Ransomware is a type of software, called malware, that cybercriminals use to extort money from the organizations they target. Essentially, the malware locks up all or parts of a computer system and network, preventing use by the owners. The perpetrators then demand money to release the locked files or inaccessible system.
Already a huge internet security problem, ransomware attacks are growing worse, with an increase of up to 130 percent during 2020. Losing access to your data, servers, and network can be devastating. It’s a tremendous blow to productivity, your bottom line, and your reputation.
Customers may find it difficult to trust you with their data after a ransomware attack. Some ransomware even threatens to sell a company’s data. So, ransomware protection practices and procedures are essential for businesses of all sizes. Here are a few tips.
Train staff to avoid potential risk
Phishing emails are a common method of ransomware access. Teach your employees how to recognize them and educate them about the risks of opening emails from unfamiliar sources, downloading suspicious files, and visiting unverified sites online.
Password security is also critical. Ensure your staff is applying security protocols and require frequent updates. You can also add another layer of protection to limit exposure with account privilege settings.
Perform timely software updates
Virus protection software is constantly updating to include protection against newly discovered threats. Operating system and software developers also create security patches regularly to improve safeguards against malware, viruses, and other threats online.
Perform regular updates to take advantage of these emerging improvements.
Put a data recovery plan in place
Perform regular system backups. Maintain the backups offline and offsite for protected access in case of a ransomware attack. Consider moving your data to the cloud for additional security measures.
Run vulnerability tests
The Homeland Security Department recommends running annual penetration tests of your network’s security. This helps identify areas of vulnerability that you can then secure or minimize.
Hire a Managed IT Service Provider
A managed IT service provider can help your organization take the recommended preventative measures and apply additional fail-safes to reduce the risk of exposure to ransomware.
Hiring a managed IT service provider’s knowledge and oversight is a cost-effective way of protecting your organization and reducing the man-hours you would otherwise require to tackle cybersecurity issues.
Ransomware targets a new company about every 11 seconds. The average ransom for a small business is about $6,000. As a medium or enterprise business, expect to pay more. Add to that the cost of lost productivity and the impact on your customer base, and it’s easy to see why cybersecurity managed services are a sound business investment for ransomware protection.