Protecting Your Organization from the Global Ransomware Epidemic

In the modern age of ransomware, attackers have become very sophisticated in their methods. In the blink of an eye, you could be locked out of your corporate data with a ransom demand waiting in your inbox.

The good news is this: with the proper security measures in place, you can be confident in the security of your corporate data and avoid any infection from ransomware.

This article will help you to understand what you can do to ensure your corporate data is protected, and the signs to watch for to avoid infection from ransomware.

But first, let’s define what ransomware is.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of malware (malicious software) that threatens you with harm once it has taken over your network, computer or smartphone. In many cases, this means denying you access to your corporate data, contacts or phone calls.

Once your data has been compromised, the attacker who infected your network will ask for a ransom ranging anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

Depending on how sensitive your data is to the operations of your business, this can leave you at the mercy of your attacker.

Let’s take a look at who the primary targets for ransomware attacks are.

Industries Most Targeted by Ransomware

Regardless of size, no organization is completely off limits to the threat of a ransomware attack.  Nearly 75% of businesses targeted by ransomware don’t have proper security measures in place to avoid infection.

Organizations within the educational, government, healthcare, legal or finance industries are certainly more susceptible to ransomware attacks than others.

Organizations in these industries carry critical data that is needed to make quick decisions. An example would be a hospital where patient data can be critical in making life or death decisions. Considering that 72% of infected businesses lost access to their data for 2 days or more, protection from attacks is more critical than ever.

Additionally, if your organization carries sensitive client data (think law firms and educational institutions), attackers know you will be more likely to pay a ransom quickly to avoid any detrimental data leaks that could compromise the reputation of your organization long-term.

So, how can you prevent and protect your critical data from a ransomware attack?

How to Prevent a Ransomware Attack

While there are many steps you can take to defend your organization from a ransomware attack, we will list a few that you can implement today.

Back it Up: Make sure you always have a current offline backup. Ransomware will often search for online backups of your system, so having an offline backup is crucial for protecting your data.

Patch Your Operating System: Keeping your operating system patched and up-to-date will fix security vulnerabilities and help prevent malware from infecting your network.

Install an Antivirus: There are many commercial antivirus programs out there that will detect and prevent ransomware from taking over your network.  

The Future of Ransomware

Unfortunately, the odds of infection, especially in the industries mentioned in this article, are only increasing.

As more organizations pay ransoms to gain back access to their corporate data, the reality is that approximately 20% of small to medium businesses that pay the ransom never actually get their data back. Popularity and sophistication of ransomware attackers grew by over 250% in 2017, leaving companies at risk. A ransomware attack now occurs every 40 seconds, up from ever 2 minutes in 2016.

In the event of a ransomware attack, it is crucial to have a strong security strategy and a team that is knowledgeable in how to stop an attack dead in its tracks.

If your organization doesn’t have the resources to implement this team yourself, it might be time to consider hiring a third party partner (we know a good one) to ensure that your corporate data remains exactly that… yours.

Schedule a consultation with a technology expert at Grade A today and let’s keep your critical data safe and sound.

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