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Kubernetes an ‘Achilles heel’ in defence against ransomware attacks, study finds

Results of a new Veritas Technologies study reveals that the majority of enterprises are underprepared to face threats against their Kubernetes environments.

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Wed, 16 Mar 2022
Kubernetes an ‘Achilles heel’ in defence against ransomware attacks, study finds
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Kubernetes is being rapidly deployed into mission-critical environments in enterprises around the world, the research showed, with 85 per cent of organisations expecting to deploy the technology in the next two to three years, and almost a third already relying on it today. However, just 30 per cent of organisations who have deployed Kubernetes so far have tools in place to protect against data-loss incidents such as ransomware.

The research, which gathered the opinions of 1,100 senior IT decision makers from Australia and around the world, found that 56 per cent of organisations who had deployed Kubernetes had already experienced a ransomware attack on their containerised environments, while a staggering 94 per cent of respondents said that ransomware attacks on Kubernetes environments are an issue for their organisations today.

According to Pete Murray, managing director, ANZ at Veritas, to enhance data portability and movement in the hybrid workplace, it’s no surprise that many are embracing containerisation.


“Kubernetes is easy for enterprises to deploy, and quickly improves affordability, flexibility and scalability.

“However, because deployment is so simple, organisations can easily surge ahead faster with their Kubernetes implementation than their Kubernetes protection.

“Suddenly, they’re faced with more than two-thirds of their mission-critical Kubernetes environments completely unprotected from data loss, and Kubernetes has become the Achilles heel in the organisation’s ransomware defence strategy,” Murray said.

Siloed solutions

Organisations are missing the opportunity to deliver rapid protection to these at-risk data sets” by failing to extend their existing data protection from their traditional workloads out across their containerised environments. About 46 per cent of organisations are currently following this model while the rest are complicating their protection environments with stand-alone products for some, or all, of their Kubernetes protection. They are doing this despite the fact that 100 per cent of respondents believe that there would be benefits to taking an integrated approach. This could be because nearly half (41 per cent) of respondents said that they know little or nothing about solutions that could protect data across traditional, virtual and Kubernetes environments.

The biggest risks associated with siloed data protection solutions were identified by the research as a more complex or lengthy data restore process after a data-loss incident and higher cost of deploying multiple solutions.

Meanwhile, the most compelling reasons among respondents for adopting a single solution to protect data against data loss and ransomware attacks were cost savings over deploying multiple solutions and a simplified restore process.

More protection in the future

The research also shows that organisations expect to be able to achieve better protection of their Kubernetes environments over time, with 19 per cent of organisations believing that ransomware will not be an issue here five years on. This aligns with increased spending on protection for containerised data.

Organisations expect to be spending an average of 68 per cent more in this area in five years time than they do today, which will leave none of them without data protection in place for their mission-critical Kubernetes environments. About 54 per cent of organisations expect that future investment in their protection infrastructures will leave them very well prepared for ransomware attacks on Kubernetes environments in the next five years.

Murray further explained that its clear that Australian organisations understand the value of protecting the mission-critical data that they’re using in their Kubernetes environments.

While it seems they’ll eventually get the protection that they need, it is imperative for them to strengthen their cyber resiliency before more and more ransomware variants emerge over that time to target Kubernetes and take advantage of this Achilles heel.

Too many organisations are missing the simple solutions to extend their current data protection platforms to their Kubernetes environments today, leaving them in an unenviably vulnerable position, Murray concluded.

[Related: Researchers reveal Qakbot botnet becoming more dangerous]

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