Ransomware is a form of malware – or malicious software – that encrypts data and blocks access to your computer until you pay a ransom fee to the attacker. In most cases, the victim is told to pay the ransom within a certain amount of time or risk losing access forever. Cybercriminals are just that – criminals; which means paying the ransom doesn’t ensure you’ll gain access to your data or that it won’t happen again.

While the hype used to outweigh the actual risk, ransomware has grown to become a major concern for businesses of all sizes. According to a study by Cybersecurity Ventures, a new organization will fall victim to ransomware every 14 seconds in 2019.

Unsure if you’re at risk? Take this quick self-assessment:

  • I never open email attachments from unknown senders.
  • I double-check sources before clicking on social media links.
  • I don’t connect personal devices to the company network.
  • I keep my system set to automatically complete updates and patches.
  • I back up all files and important data at least three times a week.

If you answered false to any of these statements, then you’re at risk for a ransomware attack. But don’t worry, there are some precautions you can take for ransomware prevention.

Train Your Employees to Spot Malicious Links

According to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 93 percent of all malware deposited on networks is due to an employee clicking on a malicious link or attachment in an email. Your employees are typically the weakest link in your cybersecurity defenses, but they don’t have to be. Security awareness training is vital to teach your employees to spot and ignore malicious links, phishing emails and common email scams.

Enforce Automated Updates & Patches

A scary reality of cybersecurity is that whatever you think is least important is what hackers will exploit. Outdated software or applications are a prime example. It’s easy to put off installing patches, but this leaves the door open for hackers to enter your system. Make sure all devices and systems are regularly updated with the latest security patches, don’t settle for default configurations and take the time to disable any features you don’t need.

Uncover Your Weak Spots with Penetration Testing

The only way to be sure your systems are secure is to test them against a real-world threat. Smart organizations conduct penetration tests where an authorized attack is made against its networks and computer systems with the purpose of finding and fixing security vulnerabilities.

Create a Reliable Backup & Recovery Plan

The best defense is a good offense and the most reliable way to safeguard your business against ransomware is to decrease the potential impact of one by maintaining a consistent and secure backup and recovery plan. Ideally, backups should occur daily and stored in three locations – on-site, off-site and in the cloud. You also need a clear recovery plan that allows you to restore your most recent backup immediately and help you get back to business as usual.

As ransomware continues to become more sophisticated and common, it’s essential for businesses to take smart steps toward ransomware prevention and detection. Contact StoredTech to learn how we can help you dramatically reduce a ransomware attack on your business.