How to Protect Your Organisation From Ransomware
Ransomware is a name that is never too far from the news – and for good reason too.
It’s estimated that as many as 78% of businesses in the UK alone fell victim to ransomware attacks in the last year with an untold amount of money paid out to virtual hostage-takers.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a form of malware that attempts to lock users out of their personal data, or publish private information – unless the user pays a fee.
This fee is typically paid through hard-to-trace currencies like Bitcoin, making it hard to bring hackers to justice – and even when a fee is paid – there are no guarantees that access will ever be restored.
How do ransomware attacks begin?
Malware is usually well-disguised. Hidden in email attachments or disguised within online content on suspicious-looking websites.
Without good internet safety protocol and procedures in place for you and your employees – a virus can easily make its way onto your systems. And before you know it – you’re in big trouble.
How to take action against ransomware
The most important thing to understand with ransomware is that you must be proactive with your approach to security to stand a chance of recovery. Once ransomware has found its way in – it’s typically already too late to recover your files.
If you’re reading this now, then here are some critical strategies that we recommend you put into action to defend yourself.
1 – Begin with a risk assessment
Your starting point when arming yourself against the dark armies of the internet should be a risk assessment. Without a proper understanding of the dangers that you face, then you are unlikely to be able to take the correct steps to protect yourself. Think carefully about how each area of your business uses the internet and the ways in which you might be vulnerable.
2 – Create an internet usage policy
Your employees should have strict rules in place regarding how they access the internet. They should know how to look out for suspicious files, how to operate their virus scanning software, and know that they should never download files or programmes from unauthorised sources.
3 – Have a backup plan in place
Ransomware works on the presumption that most businesses only have one way of accessing their systems – which is typically true. However, if you take advantage of virtual backups through an established IT provider, then you will always be able to restore your data as it is held away from your physical devices. Should the worst happen, then you can simply call on your backup to regain access to all of your files, information, and programmes.
4 – Disaster Recovery
Data loss can be devastating to businesses – hurting you both in the short and long term. It can be caused by viruses and malware, but also natural events such as flooding, fires, or simple hardware failures. To negate the associated downtime that comes with it – you need to think through each eventuality and come up with a written plan of how you will respond.
An experienced IT provider can assist you with arranging a business continuity plan – it should be detailed, comprehensive, and take advantage of the latest technology and software available.
Here at ECL, we provide businesses with a whole suite of services such as tools like VMware and HyperV that mitigate the risks of downtime. A sophisticated plan that includes backups, building replicas of key files, and infrastructure and hosting on securely located platforms can provide peace of mind to you and your clients and ultimately protect you in the event of an unplanned service interruption. To learn more about our Disaster Recovery Services, make sure to contact our team of IT experts.
ECL recognises that every client is different, and every client has a different IT support requirement. Whatever the size of your business, we can offer a support scenario to suit your needs.
Whether your business already uses Cloud services or you’re considering the Cloud as a possible way forward, talk to us first. We can provide anything from fully hosted IT infrastructures on our own ECL Private Cloud, to simple on-line backups. We can also give expert advice on Office 365 and other Cloud platforms.
How would losing access to your IT systems and data for days, or even weeks, affect your business? For many if not most companies this would be a nightmare scenario, with potentially very serious consequences.