In 2016 a business was attacked by ransomware every 40 seconds. The same report from cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab also stated that in Q1 of 2017 ransomware attacks have risen by 253%. That is worrisome news for any business but even more so for small to medium businesses that are now being increasingly targeted.
It’s thought that the limited resources SMB’s have available to fight attacks are making them a more appealing target for attackers.
So how can your business protect itself from ransomware?
It’s an important to understand what ransomware is and how an attack affects an organisation.
Before you can protect your business from ransomware you need to understand it. Download our free guide to understand ransomware
Ransomware is a type of computer virus that threatens to delete your files unless you pay the ransom. Attackers download malicious software onto a device and then use it to encrypt the victim's information. They threaten to block access to the files until a ransom is paid and just because you pay the ransom doesn’t mean you’ll get your files back. Kaspersky say that in 2016 1 in 5 businesses that paid the ransom never got their files back.
The threat is very clear to a business and here are some ways a business can protect itself from ransomware.
Back up your files
The biggest damage a business will suffer from an attack is the loss of files. Depending on the type of business this can have a disastrous effect on the company and can even affect their customers or clients.
The best way to protect against ransomware is to back up all information and files across your network devices on a separate system. By, saving to an external server your files won’t be affected if your main network is attacked.
Have a business continuity plan
Backing up your files is no good if you don’t know what to do when you need to recover them. A business continuity plan can help your business recover the files you have backed up and limit the downtime an attack can cause. If your business is subject to industry regulations or other legal requirements a business continuity plan can make sure sensitive digital information is safe from attack.
It can seem like you need to stop what you're working on and install a new update every day but avoid the temptation to skip an update. Companies often release software updates to fix weaknesses that can be exploited by a cyber attack. Always download the newest version of a software as soon as possible or update a program when prompted.
Use antivirus software
Antivirus is always an important tip for any type of cyber security. They can block secret installations and look for malware that may already be on a computer or device. Don’t think an antivirus program is all you need for protection. Ransomware attacks are becoming so sophisticated antivirus software’s are struggling to keep up. It’s certainty better to use antivirus software than not use it but always remember your business can’t solely rely on it protect your business.
Educate your staff
Gene Marks, a small business expert and founder of The Marks Group thinks this is what SMB’s are more likely to be targeted. “They are easy targets. Employees have less training, especially in IT. They are actually the most exposed to get hacked.”
Employees should always exercise caution when opening unsolicited emails or visiting websites they are unfamiliar with because for ransomware to work hackers need to download malicious software onto a computer. This is then used to launch an attack and encrypt your businesses files.
Never pay the ransom
The victims of an attack have been advised to not pay the ransom because it encourages attackers to target more business or continue to target your business. If you have properly backed up your files there is never the need to pay the ransom as you can just roll back a file to when it was backed up.
A business can protect itself from a ransomware attack but to constantly maintain that defence can take up a lot of resource and time. Getting help from a professional IT Support and security company can save a business a lot of money over the long run.
As the number of cyber attacks continue to grow its vital for a business to take steps to protect itself from the effects of ransomware. The statistics show its more than likely your business will be hit by an attack and the aftermath can be costly. According to Intermedia, nearly three out of four companies infected with ransomware suffer two days or more without access to their files.
Although ransomware and cyber attacks are not going away any time soon there are clear steps a business can take to protect themselves from breach, or if the worst happens and you suffer a breach, by following these steps you can limit the damage and even carry on as if nothing has happened.
Can your business afford 2 days of data loss?