong culture of security awareness within their organizations.
What’s fueling the ongoing ransomware surge?
When asked why ransomware continues to be so prevalent, Prince points out that it is quite simply, extremely profitable — and he identifies two ongoing developments that ensure it continues to be profitable:
- The immense and growing value of data in today’s economy
- The availability of anonymous global transactions via cryptocurrency
View Prince’s full answer to the question below.
How they’re addressing the threat
When asked what measures they were using to defend against ransomware, and about the challenges involved, our panelists offer slightly different perspectives.
Smets begins by emphasizing the importance of finding the right balance between IT’s interest in security and the larger organization’s interest in ease of use and a user experience that promotes productivity. And he offers his team’s use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) and strong password policies as a positive outcome of actively seeking that balance.
Smets goes on to stress the importance of a strong backup solution, especially one that protects Office 365 data — since Microsoft’s data-retention features are not meant to provide the backup capabilities you need to recover from a ransomware attack. Watch his full reply below.
When Prince addresses the same question, he offers a different way of thinking about the balance between security and ease of use. For him, the key is to build a corporate culture that recognizes the critical importance of security. Once everyone is bought into that, then required measures are no longer seen as a hassle or obstacle, any more than we think of ATM cards and PINs that way. Ultimately, he says, there isn’t really a balance to be struck, but rather problems to be solved, and the key is to communicate that effectively throughout the organization.
See Prince’s full reply below.
View the whole panel discussion
And that’s just a sample of the enlightening, hour-long conversation among the panelists. Watch the entire recorded event here, and get all the ransomware-protection insights shared by Smets and Prince, including:
- The importance of gaining complete visibility across your infrastructure and identifying potential threat vectors
- Why it’s important to drill/test your incident-recovery plans
- Why email is the most common ransomware attack vector
- Why both Smets and Prince consider Barracuda a key security partner
The fight against ransomware is a marathon, not a sprint. Dig into this eye-opening panel discussion to gain important peer insights about how to execute a strategy that provides long-term, adaptable security against ransomware.
Tony Burgess is a twenty-year veteran of the IT security industry and is Barracuda’s Senior Copywriter for Content and Customer Marketing. In this role, he researches complex technical subjects and translates findings into clear, useful, human-readable prose.
You can connect with Tony on LinkedIn here.