A ransomware attack can be devastating to your business.
Ransomware attacks can shut down your business for inconvenient periods of time, permanently damage your reputation, and open the door to more unfortunate yet preventable data breaches.
Ransomware has become such a big issue for private companies that even the White House is getting involved. Earlier this month, the White House issued the following statement:
“The Federal Government is stepping up to do its’ part, working with like-minded partners around the world to disrupt and deter ransomware actors…The private sector has a critical responsibility to protect against these threats.”
Wow! When Uncle Sam gets involved, it must be important.
What is ransomware and how can your business prevent it?
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts or locks the data on your hardware or network.
Once infected, the attackers (aka, ransomware actors) demand a monetary ransom in exchange for a unique key to unlock your files. Here are a few common ways that ransomware can get into your network and disrupt your end users:
- When one of your employees clicks a corrupt link or attachment.
- When someone inside your company clicks on some sort of ad that leads to a website with an exploit kit.
- When someone in your office uses an infected piece of hardware.
- OR – the most common which is a phishing email. This is an email sent to someone inside your company that relies on social engineering to encourage the recipient to click a link, download an attachment, or reply to some sort of link that takes your employee to an infected website. If your employee falls for the phishing trick, the malware silently installs on their device.
Once the ransomware is inside your network, it spreads to all your connected systems where it searches for valuable data to steal. If the ransomware encrypts your data, you will receive a note that demands payment in exchange for the decryption key.
If you do not pay up, they threaten to destroy the key, destroy your data, or leak sensitive data.
When you have a proven, strategic IT process, however, many of these risks are eliminated. An IT process must ensure your users, data, and network is safe.
Here’s seven things that you can do to avoid ransomware issues because of a mature and strategic IT process.
Create a culture of staff awareness – Employees are the most vulnerable attack surface for a ransomware attack. Organize regular security awareness training that explains the role staff plays in preventing ransomware.
Firewalls, firewalls, firewalls – This is the first software-based line of defense against ransomware.
Run regular security tests – Vulnerability assessments allow you to check for weaknesses while coming up with a strategic plan to solve them.
Strong password security – Your team must know the importance of strong passwords.
Keep your software patches updated – Ransomware exploits cybersecurity loopholes within your company’s software. Keep your software versions current.
Improve your email security – Email security best practices are crucial to protecting against phishing and social engineering traps.
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies – Unregulated devices pose unnecessary risks to your network. You MUST ensure a fully segregated “guest” WIFI Network if you want to provide access for vendors, clients, and other unknown visitors. Allowing visitor’s into the production network is asking for trouble.
Remember, 70% of regulated financial service firms reported that a successful IT strategy helped avoid issues like data loss and ransomware.
And, the greatest cost-benefit was an improvement in cybersecurity awareness, efficiency, and transparency in decision-making and cost reductions.
Not to mention that over 81% of IT professionals that were surveyed said the pandemic has increased reliance on technology to manage threats like ransomware while easing concerns.
The relationship between technology and avoiding ransomware problems is tricky. It’s doesn’t have to be. We have a clear, proven process that will handle all your technology needs so you can leverage IT to drive your business and avoid the pain of ransomware pitfalls.