SCC & Veeam: Why a Cloud Modern Data Management Assessment is vital

It’s never been more important for public-sector organisations to keep sensitive data safe, and education is no exception to this. The amount of data that is collected, stored and used is growing all the time, and end-users – from students and teachers to parents and governors – expect easy, stress-free access to the data they need. However, this accessibility has to be carefully balanced with robust security, at a time when cybercrime is growing in frequency and sophistication.

Ransomware attackers in particular understand the value of the data held by education providers, and the disruption that can be caused by obtaining it. For example, the average university suffers six days of outages every year, with knock-on impacts that affect learning outcomes, research and administration. And if attackers then sell the data they’ve obtained on the dark web, or use it for extortion, the human effect can be severe and long-lasting.

So how can you strike that balance between data security and accessibility?

Understanding the ransomware threat

To protect against ransomware, it’s important to understand how it works. Generally speaking, attackers will infiltrate your network and install malicious software within it that encrypts your data so that you are unable to access it. The attackers will then send you a notification – usually on-screen – that you must pay a ransom for the data to be unencrypted. And even then, paying the ransom is no guarantee that access will be restored: as many of 20% of affected organisations who have paid up still couldn’t recover their data afterwards.

Education institutions that have been affected by ransomware attacks have suffered the irretrievable loss of student coursework, financial records and sensitive personal information. Those who lacked updated offline data backups found the disruption especially challenging, emphasising the importance of a regular backup strategy.

Preparation makes perfect

The threat of ransomware is often overlooked or underestimated, but the risk to any organisation is very real and very present. Veeam data has uncovered that 85% of organisations have been targeted by a ransomware attack at least once within the last 12 months.

While businesses and public-sector bodies have generally got better in dealing with ransomware, through improved protection or more coordinated responses, there’s still plenty of work to do. A regular backup strategy is just one of the essential measures that can help keep data and systems safe – it should be accompanied by:

Comprehensive recovery plans: how to respond to a ransomware attack and minimise the scale of disruption should form a core part of wider business continuity planning

Strong cybersecurity measures: enhancing overall security protection strengthens the barriers that would-be attackers have to break through

Modern data protection: putting top-quality user access and authentication policies in place ensures that only the right people get access to certain data

The Cloud Modern Data Management Assessment

Every education body is different, and therefore will be at a different stage in their ransomware protection journey. To understand where you are, and what you need to do to minimise your risk of an attack being successful, we have developed a Cloud Modern Data Management Assessment.

This online tool takes just a few minutes, but can take your organisation’s specific circumstances to highlight any gaps in your data protection and security provision. Furthermore, it can pinpoint the services and solutions that you should adopt to close those gaps, and generate an executive report that can help you demonstrate the importance of those solutions to your key decision-makers.

How SCC and Veeam can help protect your data

Taking the assessment is the ideal first step towards taking your ransomware protection to the next level, with the support of SCC and Veeam. SCC leverages Veeam’s backup, recovery and data management technologies and can work closely with your IT team to deploy all the solutions and services you need to enhance your security measures. We have more than four decades of experience with organisations in all sectors, including education, and can design solutions in the context of your specific data profiles and demands.

Lancaster University is just one education body that has benefitted from the SCC and Veeam approach. After transitioning to Microsoft Office 365, the university found that the in-built backup system was lacking in speed and accessibility. To eliminate the risk of huge disruption if a ransomware attack succeeded, we helped them deploy Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365, backing up 4800 Office 365 accounts and 1PB of data. This has allowed them to backup flexibly according to different user group priorities, verify backups, deploy secure restore functions if needed, and promote confidence across the university that data is being properly secured.

Take the next steps to safer data

To work out where you can enhance your organisation’s protection against ransomware, take the Cloud Modern Data Management Assessment today. Or to find out more on SCC and Veeam solutions, and to discuss your specific requirements, get in touch with the SCC team.

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