Did you know that one in five SMBs report that they have fallen victim to a ransomware attack? And did you know the FBI’s Annual Report on Cyber Crime states that businesses and individuals have lost
more than 3.5 billion
to cyber-attacks and those spreading ransomware?

If you’re running a business, the last thing you want is for your data to become compromised. You don’t want your sensitive information and customer data to fall into the wrong hands as that will only be detrimental to your entire operation. Unfortunately, cybercriminals tend to target businesses, governments, banks, medical facilities, and commercial institutions and pry data from their systems in exchange for money. The hackers send malicious software to these establishments and paralyze their networks to extract information, and then ask for a ransom to release it. This practice is called a ransomware attack.

Ransomware, explained

Ransom malware, or ransomware, is a type of malware that prevents users from gaining access to the system or data until a ransom is paid. In most cases, the data is even scrambled or deleted until payment has been made to restore it. The earliest ransomware was traced in the late 1980s, and payments were sent via snail mail. Now, the cyber hijackers demand that the ransom be sent via either credit card or cryptocurrency. 

How you can prevent ransomware attacks

 An effective layered security solution would consist of the following components: 

1. Password Management

The weakest point of entry to your system is you and your employees. Weak passwords are how 76% of data breaches occur. It’s advisable to come up with strong, unique passwords for all your accounts and change them on a regular basis. However, many people are unable to remember all of their passwords by memory. This is where password management applications come in. Instead of making your password excessively simple and easy to guess or storing them in a vulnerable document, use password management software to keep track of all your codes.  

2. Firewalls

The Internet may be the biggest innovative wonder of the century, but it comes with its own set of risks. Seeing as plenty of threats can make their way to your computer via the World Wide Web, a network firewall is a must. As tools designed to keep an eye on incoming and outgoing network traffic, firewalls can ensure your internal network is kept separate from the Internet, adding an extra level of security.  

3. Antivirus Software

While there’s no replacement for knowing how to spot ransomware attacks on your own, antivirus software is a key part of a good security solution. This type of software is designed to detect, block, and remove viruses and malware. Many can also identify phishing attacks and spot malicious URLs, among other things. Some antivirus solutions can detect out-of-the-norm behavioral patterns, preventing the threat from further infiltrating your systems. You’d be wise to install state-of-the-art antivirus software on all company devices. 

4. Patch Management

Patching your software can be tedious and time-consuming, but it’s necessary for your security. Cybercriminals often prey on those businesses with vulnerabilities and attack them before they even had the chance to deploy patches. If you value your data, you should never leave your network with unpatched vulnerability to avoid the risk of ransomware attacks. Patch management solutions will ensure that your software is kept up-to-date at all times. 

5. Backup and Recovery

Prevention is always better than cure, so you have to make sure that you have secure back-ups for all business-critical information. Should you fall prey to a ransomware attack that compromises your system and devices, having a backup means that you can restore your data and be operational again as fast as possible. Rapid recovery is crucial to minimizing downtime. If uptime is of utmost importance to your organization, look for a backup as a service provider that can offer frequent backups and Instant Virtualization to recover swiftly after an attack. 

Conclusion

By following the steps above, you can safeguard your organization against ransomware attacks that can cause your downfall. The best way to ensure all crucial data is protected is by being proactive about employee training. That way, everyone will know how to spot ransomware attacks and pass it along to those who can take action. Consider working with a security solutions provider to help put a comprehensive ransomware protection strategy in place. Whether your data is on local servers or the cloud, we can help you protect against attacks from all angles. 

For more on how you can ensure your business stays operational even in the aftermath of a cybersecurity threat, get in touch with us today to learn more about our Backup as a Service (BaaS) product.