Ransomware prevention

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What is ransomware prevention?

Ransomware prevention strategies and solutions combine Zero Trust security principles with advanced threat intelligence and detection to protect data from cyberattacks. The rapid increase in ransomware—experts predict an attack on an enterprise every two seconds by 2031—makes it necessary for organizations to proactively plan and architect their environments for maximum cyber resilience. Ransomware prevention encompasses both the actions of protecting data and detecting cyber threats to avoid the need to rapidly recover data in the event of a successful attack.

How to prevent ransomware attacks?

Preventing ransomware attacks that steal organizations’ data starts with four critical actions:

  1. Protecting backup data and systems — Cybercriminals have moved beyond exclusively attacking production systems and now target backup data. That puts the onus on organizations to invest in modern backup and recovery solutions with global visibility into data and robust security capabilities built on Zero Trust principles, for example, least privilege and segregation of duties. Backup solutions that proactively prevent ransomware attacks will include immutable snapshots, data encryption, write once, read many (WORM), configuration auditing and scanning, and fault tolerance capabilities as well as flexible data isolation features to balance demanding recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) with security requirements should the worst case scenario happen.
  2. Reducing the risk of unauthorized access — Desktop sharing software that makes it easier to steal credentials has become a popular ransomware attack vector. With stolen credentials, cybercriminals can infiltrate and laterally move across enterprise infrastructure, locking systems and data up as they go. Organizations can reduce the risk of data theft and loss by more effectively stopping unauthorized access with modern data management ransomware prevention capabilities such as multifactor authentication, monitored modification, granular and role-based access control (RBAC) which grants permission to data based on the job or role an employee does in the organization.
  3. Seeing and detecting attacks to stop encroachment — The sheer number of ransomware attacks now makes it impossible to hunt and stop them one by one. Robust ransomware prevention strategies employ data security and data management solutions powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning (AL/ML) to assist. These emerging technologies provide anomaly detection with threat intelligence and scanning to quickly determine whether an intrusion has or is occurring, and then automatically alert teams to take action. Additionally cyber vulnerability detection capabilities in modern data management platforms help keep ransomware attacks at bay.
  4. Strengthening your security posture with integrations and application programming interfaces (APIs) — Because few systems are islands in today’s enterprises, organizations looking to prevent ransomware attacks should strive for compatibility between solutions. An API-rich data management architecture, for example, can accommodate solutions today and tomorrow. Moreover, security vendors with strong relationships support tight technology integrations—pre-built and customizable—that go deeper to stop cybercriminals. An extensible platform helps reduce data footprints, and therefore, the breath of the attack surface in an environment.

Why is ransomware prevention important?

Preventing ransomware is important, critically really, to continuous business operations. Today’s bad actors—from individuals to aligned groups to nation-states—are not only out to encrypt data to make organizations pay ransom but to inflict even greater financial and reputational damage by illegally removing (exfiltrating) that data in a double-extortion ransomware scheme and making it publicly available elsewhere, including on the dark web.

Robust ransomware prevention empowers organizations to:

  • Boost business continuity and business resilience
  • Mitigate risk
  • Stay compliant with company and industry requirements

Ransomware prevention checklist

How to protect against ransomware strategies begin with a ransomware prevention checklist that includes people, processes, and technologies:


  • Educate and train employees about ransomware attacks (i.e., phishing, email attachments, social engineering, etc.).
  • Establish a ransomware tiger team of IT, business, and communications representatives to evangelize the importance of prevention.


  • Regularly patch vulnerable applications and systems.
  • Prepare a ransomware prevention and recovery plan, including RTOs and RPOs.
  • Invest in and maintain robust anti-ransomware solutions.

Technology solutions:

Protect backup data and systems with:

  • Immutable snapshots that are unable to be encrypted, modified, or deleted.
  • Write once, read many (WORM) technology, which applies a role- and policy-based, time-bound lock on the most sensitive data to prevent accidental or malicious changes or premature deletions.
  • Data encryption to prevent others from seeing data in clear text as data travels and rests.
  • Configuration audit and scanning using automation that detects human errors.
  • Fault tolerant system that ensures data integrity.
  • Modern and flexible data isolation to fully segregate sensitive information and bring it back into production quickly, if needed.

Reduce the risk of unauthorized access with:

  • Multifactor authentication (MFA) with something you know and something you have to verify identity.
  • Easy implementation of the four-eyes principle so sensitive activities require approval by at least two users.
  • Granular role-based access control (RBAC), ensuring minimal levels of access that won’t compromise your whole business if a credential is compromised.

​​See and detect attacks to stop encroachment with:

  • AI/ML-powered capabilities that monitor can identify malware via indicators of compromise.
  • Anomaly detection that detects unusual changes of data that may indicate an emerging ransomware attack.
  • Automated alerts that quickly inform teams of suspicious activity
  • Cyber vulnerability discovery to determine exposures that need to be remediated.

Strengthen security postures with platform extensibility with

  • Pre-built integrations with leading security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) as well as security information event management (SIEM) solutions for efficiency.
  • Custom integrations that let you address unique business requirements.
  • Value-added applications interoperability that allows you to use data in place—from virus scanning and data masking to analyzing file audit logs and classifying data.

Cohesity and ransomware prevention

Ransomware prevention, ransomware recovery, and increasing cyber resilience are at the core of what Cohesity data security and data management solutions do for organizations worldwide.

The Cohesity Data Cloud is a unified platform for organizations to secure and manage their data. Cohesity DataProtect is a robust backup for defense against ransomware while Cohesity DataHawk protects organizations against ransomware with threat intelligence and scanning, cyber vaulting, and ML-powered data classification—all in one simple solution.

Together, these Cohesity solutions deliver all of the critical ransomware protection and detection capabilities needed for organizations to keep an eye on ransomware and other cyber threats designed to disrupt operations and steal data for financial gain:

  • Backup data and systems protection for a wide range of data sources (on premises, SaaS, cloud-native)
  • Unauthorized access prevention
  • Platform extensions that strengthen incident response by integrating security operations and incident response
  • Rapid recovery at scale to any place and time, when needed

Access the Ransomware Readiness Guide for more information.

Ransomware Prevention Checklist

Review this helpful checklist to see where organizations most successful in countering ransomware attacks place their focus.

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