In this day and age, technology has reached new heights and continues to expand every day. Most modern businesses are reliant on technology for everyday practices such as communicating with customers, storing data, and tracking goods and services.
That said, however, attacks against this expanding technology are also increasing and becoming more advanced. Rising cyber attacks threaten to disrupt a company’s work and even ruin them altogether, which is why cyber security has become such a hot topic in the business world.
One of the primary culprits of today’s cyber attacks is ransomware, a type of malware that works to shut down a company’s access to private data and only restores that access once the company has paid a ransom specified by the hacker. Even if you do pay the ransom, it’s not guaranteed that your data will be restored or that it hasn’t been compromised beyond repair.
Because of this growing threat, it’s important to know more about what ransomware is and how your business can protect against it:
What Is Ransomware and Why Is It Dangerous?
As mentioned, ransomware is a malware that steals your company’s information and keeps it hostage until you pay a ransom. The perpetrator will demand a certain fee (usually in digital currency) in return for your regained access to the essential info.
Some of the largest and most well-recognized businesses are being targeted by ransomware. In 2016, Uber reportedly had to pay hackers around $100,000 dollars in order to conceal a data breach whereby criminals reaped fifty-seven million names, email addresses, and mobile phone numbers.
But big businesses aren’t the only ones suffering—in fact, it’s reported that 71% of ransomware attacks target small businesses, not the big corporations. This is likely due to the fact that many small and medium-sized businesses figure their data is less valuable than the big guys, so they don’t invest enough in cyber security defenses. This can be a costly mistake, as data breaches cost small businesses an average of $200,000—a fee that could put some companies out of business.
How Does Ransomware Infiltrate My Systems?
Your systems can be infected in several ways, but an especially sneaky attempt is through disguised phishing emails. The hackers will send emails that look legitimate when in reality, they include links that can infect your systems with ransomware. They spread and attack as soon as they’re opened.
How to Protect Your Business from Ransomware
The best way to avoid ransomware is to a) provide security awareness training to your staff so they can recognize phishing emails and avoid them, and b) work with an IT company who can implement advanced security defenses in your systems and continually monitor them to ensure new vulnerabilities are patched immediately.
Here are some of the specific services an IT company can offer you to ensure your systems are protected from ransomware attacks:
Set Up a Layered Security Architecture
One of the first things your IT company should do to help you combat ransomware attacks is analyze your current infrastructure and security measures. If your systems aren’t detecting new threats such as zero-day vulnerabilities, you’ll need a more robust security setup.
One way to do that is set up a layered security architecture, which implements various security controls on different levels to ensure your data stays protected. It should accurately identify users and the permissions they have, restrict access rights, and input password protections.
Use a Secure Hosting Option
Data storage can be expensive, but there are several secure hosting options that are both cost-effective and secure. One option is to host your data in either the public or a private cloud so that you can control your data storage on one platform. Cloud operations are great for achieving reduced downtime and more secure access to data, even when working remotely.
Establish Incident Report Procedures
Incident reports are necessary to ensure you can prevent whatever caused the incident in the future. Developing comprehensive incident report procedures can help make sure you have a plan for how to react quickly and efficiently in the event of an IT incident, data breach, or disaster.
Hire a Managed Service Provider (MSP)
A Managed IT Service Provider can monitor your systems twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and prepare your systems ahead of time by patching vulnerabilities as soon as they are detected. Usually, they’ll catch suspicious acts before they get the chance to cause damage, which means outsourcing your IT is a great investment for businesses who want to ensure they have the maximum protection available for their systems.