Ransomware Attacks Are on the Rise: How AI, Data & Automation Can Help Keep Your Business Safe
March 01, 2023
By Jason Juliano
The frequency and complexity of cyberattacks are on the rise, and businesses must take measures to safeguard their data from ransomware attacks. To combat this rising threat, the use of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (“AI”), data analytics and automation tools has become imperative. IBM’s recent report titled “IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence 2023,”  provides detailed insights into how these cutting-edge technologies can effectively be utilized to detect, prevent and respond to ransomware attacks. By leveraging the power of AI, organizations can analyze network traffic patterns, identify anomalies and detect potential ransomware attacks before they can cause significant damage. Data analytics, on the other hand, can assist in prioritizing backups, testing backup and recovery systems and identifying critical data. Furthermore, automation tools can facilitate a streamlined backup and recovery process, aiding in swift recovery of data in the event of a ransomware attack. Thus, mid-market businesses can significantly reduce their exposure to ransomware attacks by leveraging these advanced technologies.
Ransomware Attacks Are Becoming More Frequent and Sophisticated
The IBM report offers compelling statistics and real-world use cases to illustrate the effectiveness of AI, data analytics and automation tools in preventing ransomware attacks. According to the report, machine learning algorithms have an 85% accuracy rate in detecting ransomware attacks by analyzing network traffic patterns, which can significantly reduce the risk of data loss and downtime. Additionally, automated incident response systems can isolate and contain ransomware infections within minutes, saving businesses an average of $1.23 million per attack. The report also emphasizes the importance of regular backup and recovery testing, as 54% of businesses surveyed said that their backups were not fully recoverable after a ransomware attack. These numbers demonstrate the tangible benefits of implementing advanced technologies in ransomware prevention strategies.
The report's examples of automated incident response systems showcase the value of utilizing these tools in preventing ransomware attacks. These systems can quickly detect and isolate ransomware infections, significantly reducing the time and resources required to remediate the attack. Additionally, these systems can help identify the root cause of the attack, allowing businesses to take the necessary steps to prevent future incidents. This is particularly crucial for mid-market businesses that may not have the resources to manage sophisticated cybersecurity systems and lack the luxury of downtime. By leveraging automated incident response systems, businesses can prevent ransomware attacks from spreading and protect their data from malicious operators.
Why Mid-Market Businesses Need to Take Ransomware Prevention Seriously
Business leaders need to care about leveraging these advanced preventive technologies, as ransomware attacks can cripple their businesses, resulting in downtime, loss of critical data and reputational damage. The cost of a single ransomware attack can be significant, and the financial impact can be devastating. For example, a mid-size healthcare company in 2022 suffered a ransomware attack that shut down their systems for several weeks, leading to a loss of patient data and financial loss that totaled over $150 million, according to HIPAA Journal  . Implementing these technologies in a business's cybersecurity strategy can reduce the risk of data loss, minimize downtime and ultimately save businesses money.
How AI, Data and Automation Tools Can Help Protect Against Ransomware Attacks
One way to do this is by utilizing advanced analytics and automation technologies to identify and respond to ransomware attacks quickly. Through data analytic tools, firms can identify potential weaknesses in their cybersecurity programs. And further, through automated incident response systems, organizations can quickly isolate and contain ransomware infections, minimizing the damage done and helping to prevent future incidents.
The use of emerging technologies can enhance a business's reputation as a secure and trustworthy organization, giving customers confidence in their ability to protect their data. Therefore, mid-market business leaders must prioritize implementing advanced cybersecurity technologies, such as automated incident response systems, to ensure their businesses are safe from the threat of ransomware attacks.
The importance of regularly testing backup and recovery systems cannot be overstated. Organizations need to be certain that their backup systems can effectively restore data in the event of a ransomware attack. Data analytics tools can help identify critical data and prioritize backups, while automation tools can streamline the backup and recovery process.
Businesses need to regularly test backup and recovery systems as it is critical to make certain their organization can quickly recover from a ransomware attack. A comprehensive backup strategy can significantly reduce the time and resources required to restore data after an attack, minimizing downtime and reputational damage. Regular testing can also identify weaknesses in the backup and recovery system, allowing businesses to address these issues proactively. By utilizing data analytics and automation tools, businesses can streamline the backup and recovery process, saving time and reducing the risk of human error.
Key Takeaway for Leaders to Protect their Businesses
In conclusion, mid-market business leaders should take the following key steps to protect their companies from ransomware attacks:
- Implement AI, data analytics and automation tools as part of their comprehensive ransomware prevention strategy;
- Regularly test backup and recovery systems to ensure swift restoration of data in the event of a ransomware attack;
- Utilize automated incident response systems to quickly isolate and contain ransomware infections;
- Analyze network traffic patterns to detect anomalies and identify potential ransomware attacks before they can cause significant damage; and
- Identify critical data and prioritize backups to minimize downtime and reputational damage.
Business leaders can also leverage the expertise of digital teams to help implement emerging technologies such as data analytics, AI and automation tools. For example, a global financial services firm was able to improve its cybersecurity program with the help of data analytics tools such as Alteryx, PowerBI and Tableau, which were utilized to identify access management risks across multiple business applications.
By taking these key steps, mid-market businesses can significantly reduce their risk of falling victim to ransomware attacks, protect their valuable data from cybercriminals and ultimately save money.
 IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2023 | IBM
 CommonSpirit Health Reports $150 Million Loss Due to Ransomware Attack (hipaajournal.com)