The top two targets for ransomware attacks are police stations and hospitals, according to Meghan Steele, NetApp’s District Manager for State, Local and Education for the North Market. The reason they are the top targets is because the information they have in their networks, including personally identifiable information (PII), has an incalculable amount of value.

NetApp works with partners, such as Varonis to identify if there has been an impact or if there is a ransomware threat and then works with the customer to help them recover their data using NetApp snapshot technology.

“I have seen a number of news reports about police departments that have actually had to pay ransom for their data through bitcoins,” Steele shared. “We haven’t had to help any NetApp customers recover from a ransomware attack, because we are proactively working with them. We are working with hospitals, universities and police departments to help them put together a plan so they aren’t a front page story.”

Along with her work with customers on protecting against ransomware attacks, Steele and her team work with them to plan a path forward in today’s ever-evolving data center environment. Everything from helping customers move to the cloud to finding ways to protect PII and data that is protected by HIPAA regulation is a top priority for Steele and her team.

Meghan has been at NetApp for 12 years and says it is because the company’s focus on helping customers goes beyond working with them on technology.  In particular, Meghan values NetApp’s commitment to the communities in which its employees and customers live and work.

From the Tunnel to Towers run to NY Cares Day for Schools, Steele and her team are engaged in the community on a regular basis. Tunnel to Towers’ mission is to honor the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller who died on September 11, 2001, in the Twin Towers. Siller was off duty when he heard about the attack, went back to his department to pick up his gear and then had to run with 60 lbs. of gear on his back to get back to the Towers when he found that the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel was closed for security reasons.

“Tunnel to Towers was awe inspiring and probably the most patriotic thing I have ever been involved with,” she said. “I love giving back to the communities NetApp serves, because I am serving a mission greater than myself.”

For the NY Cares Day for Schools event, NetApp has organized a team to work in a library at an underserved school on October 22. They will paint and update the library to make it more welcoming and conducive to learning.

“New York City has pretty staggering drop out statistics across the city, and we are participating because we want students to see school as a place they want to be,” she explained.

Steele had such an inspiring experience at the Virginia Tech University that she places a great deal of importance on education and on working with higher education institutions to help them overcome data challenges they face.

In addition to her work with higher education and with nonprofits in New York City, Steele and her team will soon be hosting a webinar to teach interested public sector agencies and organizations about data security and data privacy, as well as how to protect against a ransomware attack.

Listen to our podcast with Steele below.

Want to learn more about how your organization can avoid becoming a victim of ransomware?  NetApp and Varonis You can register for a webinar to learn about best practices for data privacy and ransomware protection.  The webinar is on November 7, 2016 at 11am EST.  You can register here.