Ransomware resulted in a cost of $1 billion to businesses across the globe in 2016. While that number is staggering, it is even more disturbing if your company was affected by the crime. Any company can become a victim, but those that store large amounts of personal data are particularly at risk. Companies that regularly travel out of their area are also at higher risk, as business is sometimes conducted without necessary safeguards in place.
Ransomware is malicious software that holds your computer system hostage until a payment is made. Those who pay are required to do so with Bitcoin, which allows the criminals to remain anonymous in the transaction. Those that do not pay, lose the valuable information stored in their computer system.
Take these steps to protect your company, and be sure to train all employees to do so as well:
Think before you click. If you receive an attachment or a URL, make sure you verify the source. Do NOT click until you are certain that it is valid. Watch for emails that originate from Gmail accounts rather than company addresses. Don’t fall for those “warnings” that beg for immediate action on your part. Contact the bank or other organization directly to verify that action should be taken on an account.
Protect. Use a computer protection service that guards against ransomware. Take the time to research and make this choice wisely. There are many companies that claim to offer protection, but in reality, do not.
Control access. Take steps to limit permissions and to segment access to critical data using redundant servers. Speak with your system administrator about steps that will ensure data is only accessed by those who need it. Similarly, ensure that those traveling are well protected and aware of all safeguards in place.
Disconnect. Ensure that everyone in the company knows to immediately unplug as soon as they become aware of any malware, ransomware, or other malicious activity.
Backup data. This last critical step is the most essential. Store a back-up of all data to the cloud or to an offline server that is not connected to your system. If you use an external hard drive, do not leave it plugged in once the back-up is complete. Backing up data allows for retrieval of information, greatly reducing the devastating impact that ransomware could have on a business.
These safeguards will greatly reduce the risk of your company becoming a victim of ransomware. Your business will be able to run smoothly and safely, and provide a high level of service each day.