Recovering from Ransomware Attacks: Essential Steps for Data Restoration

Ransomware attacks have become a full-blown crisis, crippling businesses, and shattering reputations. Recent research suggests that ransomware attacks cost the global economy US$ 20 billion in 2021. And that figure is expected to balloon to US$ 265 billion by 2031. 

But moving away from the number, what happens after the ransomware attack. How do businesses pick up the pieces and restore their data? This article dives deep into the essential steps for data restoration in the wake of a ransomware attack. Additionally, we also provide preventive and proactive steps to counter a ransomware attack altogether.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts files on your computer and makes it inaccessible. The attacker will then demand a ransom to restore access to your files. Given the complexity of ransomware recovery, it’s crucial to understand its various types:

  • Crypto Ransomware: Encrypts valuable files on the victim’s system and demands a ransom for the decryption key.
  • Locker Ransomware: Locks the user out of their operating system and makes it impossible to access any files or applications until the user pays the demanded ransom. 
  • Scareware: Tricks the user into believing their computer has a severe issue (like a virus) and demands payment for a solution that isn’t needed.

How It Infects Systems

Ransomware typically infiltrates systems through phishing emails, malicious advertisements, or compromised websites. Once inside your systems, it will encrypt files and the attackers will demand payment for decryption keys.

If you think this wouldn’t happen on a regular basis, you have to rethink it. For instance, in 2022 — ransomware was involved in 25% of all data breaches, as reported by TechTarget

The Business Impact of Ransomware Attacks

Financial Losses

The financial toll from a ransomware attack can be devastating.  Companies often have to pay hefty ransoms to regain access to their data.

Reputational Damage

Beyond monetary loss, ransomware attacks can severely damage your company’s reputation. This will not only lead to loss of revenue, but also a loss of customers. In fact, that the average cost of a ransomware recovery is nearly US$ 2 million.

Essential Steps for Data Restoration

While we will discuss mitigation and preventive steps in later sections, it’s important to note that despite the best mitigation efforts, 50% of organizations fell victim to ransomware last year. Therefore, knowing what to do after a ransomware attack is crucial:

Step 1: Immediate Isolation

The first step in mitigating the impact of a ransomware attack is to disconnect the infected systems from the network immediately. This action will help prevent the ransomware from spreading to other systems.

Step 2: Assessment and Identification

Once the system is isolated, the next step is to identify the type of ransomware that has infected your system. Knowing the ransomware type can guide the recovery process.

Step 3: Contact Authorities

It’s crucial to involve law enforcement agencies as soon as possible. They may already have decryption keys or other information that can assist in data recovery.

Step 4: Data Recovery Methods

Various methods can be employed for data recovery. For instance: 

  • Data Backups: If you have a recent backup, restoring your files can be straightforward.
  • Decryption Tools: Some cybersecurity firms offer decryption tools for certain types of ransomware.

Step 5: Post-Recovery Actions

After data recovery, it’s essential to conduct a thorough security audit to understand how the breach occurred and to implement preventive measures to avoid future attacks.

It is important to note that only 35% of those affected by ransomware recovered all their data after the incident. This statistic underscores the harsh reality that not all victims can fully recover their lost data following a ransomware attack. In most cases, users can only restore a portion of their data. 

Therefore, choosing the best recovery services becomes crucial for minimizing data loss. We will delve deeper into how to select the most effective recovery services in the following section.

Evaluating Ransomware Recovery Services: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to ransomware recovery, the stakes are really high. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate the service providers carefully. And you have to consider several factors, like:

  • Expertise: Does the service provider have a proven track record in ransomware recovery?
  • Success Rate: What is their success rate in data recovery post-ransomware attacks?
  • Customer Reviews: What do other clients have to say about their experience with the service?

According to a guide by Enterprise Networking Planet, customer support, backup and recovery capabilities, and cost are among the key factors to consider.

Types of Recovery Services

There are various types of services available for ransomware recovery:

  • Data Recovery Firms: Specialize in recovering lost data from various types of hardware.
  • Cybersecurity Companies: Offer comprehensive ransomware solutions, including data recovery.
  • Cloud-based Recovery Options: Provide remote data recovery services, often quicker but may be less secure.

Cost vs. Benefit Analysis

Given that only 35% of victims fully recover their data, it’s worth considering whether premium services offer a better ROI. The cost of recovery can be substantial, but the loss of critical data can be even more damaging to your business.

Case Studies

Real-world examples can offer invaluable insights. Companies that have recovered their data using specialized services can teach you valuable lessons on how to minimize downtime and mitigate financial loss.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Paying the ransom is generally discouraged by authorities as it doesn’t guarantee data recovery and further fuels the ransomware economy. Additionally, legal ramifications can also arise from such actions.


Based on the criteria discussed, you can choose your ransomware recovery services accordingly and follow the advice by the experts in such scenarios. 


Navigating the aftermath of a ransomware attack is a complex process that demands immediate and strategic action. The essential steps for data restoration include immediate isolation of infected systems — through identification and assessment of the ransomware type. Contacting authorities and employing various data recovery methods are other crucial steps to ensure maximum recovery of critical data. Additionally, as outlined, it is important to choose your ransomware service wisely. 

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.