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‘No honour among thieves’: Don’t pay the bad guys, say Rubrik and Microsoft


Johannesburg, 12 Oct 2021
Read time 3min 00sec
Mohamed Hasan Pixabay.
Mohamed Hasan Pixabay.

There is good news for companies that wish to keep their data safe and are opposed to paying hackers ransom money in order to have critical data returned in the event of a hack. This input comes in the recent announcement that global giant Microsoft, the American multinational technology corporation, is investing in cloud data management company Rubrik.

“The two companies will combine on products that will help customers hit by ransomware to recover their critical data without paying the ransom,” says Risna Steenkamp, General Manager: ESM Division at Networks Unlimited, which distributes Rubrik throughout Africa. “Data is one of a company’s most valuable resources, and it is critical that a business should not feel forced to succumb to a ransomware demand just to be able to get their data returned to them after the crime of extortion has been committed.

“At the same time, there are numerous instances showcasing the fact that a company can pay a ransom in the event of a hack – and still not have their data returned to them. This is very much along the lines of the old saying: ‘There is no honour among thieves.’ In such an instance, the company has lost both the price of the ransom as well as the data itself.”

South Africa's Department of Justice faced a massive ransomware attack last month, when ransomware encrypted all the information systems provided by the department. This made all electronic services, including e-mail and website, unavailable to internal employees and to the public.(1)

Risna Steenkamp, General Manager: ESM Division at Networks Unlimited.
Risna Steenkamp, General Manager: ESM Division at Networks Unlimited.

“It apparently took a long time to get the systems back online,” comments Steenkamp, “and this seems to point to the fact that the Department of Justice chose not to pay the ransomware, which we believe is an outlook that shows merit. Unfortunately, however, the attack meant that, among other consequences, the payment of monthly child maintenance amounts to the correct beneficiaries was put on hold until the systems were back online.

“This is a clear example of a ransomware attack putting the most vulnerable of victims at risk. The new partnership between Microsoft and Rubrik is designed to prevent criminal instances like this.”

The strategic partnership between the two companies means they will jointly sell software based on Microsoft’s Azure cloud to help companies prevent, find and recover from ransomware attacks. The products also make sure backup copies of customer data and cloud software haven’t been compromised by the hackers.

Benefits of the partnership include the following:

  • Rubrik and Microsoft will provide hybrid cloud data protection and integrated cloud services on Microsoft Azure, which means that Rubrik’s Zero Trust Data Management policy comes through for mission-critical applications and enterprise workloads in the data centre, at the edge and in the cloud.
  • Microsoft 365 protection is even stronger. The feature-rich protection suite provided by Rubrik and Microsoft means that Microsoft 365 data protection is even more robust on applications such as Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams.
  • Transactions are easier with Azure consumption commitments (MACC).

“Rubrik’s expertise delivers a single, policy-driven platform for data recovery, governance, compliance and cloud. With the offering now backed by global giant Microsoft, this makes the offering even more compelling,” notes Steenkamp.

(1) https://gadgets.ndtv.com/internet/news/ransomware-attack-south-africa-department-of-justice-system-restore-child-payment-service-2544079

Editorial contacts
Vivienne Fouche (+27) 082 602 1635 vivienne@pr.co.za
Janco Taljaard (+27) 011 202 8400 janco.taljaard@nu.co.za
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