Ransomware is currently the leading form of malware threat that plagues businesses, accounting for millions of dollars of lost income every single year. The pandemic has only increased the number of ransomware attempts that are floating around, with the occurrence of this type of digital attack increasing by 600% over the last two years.
As a cybercrime that can take your company down for around three weeks on average, this is potentially disastrous for your business, being one of the leading causes of financial bankruptcy within new companies.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the four best practices that you should follow for effective ransomware protection, and how to minimize the damage if one were to occur. We’ll cover:
- Data backups
- Educating your staff
- Using cloud security protection
- Minimize privilege
Let’s get right into it.
Create Data Backups
Data backups are complete, or partial, copies of all of your company data, creating a duplicate that acts as a fallback. These backups can be created as frequently as you would like, but should be created as often as your business can allow. While you may think this is strenuous or over the top, another way to think about it is that the time between each backup is the amount of company progress that you’re willing to totally wipe out.
If you suffer a data breach through ransomware, and they delete your whole system, then your backup will be the only thing you have to fall back on. If that backup is from a few days ago, then you haven’t lost much progress and will be able to continue on as normal. The alternative, where you only back up once a quarter or once a year, could potentially be disastrous for your business and leave you in ruin.
If you want to minimize the damage that ransomware could do to your company, then you should always have backups on hand. That way, if your systems do become infected, and you don’t pay the hacker, then all of your data is deleted, and you simply replace it with the backup.
The more backups that you have and the more frequently you make them, the more control you have when it comes to ransomware situations.
Just be sure to store backups in different places; even better if at least one of your backups is completely offline, in a local storage device. Upload a data backup and go on as usual!
Educating Your Staff
Considering that the vast majority of ransomware attacks are due to an employee clicking on a phishing link or giving away data they shouldn’t to a scam email, starting with educating your company is always a great place to begin. You should always take time to host a web seminar where you educate your staff on what phishing emails look like and how to spot them.
By giving everyone at your company a general overview of exactly how a hacker will try to gain access to your systems, everyone will be much more prepared when a disaster event actually does occur. Education is one of the foundational mitigation tactics, which will help to decrease the chance that your teams will fall prey to a ransomware scam or phishing email.
To secure a high level of ransomware protection, start with employees and then move on to other methods. This will give you an instantaneous level of protection that won’t cost you anything to get started.
Using Cloud Security Protection
A core part of cloud security is ransomware protection, with these cloud companies offering a comprehensive level of support for your business. As a scalable and accessible service, turning to cloud security protection is one of the most effective decisions you can make when trying to keep your business safe.
Ransomware protection will perform mitigation tasks like filtering through all the different emails that your business receives to double-check for spam. If an email is flagged as most likely containing phishing or ransomware elements, then it will be blocked or placed in a moderation queue, where one of your cybersecurity experts can assess the threat themselves.
With this in place, you’ll have a much more comprehensive first-layer of defenses, with your ransomware protection software or platform handling the vast majority of any emails or other attacks that may come your way. What’s more, as this is totally autonomous, it will take a lot of burden off your back when it comes to maintaining cyber defenses.
Another smaller way that you can protect your business from ransomware is to ensure that your user accounts only have a limited scope of data access, based on who they are. In unconfigured data systems, you may accidentally allow a baseline user to access all the data within the company. If a hacker were to find that account, they, too, would then have all this access, leading to a total takeover.
However, if you limit the reach of every single account and minimize their access to only the areas that they need to do their jobs, you’ll ensure that even if a hacker gains access, they have a more limited scope. With this, you’ll be able to mitigate breaches, confining a hacker to the scope of their hacked account.
Creating a comprehensive level of ransomware protection for your business doesn’t just start with one practice. On the contrary, you should try and take all four of these approaches at once, as together they will give you the best possible chance at total protection.
Cybersecurity is an ever-evolving field, but one that you can stay on top of if you listen to experts and take the most recent advice possible. By incorporating cloud security and company education, as well as backups, into your daily processes, you’ll be well on your way to total ransomware protection for your company.