Anti-VirusEducationRansomwareSecurity

Are you Aware of Ransomware?

SOURCE: The Business Guide to Ransomware

More and more, ransomware has emerged as a major threat to individuals and businesses alike. Ransomware, a type of malware that encrypts data on infected systems.  When the malware is run, it locks victim’s files and allows criminals to demand payment to release them. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are probably well aware that ransomware is a hot topic in the news these days. Organizations of all types and sizes have been impacted, but small businesses can be particularly vulnerable to attacks. And ransomware is on the rise.

PROTECT AGAINST RANSOMWARE

While small to- mid-sized businesses aren’t specifically targeted in ransomware campaigns, they may be more likely to suffer an attack. Frequently, small business IT teams are stretched thin and, in some cases, rely on outdated technology due to budgetary constraints. This is the perfect storm for ransomware vulnerability. Thankfully, there are tried and true ways to protect your business against ransomware attacks. Security software is essential, however, you can’t rely on it alone.  A proper ransomware protection strategy requires a three-pronged approach, comprising of education, security, and backup.

Education

First and foremost, education is essential to protect your business against ransomware. It is critical that your staff understands what ransomware is and the threats that it poses. Provide your team with specific examples of suspicious emails Because ransomware is constantly evolving, even the best security software can be breached. This is why a secondary layer of defense is critical for businesses to ensure recovery in case malware strikes: backup. with clear instructions on what to do if they encounter a potential ransomware lure (i.e. don’t open attachments, if you see something, say something, etc.). Conduct bi-annual formal training to inform staff about the risk of ransomware and other cyber threats. When new employees join the team, make sure you send them an email to bring them up to date about cyber best practices. It is important to ensure that the message is communicated clearly to everyone in the organization, not passed around on a word of mouth basis. Lastly, keep staff updated as new ransomware enters the market or changes over time.

Security

Antivirus software should be considered essential for any business to protect against ransomware and other risks. Ensure your security software is up to date, as well, in order to protect against newly identified threats. Keep all business applications patched and updated in order to minimize vulnerabilities. Some antivirus software products offer ransomware-specific functionality. Sophos, for example, offers technology that monitors systems to detect malicious activities such as file extension or registry changes. If ransomware is detected, the software has the ability to block it and alert users. However, because ransomware is constantly evolving, even the best security software can be breached. This is why a secondary layer of defense is critical for businesses to ensure recovery in case malware strikes: backup.

Backup

Modern total data protection solutions take snapshot-based, incremental backups as frequently as every five minutes to create a series of recovery points. If your business suffers a ransomware attack, this technology allows you to roll-back your data to a point-in-time before the corruption occurred. When it comes to ransomware, the benefit of this is two-fold. First, you don’t need to pay the ransom to get your data back. Second, since you are restoring to a point-in-time before the ransomware infected your systems, you can be certain everything is clean and the malware can not be triggered again.  Additionally, some data protection products today allow users to run applications from image-based backups of virtual machines. This capability is commonly referred to as “recovery-in-place” or “instant recovery.” This technology can be useful for recovering from a ransomware attack as well, because it allows you to continue operations while your primary systems are being restored and with little to no downtime. This business-saving technology is called Instant Virtualization, which virtualizes systems either locally or remotely in a secure cloud within seconds. This solution ensures businesses stay up-and-running when disaster strikes.

CONCLUSION

A  little bit of education and the right solutions go a long way. Make sure your employees understand what to watch out for and you can avoid a lot of headaches. Never underestimate the dedication or expertise of today’s hackers. They are constantly adapting and improving their weapon of choice. That’s why you need top-notch security software and backup. Keep your business safe and give your nerves a break. To sum it all up, knowledge spreading and security software can help you avoid cyber attacks. Patch management is essential. Be certain that your software is up-to-date and secure. In the end, it is backup that will help you pick up the pieces when all else fails. Consider using a modern backup product that offers features that can permanently eliminate downtime.

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