You’ve been struck by ransomware. What’s next?

Cyberattacks are on the rise, and cybercriminals are preying on vulnerable small businesses about every 40 seconds. It’s now more important than ever for workplaces to be aware of the growing risks to their company.  

So, let’s start with defining ransomware. What exactly is it? How do organizations fall victim to a cyberattack of this stature? Ransomware is malware wherein the attacker obtains data from the infected network and demands some form of payment in exchange for its release.  

These attacks are fairly sophisticated and calculated in nature, and don’t happen overnight. Typically, when an organization falls victim to ransomware, they’ll do what appears to be the easy way out – pay the ransom. In an ideal situation, your IT department or managed service provider would have remote backups that are updated at least weekly, stored offsite in case of emergencies. Backups are essentially copies of your data that can be used to revitalize your company after a cyberattack. Employing backups is not foolproof. There are other items to consider when thwarting cyberattacks: 

  1. Admin and end-user privileges: Does every user have free rein of company files and applications? The answer should be no. While granting employees access to everything may seem to save time, it poses a huge threat to your company’s security. 
  1. Password complexity: Are your passwords repeated across several accounts? Is your password your birthday followed by your favorite color? It’s becoming increasingly easy for cybercriminals to hack accounts and is the most common tactic used. 
  1. Two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication methods can complement a single sign-on mechanism or a good, unique and complex password.  
  1. User accounts and profiles: Every employee needs to have their own account with a unique password. Sharing accounts, even if temporarily, poses a huge risk to the integrity of your organization. 

If you don’t have backups in place and do pay ransom, you’re getting yourself into a bit of a gamble. Once you hand over the cash, be it $3,000 or $300,000, it’s likely that you’ll never hear from the evil operatives again. After you’ll realize your data was stolen and was never a variable up for negotiation, you’ll be in a pretty bad spot.

The easiest way to avoid this debacle is to trust your support team. Do you have an internal IT department? Is your network infrastructure managed by an outsourced IT operation or a managed service provider? Any IT professional will employ offsite backups. It’s important to note that backups must be updated regularly and performed daily. The very second your backups fail, or you neglect to run them, could be the day you lose your data. 

While backups do play a major role in keeping your organization afloat following an attack, a complex password and an authenticator app are a powerful duo as well.

This list is not exhaustive but can be used as a stepping stone when coming up with your company’s cybersecurity solutions. Of course, if you have any questions about the information presented, or would like some help with disaster recovery, contact us.  

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