When a business is hit with a ransomware attack, the recovery process can be challenging, especially when it’s a large enterprise or public institution. Businesses have reported widely varying timelines for recovery, sometimes as long as months, primarily depending on their approach to mending the issue.

This guide will break down how and why it can take so long for a company to recover from a ransomware attack. 

Factors That Impact Ransomware Attack Recovery Times

From the point of realizing their business has been targeted to getting their business back to normal operations, a company can expect a few weeks of downtime. In the best-case scenario, a business may only be down for a day, and in extreme cases, it can take months for a business to recover from a ransomware attack.

The discrepancy is troubling and leaves many to ask why some companies bounce back quickly while others struggle. Below are a few reasons some companies might have more difficulty with recovery. 

What the Ransomware Was

There are two primary types of ransomware, crypto and locker. Each of these methods targets a company differently and can vary in solution timelines.

If ransomware was only able to target part of a company’s information, that would reduce recovery time. If it is encryption that requires decryption and managed to encrypt all files in a database, that may take much longer than a simple unlocking. 

The Scope of a Business

If a business is incredibly complex and involves thousands of customers and thousands of files that were targeted during a ransomware attack, it will take longer to recover. If the files were encrypted and a company was able to decrypt them, it could still take a long time due to the sheer volume that needs to be waded through.

Additionally, if the IT infrastructure is massive and overly complex, the time for recovery will be too. On the other hand, a more efficient model means less recovery time. 

The Time It Takes to Find a Solution 

There are a couple of pathways to healing a company after a cyberattack. Whether the company decides to pay the extortionist, which is not recommended, or a company contacts agencies to help, the timeline will vary widely. If a full investigation is launched before any solution is sought out, this can add days to weeks of time. 

How Experienced Is the Team?

In the case of third-party recovery, the experience of the team can greatly impact the rate of recovery. A one-person team with little experience may take three weeks to recover the files, while a team of four highly capable individuals can recover them in three days. This is in addition to the time required for finding and securing a recovery method in the first place. 

Strengthening IT

Long after the files have been recovered, a company also needs to ensure that its system and network are back to 100% for further operations. With a weakened security system, a company is open to further attacks. To consider a business fully recovered, they’ll need to have fully patched their security system, which can take weeks to build, especially without a security team already in place. 

Playing Politics

Perhaps slowest to recover, even if all of the blatant problems are resolved, is a company’s reputation and trust. This could be a recovery effort that goes on forever if consumers were made aware of the attack. In addition to trying to recover and strengthen a network, the company will also need to work at solving the issue from a public-facing position too. 

How to Expedite Recovery from a Ransomware Attack

The best thing a business can do to ensure its operations come back to life as quickly as possible is to place the right people in charge of recovery.

A cyberattack, as scary as it is, is a chance to rebuild the site, database, or similar to be stronger than before, which is important if it was vulnerable enough to be attacked. Staffing educated, experienced team members alongside a modern cybersecurity tech stack can really expedite the process from the beginning.