A ransomware attack of the right size at the right time can destroy a business. It cuts you out of your data. All of it. From internal files to client data, everything is put under a lock until you pay the hackers the ransom money.
Because no business can work outside the digital sphere, let’s talk about ransomware and how your business can prepare for an attack.
What is a ransomware attack?
At its core, ransomware is a type of encryption malware. Essentially, a hacker will break into your system, locking it out of your reach by putting your data under a very complex and unique cipher.
The only way to unlock your data is if the ransomware deployer does it for you since they’re the ones holding the unique key. The scam part is that they ask for money in return. Usually, we are talking about amounts that’ll hit your business badly. Here’s how it happens in most cases:
- A hacker gets into your computer, usually through infected software or an internet link.
- The malware does its purpose, encrypting your data, making it practically unusable.
- Usually, through email, they contact you with ransom info and a deadline.
After this, it’s up to you whether or not to pay the ransom, but experts say you shouldn’t.
How to prepare your business for a potential ransomware attack
There’s no one sure way to avoid ransomware attacks. The larger your business is, the higher the chances of being targeted by one.
But, we can talk about the measures that will help your business prepare for a potentially disastrous situation.
1. Start from awareness
Most malware breaches happen due to human mistakes. Not every employee is an expert on cybersecurity, and sometimes, honest mistakes happen. However, being oblivious to the cyber threats in your business sector is not an option.
Find a way to convey to your employees what ransomware is and that it can be avoided by employing some digital common sense. Simply double-checking the links you’re opening through email will significantly lower the risk of breach. Also, reevaluate how much you use 3rd party software. Ransomware comes through executable files as well.
All in all, make sure everyone knows what this threat represents and how it can be prevented. There are business cyber awareness training methods out there for companies of all sizes as well.
2. Redistribute employee data access
Not everyone needs to have access to every part of your business’s database. Yes, it is easier if you don’t have to track access privileges. Plus, you get to exercise employee trust. However, cutting access is not about that.
The more people have access to company data, the higher the chances of infecting your whole system with ransomware. These chances double if you have remote workers on board since they often use the same device for work and for personal matters.
Make an access hierarchy list and start cutting access.
3. Have a backup ready
If you have a good backup of your data, you can just ignore the ransom request right away. The ransomware attack will slow your business down, yes, but you will recover quickly.
In fact, it’s important that you update your backup database often. This is critical if you handle a lot of user/client data on your end.
4. Utilize the power of email filtering
As you can see, we mentioned human mistakes more than once.
Ransomware deployers often use phishing to get through your defenses. And phishing is done through email spoofing. Email filtering helps shut down a large portion of these attempts before they even reach you.
If done on a company level, it can save your business from all sorts of attacks, like spear phishing and, by extension – ransomware.
Prevention is key!
Developing a backup routine is your only “cure” for a ransomware situation. Unless your business is ready to pay the ransom. Other than that – the only option you have is to be prepared.
Raise awareness of ransomware and how it spreads, use email filtering to hinder phishing attempts, and revoke unnecessary access to company data.
Image credit: Torsten Dettlaff via Pexels