Digital tools connect us all, but this isn’t always a good thing. Threats are lurking online, and it’s up to you to prevent breaches, data loss, and ransomware from disrupting your business. Regardless of the size of your company, you’re always at risk of a ransomware attack.
Since the average cost to remediate ransomware is $133,000 per incident, it’s critical for your business to prepare for a disaster before the worst happens. Read on to learn how ransomware works and five ways your business can prevent ransomware attacks.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware that accounts for 56% of all cyber attacks. Once ransomware infects your network, it can:
- Take away your access to files, devices, or entire systems
- Encrypt your data
- Completely erase files
The party behind the attack will then demand an expensive ransom in exchange for your data. This not only hurts your bottom line in terms of paying for a ransom, but it can tarnish your reputation and even open you up to legal action.
Ransomware most commonly infiltrates networks through phishing emails, links, attachments, and malicious websites. If you’re running outdated software or you work in a sensitive industry like healthcare, you’re more at risk of a ransomware attack.
5 Ways to Prevent Ransomware Attacks
Unfortunately, ransomware attacks are on the rise, increasing by 158 percent in North America and 62 percent worldwide from 2019 to 2020 alone. But you don’t have to be a victim; by following these five tips, you can strengthen your security posture and prevent ransomware.
1. Back Up Data Automatically
It’s much easier to brush off a ransomware attack if you back up the information the hacker is trying to hold ransom. This is also the best way to recover from ransomware—but only if you frequently back up your data.
Try storing your backups offline so ransomware can’t infect them. You could also store your data in the cloud, making it harder for ransomware to exploit but much easier to revert to backups.
2. Create Security Policies
Prevention starts with your security policies. Meet with your IT department to design policies for all the devices, applications, software, and hardware in your organization.
For example, if you let employees bring their own devices (BYOD) to work, create policies for BYOD that balance employee flexibility with security. This might mean requiring access keys or credentials for BYOD access.
3. Lock Down Every Endpoint
Every endpoint on your network needs to be secure. Make sure everything is locked down, including connected devices that you might have originally overlooked, like printers or scanners.
To prevent ransomware, it’s also a good idea to implement a zero-trust security policy on your network. Assume every device that tries to access your network is a threat and make sure your system verifies every single device with multi-factor authentication before granting access.
4. Update and Patch Your Systems
Updates and security patches harden your security posture, but if you don’t update in a timely manner, ransomware could find its way in. Ransomware intentionally targets out-of-date software, so the best way to protect yourself is to update everything. Implement automatic updates and patching to minimize your vulnerability to ransomware.
5. Train Your Employees
90% of all cyber-attacks are caused by some form of human behavior or error. Even though your employees are smart and capable, ransomware isn’t at the top of their minds while they’re going about their day. This is why it’s so critical for your IT team to train employees on security.
This means coaching employees on:
- How to spot a phishing email
- How to safely download an attachment
- How to contact IT about suspicious emails, links, or attachments
Ransomware will find its way through any department in your business, so every employee needs to receive security training. Offer security awareness training to new employees and existing employees at least once a year. You can even implement phishing tests to keep your team’s guard up.
The Bottom Line
The best way to cope with ransomware is to prepare for an attack well before it happens. Ransomware can affect every aspect of your business, which is why it’s so important to prevent an attack with these five tips.
But what should you do if you’re the victim of a ransomware attack? Measured Insurance guards you against the losses and business disruptions from ransomware. With 24/7 expert support and remediation assistance, we’re here to help you when the worst happens. See where you stack up: check your ransomware risk now.