Are you ready for a ransomware attack? Do you know exactly what ransomware is or what it does to your company's machines? If you answered no to one or more of these questions, don't worry--you've come to the right place. Here's everything you need to know about ransomware and how to prepare for an attack!
What is Ransomware?
There are all kinds of cybersecurity risks and threat types swirling around out there, but ransomware is one you might not believe when you first hear about it. That's because ransomware sounds like something out of a spy thriller movie.
Named for "ransom" and "software," ransomware infects your machines and encrypts your data. That means you're effectively locked out of your own systems. To regain access, you'll have to pay a ransom--just like in the movies.
If you don't pay the ransom, hackers are likely to make the following threats:
- They'll slowly corrupt your data until you pay, eventually destroying all of it.
- They'll spread your sensitive information online.
- They'll destroy all your data at the click of a button.
The Effects of a Cybersecurity Attack Like Ransomware
Any of these outcomes could be potentially catastrophic for your business, but so could paying an incredibly high ransom. Here are a few other effects of a ransomware attack:
- Your reputation will be impacted.
Plenty of huge and respectable companies have faced ransomware attacks, and while they continue to be household names, there's often an element of concern surrounding their reputations. Even employees can feel a little shaken at having their computers and accounts attacked in this manner. If that kind of worry can impact giant businesses, it can do the same to yours.
- Your data will be beyond repair.
Hackers aren't the most trustworthy people on the planet. Even if you pay the ransom, your data might be returned in a damaged form. This kind of corruption usually can't be repaired, which means you've just paid a ransom for damaged goods.
- Your budget will be harmed.
In the end, it's your budget that ultimately suffers the most from a ransomware attack. Ransom amounts are usually very high--and even if you don't pay them, your budget is still harmed by downtime, lost business, expensive solutions, and more.
How to Structure Your Cybersecurity Approach
Although the fallout of ransomware attacks can be terrifying, the good news is that you're not helpless. Instead, you need to structure your cybersecurity approach to help you prepare for and avoid ransomware:
Get help where you need it.
You can't handle every cybersecurity task, question, and threat on your own. Managed IT services helps you build the foundation for a better, stronger cybersecurity approach, all while offering the support and advice you need to make savvy choices.
Make data backups.
Data backups are a vital step in protecting yourself against ransomware attacks. Say a hacker locks down your systems, effectively halting your business processes. If you have data backups separate from your main systems, you can access these and avoid significant downtime while handling the attack.
Encrypt your data.
Encryption is a great safety net. While it won't directly stop a ransomware attack, it does make your data useless to anyone outside your company. If a hacker threatens to spread your data online, you won't have to worry so much, because you'll know that data is encrypted and protected.
Review your digital defenses.
Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. Although backups and encryption are key, it's even better to keep ransomware attacks from happening in the first place--and that means improving your firewalls, knowing how to avoid downloading malicious files, and more. Remember, a managed IT services provider can help you identify vulnerabilities and implement targeted solutions to improve cybersecurity.
Know what to do in a worst-case scenario.
If you do fall victim to a ransomware attack, don't panic. Instead, stop sharing files (so you don't spread the infection) and communicate with your teams. Use antivirus software or the properties of the infected file to identify exactly what you're dealing with, where the issue originated, and more. With this information in hand, you can track and eliminate the ransomware infection. Then all you have to do is access your data backups and return to business as usual.
Ransomware might seem like something out of a movie, but it's very real--and very intimidating. Luckily, with the right background information and plenty of preparation, you can avoid the devastating effects of a ransomware attack.
Worried about ransomware and other cybersecurity threats? Contact us today for a little help from managed IT services!