Simply put, ransomware is a form of malware that puts up an encrypted wall between businesses and their most vital data and applications. Although ransomware has been around for quite some time, attacks against small businesses have become increasingly widespread in recent years. Unfortunately, many small businesses that have suffered from a ransomware attack never report the incident, electing to pay and keep the entire incident a secret. This is part of what makes ransomware so damaging, as the frequency of these attacks many times go unnoticed.
As a business owner, it is only natural that you would be worried about the threat of ransomware attacks. After all, any possible avenue at a hacker’s disposal to compromise your most delicate data should be identified and addressed appropriately. Malicious attacks can happen at any time, but there are many ways that you can reduce the risk of data loss and business downtime.
Today, TeknaByte will be giving you all the information you need to protect your data from ransomware. Using the proactive strategies highlighted here, you’ll have a better chance of preventing ransomware attacks on your business and keeping your data out of the hands of scammers.
What is Ransomware?
Once a hacker has cut off its target from their data, deeming it completely inaccessible, a ransom will be demanded in order for function to be restored. In many cases, business owners hand over the money in an act of desperation when their daily operations are halted.
While many businesses have tried to stay a step ahead of hackers by attempting to remove ransomware from their systems, a new development known as crypto-ransomware has found a way around even this protective measure. Crypto-ransomware utilizes a form of unbreakable encryption so that your data can’t be read even once the malware is removed from your system.
Protecting Your Data from Ransomware Attacks in 5 Steps
Your company’s data is yours, but when your data is compromised it puts your business at risk of financial loss, breach of personal information, and diminished credibility in the eyes of your customers. With so much at risk, it’s vital that you take every measure possible to prevent a ransomware attack on your business. Here are 5 steps you can take today to protect your data.
Consider Using Application Whitelisting
Application whitelisting is one of the best defenses against malware. This form of malware protection controls the type of software that is allowed to run on your business’s computer systems. This is enacted by denying user access to any applications that have not been whitelisted for use by an administrator. Considering the fact that ransomware gains access to your network via compromised websites and applications, putting application whitelisting in place greatly reduces the risk of cybercriminals gaining access.
Set Automatic Updates
Another powerful method of protecting your business from ransomware is by making sure that all of your business’s devices are reinforced with antivirus and antimalware solutions that are set to update automatically. This means that your network will always have the latest versions of protective solutions installed.
Automatic updates also mean that your network will undergo regular scans for viruses and malware. Proactive security measures are the first line of defense in preventing ransomware attacks, and automatic updates are one of the best methods available to your business.
Educate Your Employees
When taking preventative measures against ransomware attacks, it’s best to start with the source of the issue. Error in user behavior is one of the most common causes of data compromise in ransomware attacks on businesses. User education is a powerful source of security when it comes to ransomware. By taking the time to educate your employees on proper safety practices, you can maximize your efforts to avoid serious trouble.
There are three main user behaviors with the most risk of a ransomware infection, including email attachments, drive-by downloads, and malicious links found in emails. Whenever one of these corrupted sources is accessed by an employee, the chance of a ransomware attack is introduced into your system.
Set up ransomware threat prevention training with your employees to educate them about the dangers of ransomware and how to avoid it. This can be in the form of a seminar, interactive discussion over lunch, or even a presentation from a professional IT consulting service provider. Once your staff has an understanding of the warning signs, best practices, and threat response associated with ransomware, your business will stand a much better chance of protecting data.
Make Regular Backups
If your business does happen to suffer from a ransomware attack despite your best efforts to prevent it, what can be done? Regular backups are a must for reducing the impact of a ransomware attack. When your business’s most critical data is stored either offline or on a separate device, you’ll be able to access it even if you fall victim to the efforts of cybercriminals.
It is best practice to keep your most sensitive data backed up in multiple locations, including local disks, your business’s main storage area, and in cloud storage. When you take these important precautions, you’ll be able to regain control of your most vital systems and reduce the loss of encrypted files overall.
Use Mail Filtering
Finally, another effective way to protect your data from ransomware is mail filtering. As discussed, attachments and malicious links found in emails are two of the main gateways for cybercriminals to access your data. This means that one of the most effective ways to prevent a ransomware attack is by never letting corrupted emails arrive in your inbox in the first place.
Put a mail filtering system in place that scans content and filters out suspicious emails. This will go a long way in minimizing the chances of you or an employee making the mistake of introducing a ransomware attack into your business with a single click.
Let TeknaByte Help Protect Your Data from Ransomware
Now that you know what you can do to protect your business from a costly ransomware attack, it’s time to take action! As a business owner, it is likely that you already have your hands full and IT security measures may be the last thing you feel prepared to devote your time to. That’s where TeknaByte comes in!
At TeknaByte, we offer managed IT services that take the weight off of your shoulders when it comes to protecting your business. Our skilled IT professionals have the technical knowledge and years of experience to put every possible preventive measure in place so that you can carry on with daily business practices worry-free. Contact us today! We’re here to help.