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Protect your business from ransomware attacks. 

Ransomware has been everywhere in the news lately. According to NBC, Ransomware attached has increased by 300% as companies of all sizes and marketing sectors are at risk.

From the largest refined oil pipeline in the US being shut down; to the disrupted operations of the world’s largest meat processing company; and operations disruption of hospitals around the world in the midst of pandemic waning and surges.

Many businesses are asking themselves these days: could I be a target, too? 

The answer is yes since cyber hackers target businesses of all sizes, including yours.

What is Ransomware again?

Ransomware attacks start like any cyberattack. Hackers send malware infiltrating your system blocking access to your data. It is often delivered through phishing emails or social engineering that exploit vulnerabilities within your networks. Once a hacker gains control over your data, it is held until a ransom payment, generally in the form of cryptocurrency, is made to regain access. 

Why Protecting Your Data with Experts Is Key

To the quick of it, you need to protect your servers in your back offices and headquarters. 

While a ransomware infection might not be a complete disaster for most businesses, you still have to worry about the damage a hacker might commit once they get access. The costs to your back office and HQ networks can range from stealing intellectual property, hacking into your invoicing and emailing your clients directly, and accessing your banking info.

What to do to Protect Yourself from Ransomware

Firewalls

Set up network-level firewalls, the IT equivalent of an alarm system, with the addition of a security guard checking IDs at the door. This will help thwart traffic from unknown, suspicious, or blacklisted domains (keeping hackers from both entering your network and transferring data in and out); prevent users from accessing malware-laden sites like adult, gambling, and piracy sites; and filter out malware and spam; and alert you to suspected intrusions.

Employee Training

Do you know the most common source of ransomware? Employees. But we shouldn’t blame all employees. Just the ones doing things they shouldn’t, like opening attachments in emails from people they don’t know, getting tricked into entering their passwords into phishing websites, visiting websites they shouldn’t be accessing at work, or setting passwords that are easy to guess. Make sure to train them on how to use IT securely when at work. When working with an experienced IT management company, they have programs in place to help you educate your staff.

Secure Your Devices

Besides protecting all your devices with strong passwords, there are some easy ways to secure your machines: 

  • Set up encryption (the kind that prevents hackers from accessing your data)
  • Never give users admin-level network access; 
  • Require users get permission before installing applications
  • Give users access to only the applications, files, and servers they need
  • Apply the newest security updates
  • Install antivirus software

Backups

Backing up your data won’t prevent a ransomware infection, but it will allow you to recover your data without having to pay the ransom.  As long as your backup is completely segregated from your network and follows best practices, you can ensure that the ransomware infection will not impact your backup and recovery.  Make sure: 1) “Your backups are encrypted and not in plain format”; 2) your backups are stored off of the network and replicated to the cloud or another location; 3) your backups have versioning so that you can choose a backup date and time before the infection began.

Ransomware does not always show itself right away, and it can lie dormant on a server for a while. Hackers do this so that you are unaware of the infection, and hopefully, you would restore to a point in time JUST before the attack. That means you could be restoring your infected data that can be infected again. It is essential to have multiple, redundant backups and that you have security software to scan your infrastructure for any remnants or pieces of an infection before it goes active.

Better Now than Too Late and Too Sorry

Your employees and your clients are counting on you to improve their lives. Ensure you’ve put the security measures needed to keep your intellectual property, back-office information, and client data safe.

Even if you think you are “too small” to be targeted, make a plan before Q1 ‘22 to protect what is vital to your company.

PS – Don’t miss the offer for a free anti-phishing exercise for your employees company wide. At SNC, we are on a mission to keep your workplace drama-free in IT and help you smoothly run your operations so that you can build and grow Houston effortlessly.