Ransomware attacks are a major cyber threat facing all types of businesses. During a ransomware attack, the perpetrators encrypt all of your files and demand a ransom in cryptocurrency to restore access. Failure to pay the ransom within a certain amount of time results in losing access to all of your files. Many times, these cyber criminals will also threaten to make sensitive data public. What can make things even worse is that even though you give in to a ransom demand, it’s not a guarantee that you will regain access to your files. Not having an effective data security management plan in place leaves your business open to these kinds of attacks.

The frequency of these attacks is not abating. In 2021, it is projected that a business will be hit with a ransomware attack every 11 seconds. The ransomware recovery cost is rising as well, with the average running about $1.85M. In terms of operational impact, the average downtime runs about 19 days — almost three weeks.

 

Some of the ways ransomware can infect your system include:

  • Phishing emails and text messages containing malicious attachments.
  • Drive-by downloading. This when malware is downloaded and installed when a user visits a website, without the user’s knowledge.
  • Social media, such as Web-based instant messaging applications.
  • Newer methods. For example, vulnerabilities in Web servers may be exploited as an entry point to gain access to an organization’s network.
  • Infected software from third parties

 

Up until recently, the most common vehicle of these attacks had been phishing emails. Improvements in blocking these types of attacks have made this approach somewhat less effective, but not everyone uses these tools. Hackers have also started taking a more targeted approach, focusing on looking for other chinks in a target business’s network infrastructure, including compromises they may make in their data security to integrate with third party software. A lack of cybersecurity training and weak passwords also continue to play a big role in ransomware attacks in the workplace.

Here are a few ways to keep your business protected against ransomware.

Educate Employees

One way to avoid ransomware attacks is to educate your employees about these threats as they arise, including how to protect against them. Your employees are usually the first line of defense against cyber attacks, so training them on IT security best practices and keeping them up to date on cyber threats is an essential part of a comprehensive data security strategy.

Create Data Backups on the Cloud

Ransomware attacks often focus on small to mid-size businesses because they are less likely to pay proper attention to IT security. One way to make it easier to recover from these threats is to follow the 3-2-1 rule. This remains the best practice for data backups. The “2” part of this rule says that you need to store your data in two different types of media while also keeping a copy that is offsite. Isolating the offsite backup from your network is critical because your local internal backups could be compromised by ransomware attacks. Increasingly, this second, offsite media backup location is the cloud.

Keep Your Device Software Updated

Software updates often include patches to fix software vulnerabilities that cybercriminals could exploit, so it is extremely important to stay up to date with them. Unfortunately, keeping up with the latest software updates for their devices isn’t always an easy task for some employees. One way to make this a “no brainer” for them is to set their devices up to accept automatic updates. Additionally, conducting regular audits to ensure all of your software applications are up to date is extremely important if you want to maintain the security of your business’s IT systems and data.

Manage User Privileges

Not every user needs access to every file. One way to avoid the prospect of a wide-ranging ransomware attack is to create a data security policy that defines which users have access to which data. Each user’s level of access should be based on the user’s credentials, including their role within the company, and the level of sensitivity and proprietary nature of the data. For example, a receptionist for a company should not be given access to the same data as strategic planner or the top-level executives of a company. Properly managing user data access privileges reduces potential sources of ransomware attacks by preventing access by those who are less trustworthy, and limiting the possible sources of breaches resulting from human error. A managed IT services provider can help you define a data security policy and set up access control systems to implement it. Combined with tools that authenticate user identity, systematic control and monitoring of user privileges ensures that employees only have access to data on a “need to know” basis and reduces your ransomware attack risk.

 

GSDSolutions IT Services

Ransomware continues to be a major threat for all companies. The financial hit can be especially severe for SMBs. Partnering with a managed IT service provider with data security management expertise like GSDSolutions who can help you take the appropriate measures to protect your business can be a great way to stay ahead of these threats. GSDSolutions offers business IT services for a predictable monthly cost for customers in the Bay Area and Central Valley. Our IT professionals understand the importance of data security management in today’s digital workplace.

 

Give GSDSolutions a call at (650) 282-7695, or drop us an email at getstuffdone@gsdsolutions.info to find out more about how we can help your business put together the best protection against ransomware attacks!

 

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