It’s Monday morning.
You log in to your computer and find a message demanding money in exchange for releasing your data.
Is this some kind of joke?! This data helps run your entire business.
What are you going to do?
From the other room, you hear an alarm going off. Finally, you realize you’re in every business owner’s worst nightmare.
You open your eyes and reach over to turn off your 6:00 AM alarm.
You splash water on your face and say a quick thanks to the interwebs that it was just a dream.
Nobody wants to live that nightmare in real life.
As you’re driving to work, you start wondering if you’ve done enough to keep your business safe.
How do you protect yourself, your assets, and your business from the very real threat of ransomware?
Save the headache and take action.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks you from accessing your own data in exchange for ransom.
Criminals and hackers gain access to your information and encrypt it until you pay them.
In 2018, there were over 180 million cyber ransomware attacks. As the real world becomes in-tune with the digital world, the risk of a ransomware attack is higher than ever.
How Does Ransomware Happen?
Ransomware infects your computer through corrupt downloads, websites, and malicious email links. The malicious software can gain access to your data if you:
- Download a harmful email attachment
- Click on a malicious link sent via social media or email
- Fall victim to clicking on a pop-up that appears legitimate
Often times, malicious emails appear to come from people within your company. The most effective emails add a sense of urgency to make you click a link or download an attachment.
But, email and social media aren’t the only way in. More advanced ransomware attacks take advantage of security vulnerabilities within your company’s network.
How to Keep Your Business Safe Against Ransomware Attacks
The best way to protect your business is to take a proactive security data approach. This means taking preventative measures to prepare for and deter attacks before they happen.
1. Train Your Employees to Look for Ransomware Attempts
Most ransomware attacks target individuals within your company.
88% of companies consider training as the most effective way to deter attacks.
So, training your employees to detect it is vital to maintaining data security.
Hold training sessions regularly to keep employees (and yourself) up to date.
Remind employees that malicious messages may not seem malicious at the time.
Teach them what to look for and to follow up with fellow employees before clicking on anything.
Lastly, encourage them to contact your IT department if they:
- Suspect malicious emails coming through
- Have clicked on a link or downloaded a suspicious file
- Have any questions on what to look for
Now you are headed down the right track. the safety of your company’s data should be a top concern.
2. Perform Regular Backups of All Company Files
In the case of an attack, backup points let you restore your system to an earlier date. Regular backups help minimize the loss of work and data.
It would help if you stored your backups on both an internal and external drive.
An internal backup works well as long as the attack does not infiltrate it.
But, having a secondary backup on the cloud is always a good idea.
If ransomware does gain access to your internal backup, you have a second recovery option.
Failure to backup your data may result in a complete loss if you fall victim to an attack.
3. Encourage Smart Password Management
Many people don’t think twice about the passwords they use to protect their computers and digital accounts. But, these statistics may surprise you:
- 75% of people use the same password for multiple accounts
- 47% of people use a password that’s over five years old
- And 40% of people experienced a cyber incident in the last year
The best practice is to use strong passwords that get updated every couple of months.
Brute force attacks are rising in popularity. So, secure password management is vital to deterring ransomware attacks.
4. Restrict User Access as Much as Possible
Limit employee access to data and information they don’t need. When you restrict network access, you help limit the amount of data ransomware has access to.
This could mean the difference between a complete loss and a minor loss. Additionally, if you suspect an attack is happening, you can isolate that device if you catch it in time.
5. Keep Antivirus and Firewall Software Up to Date
Security software changes as the types and sophistication of cyberattacks increases. Using top-of-the-line security software helps detect and deter attacks before they happen. Make sure your security system includes:
- Antivirus protection
- Malware protection
- Firewall protection
- And ransomware protection
Update your software every time a new update gets released.
6. Install an Email Content Scanning Filtration System
Content scanning systems look for phishing attempts and block them from coming through. They can also block emails that have suspicious attachments and links from unknown senders.
This helps limit the number of attempts and reduces the risk of someone downloading ransomware.
7. Run Regular Security Scans
Use your security software to run frequent scans across network devices. This helps catch ransomware attempts so you can train your employees what to look for.
Scheduled scans dig deeper than real-time scans, so take advantage of them.
Before you start a scan, double-check that your software is up-to-date.
Protecting Your Business from the Inside Out
Protecting your business from ransomware starts with taking proactive security measures.
Data security takes time and money. But it’s worth the effort to protect your business and your employees.
Running a business with online assets requires extra security to keep your information where it belongs. Plus, it’s easier to prevent your worst nightmare than it is to recover from it.
Here at WPFarm, you’ll find dedicated WordPress hosting, optimization, and repair services.
WPFarm experts take pride in helping you keep your business safe from the inside out.
Learn more about what we do and how we do it today.