Marilyn Wilkinson, February 2024

How To Protect Your NetApp System From Ransomware

Ransomware is a severe cybersecurity threat, with experts warning to expect an attack every two seconds by 2031. As one of the most commonly used data solutions, NetApp is a common target of ransomware attacks. Protecting your company’s storage system is crucial: A single ransomware attack can lead to significant data loss and disrupt business operations. In this article, we explore practical and effective measures to defend your NetApp system against ransomware threats.

What Is NetApp?

NetApp, founded in 1997, is a key player in the IT industry that specializes in data storage. NetApp enables enterprises and service providers to store and share data across physical and cloud environments.

NetApp’s solutions include:

  • Cloud storage and data management software
  • Storage-as-a-service
  • All-flash storage

NetApp storage systems integrate with major public cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft. NetApp natively supports VMware vSphere for virtualized workloads.

Why Protect Your Netapp Storage System From Ransomware?

Data is a company’s most valuable asset, and most businesses store data on their central storage system. That essentially means that storage is your last line of defense against ransomware. 

If ransomware hackers successfully breach your storage system by bypassing other protective measures (such as a firewall or endpoint protection), there is nothing to stop them from encrypting critical data, rendering it inaccessible and potentially halting business operations. 

These attacks can lead to substantial financial losses, not only due to the ransom demands but also because of the downtime, data recovery costs, and reputational damage. 

Furthermore, ransomware doesn’t just result in data loss. Hackers increasingly steal and leak sensitive information in so-called doxware attacks, leading to compliance issues and legal ramifications, especially in industries bound by data protection regulations. 

Therefore, safeguarding your NetApp storage system from ransomware is not just about protecting data; it’s about ensuring the continuity, integrity, and reputation of your business.

NetApp Ransomware Protection: Best Practices for Protecting Your NetApp System

There are many things you can do to improve the security of your central storage system. Here are our top recommendations. 

NetApp Autonomous Ransomware Protection

NetApp’s native ransomware protection, powered by Machine Learning, is known as Autonomous Ransomware Protection (ARP). The system detects potential ransomware attacks and triggers an alert.

To activate NetApp ARP, you need to be running ONTAP 9.10.1 or higher. NetApp recommends running NetApp ARP in Learning Mode initially, so the system can learn what your normal behavior is like. This helps to avoid false alarms. 

NetApp Cloud Insights Storage Workload Security

Cloud Insights Storage Workload Security, previously known as Cloud Secure, is a native NetApp solution for detecting ransomware and auditing user data access. It analyzes data access patterns in real-time to identify anomalies which could be ransomware, insider threats, or external attacks. The system, which is part of NetApp Cloud Insights, uses artificial intelligence and machine learning and is available as a SaaS solution.

More Native NetApp Options

There are a few more options NetApp provides to help you protect your NetApp system:

  • NetApp Active IQ monitors ONTAP systems to ensure they adhere to NetApp configuration best practices, such as enabling FPolicy
  • FPolicy, short for file policy, enables you to exclude known ransomware extensions
  • NetApp Active IQ Unified Manager triggers alerts in response to significant increases in NetApp Snapshot copies or storage efficiency loss, which serve as warning signs of ransomware attacks

ProLion CryptoSpike

ProLion takes ransomware protection for NetApp systems one step further by detecting and blocking attacks in real time. 

ProLion CryptoSpike uses anomaly detection and a blocklist of typical ransomware extensions to identify potential attacks. Once it has determined behavior to be “suspicious”—such as encrypting data, or changing, copying or moving files too often — it automatically blocks the malicious user. This stops the attack in its tracks and prevents further damage, and administrators are immediately informed of the incident. 

To support restore efforts, ProLion CryptoSpike provides full transparency into which files have been accessed by which users. You can restore affected files immediately using ProLion’s granular restore function. 

Protect Your NetApp System With ProLion

In the face of increasing ransomware attacks, protecting your business critical data is more important than ever. 

ProLion specializes in protecting NetApp systems from the growing threat of ransomware. Reach out to our team or watch the on-demand demo to learn how ProLion can help keep your business data safe and secure.