Ransomware is targeting your business.

Ransomware is targeting businesses of all sizes and locations. From big business to small business; from local to global we are all at risk. These sophisticated hackers are using scare tactics by holding your business data hostage in return for a large sum of money. So how do you protect your business and not become the next public embarrassment?

Know what you are up against.

Before you can protect your business, you need to have an understanding of ransomware. Ransomware is when a hacker blackmails you and holds your data hostage in return for a large sum of money. Ransomware can come in a variety of forms: encrypt your files so can't access them, lock-up applications so they stop running or put a hold on your entire network or device - preventing you from access.1

Still think your not at risk? Ransomware is an epidemic. It is costings businesses hundreds to thousands of dollars every day. According to TechWire, ransomware attacks have increased 158% between March 2016 and April 2016 alone. In addition, 60% of malware infections are now considered to be ransomware. 2

Tips for protecting your business.

Ransomware is pretty scary stuff. In the end, there is no perfect, practical and cost effective solution to provide 100% safety. However, following these very basic guidelines can greatly decrease your vulnerability.

  • Implement anti-virus and anti-malware software in on all servers, desktops, laptops and mobile devices. Ensure software and signatures are updated regularly and scheduled scan take place minimum weekly.
  • Implement web browsing filtering and "drive-by" protection. Keep in mind you will want to protect your devices when on and off your business networks.
  • Implement inbound Email filtering.
  • Review application and data security for your employees. Make sure that employees do not have elevated privileges to data and network systems. Another way to say this...employees should not be administrators! The more access they have, the more damage can be done if ransomer sneaks into your business.

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Train Your Staff.

Educating your staff on how to recognize ransomware and other bad stuff is the most overlooked defense. Most business owners consider this a waste or time and productivity. We suggest quarterly training sessions with staff on how to recognize ransomware and how to respond if they suspect something has infected their device.

Have a Data Backup Strategy.

Unfortunately yes, bad things happen to good networks. We have all heard it said over, and over and over again..."back it up"! The saddest part is that more than one third of businesses today have inadequate backup solutions.

  • Have a backup solution in place for both centrally stored data and distributed data.
  • Review existing backup configurations to make sure ALL data locations are protected. We recommend doing this as part of your monthly maintenance plan.
  • Perform sample test restores. Once again, we recommend doing this as part of your monthly maintenance plan.

Have a Communication Plan.

Lastly, don't let a ransomware attack become a PR nightmare. Knowing how and when to respond will enable you to get ahead of the crisis. It is important to have a communication response plan in place; for your staff, for your customers and for the public. Have a consistent message. Your constituents will want to know how your business was effected, what the next steps are, and how you are going to rectify the situation. It is important to be transparent without disclosing confidential information to the public.

Want to learn more about how to protect your business from ransomware?

Contact us for a network risk assessment.

Sources: 1 Microsoft | https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/security/portal/mmpc/shared/ransomware.aspx
2 Mercury News research | http://www.techwire.net/news/ransomware-infections-are-becoming-an-epidemic.html