How to protect your business from ransomware
When businesses think about threats to their business, they typically think about different competitors, natural disasters, or similar threats. A commonly overlooked threat that is on a sharp rise is ransomware. Infosecurity magazine reported that ransomware has increased over 13% in recent years. These attacks can come from a variety of places, but they typically have one goal: to hold your business’ data hostage until you pay a ransom. For most small businesses, ransomware attacks can be devastating. This is why it’s important to have a plan in place in case you are ever targeted.
What happens to a business after a ransomware attack?
Ransomware attacks can have a number of consequences for businesses. The most immediate is, of course, the loss of access to your data. This can grind business operations to a halt, as employees are unable to do their jobs without the necessary files. Hackers often steal data and keep it for ransom until you pay to get it back.
In some cases, ransomware attacks have also led to data breaches. This happens when the attacker is able to encrypt your data and then sells it on the dark web. This puts your customer’s data at risk and the stolen data can be used to gain access and deploy data breaches in your network.
Businesses can also expect to pay large sums of money after a ransomware attack. The average ransomware payment in 2021 was $541,010 according to a study done by Palo Alto Networks. For small businesses, this can be a crippling and potentially fatal blow.
How can businesses protect themselves from ransomware?
There are a few steps that businesses can take to protect themselves from ransomware. Some immediate steps that you can start taking to protect your business include:
Educate your employees about ransomware: Your employees are your first line of defense against ransomware. They need to be aware of the threat and know how to identify ransomware attacks. With an educated staff, you can identify and stop ransomware attacks before they happen.
Make sure that you have a reliable backup solution in place: Ransomware attacks are far less damaging if you have a recent backup of your data. With a backup of your data, you can simply restore your files without having to worry about paying the attackers. This alone can save you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars.
Ensure that your security software is up to date: Ransomware attacks are far more likely to occur with outdated security software. Ensuring your security software is up to date will help protect your business from the latest ransomware threats in addition to keeping your business operations at maximum efficiency.
Restrict access to sensitive data: A ransomware attack's damage can be mitigated if sensitive data is segregated and access to it is limited. Doing this will limit what a hacker can do if they were to gain access to your or your employees' credentials.