Ransomware: An Updated Guide for Protecting Your Business

Ransomware is a threat to all industries, and there has been a significant increase in the number of ransomware attacks in the last few years with no sign of the problem slowing down.

In order to teach you how to keep your business secure, we contacted Ryan Barrett, Founder and CEO of ORAM Cybersecurity Advisors, a company that works to streamline businesses’ technology systems to help them grow, to learn more. Barrett has spent the majority of his career consulting with organizations whose data is critical to their business, making him a cybersecurity expert.

Read Ryan’s expert insights about ransomware and how you can protect your business.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is malicious malware that targets the private files of your business. While malware can cause some annoying problems or create more malicious issues such as reformatting a disk or deleting files, ransomware is different. Ransomware is malware that infects computers and restricts access to files, stopping businesses in their tracks.

When you run into ransomware, you will know it because it will notify a system’s user that it has been attacked. The notification will come after the damage has been done and your information is already encrypted. A cybercriminal will use the ransomware to demand a ransom, typically money or cryptocurrency such as bitcoin, in exchange for the safe return of an organization’s files. If the funds are not paid, the cybercriminal responsible may delete or publish your private business files online. If you do pay, you may not actually get your data back, as the hacker responsible can simply take the money and run.

Like a virus that can attack the body, ransomware can attack an entire business network. And like viruses, ransomware can morph and adapt from the way it spreads to the way it encrypts data. This means a business must approach protection on a multitude of fronts and be ready to adapt new protections as they are developed.

Means of Protection

Your IT provider should offer you protection in at least six areas. By securing a variety of entryways and providing layers of protection, your business will be safer from all threats including ransomware.

1. Patching

The most basic layer of security is to monitor and patch all computers and applications on an ongoing basis. This measure is the first step in protecting your operating system particularly when a flaw has been uncovered. 

2. Anti-Virus and Network Monitoring

Businesses are being targeted every day through a plethora of avenues: email, ad networks, mobile applications, etc. This is why these two pieces of the security puzzle examine all traffic on your business network and all files. Anti-virus monitoring employs a filter to protect your network from all known threats. Your anti-virus software should be updated regularly in order to identify the latest viral threats.

3. Backup and Disaster Recovery

One of the things cybercriminals bank on is that your business didn’t think ahead in terms of implementing backup and disaster recovery protocols. To ensure that your data is safe, it’s best to have a full system backup in place to protect your back-office systems. This will enable your business to stay on top of things if and when an attack occurs and it provides a recovery option for unknown threats. 

4. Endpoint Backup

Though backup and disaster recovery provide a layer of protection for your back-office systems, businesses should also have backup and recovery of data for all devices. Devices such as laptops and tablets create, share, and store business data. Should a device become lost or a cybercriminal captures your proprietary data and sensitive information from these devices, your business will still be covered. Your endpoint program should offer real-time data backup on such endpoint devices to prevent the compromise of business-critical information and keep your organization moving full-steam ahead.

5. Secure File Sync and Share

In today’s global society, being able to work remotely, collaboratively, and securely from any device anywhere is a modern business necessity. With the proper software in place, your employees can securely collaborate from any location on any device including their smartphones and tablets. Such software allows you to recover documents employees may have accidentally deleted or that have been lost due to malicious activity.

6. Education and Awareness

One of the best steps you can take in protecting your business against ransomware or other digital threats is to educate and train your employees. With proper cybersecurity awareness training, you can turn your employees into your most important layer of defense. By empowering your employees with such training, they can become proactive in the fight against cyber threats to your business.

While such protection may seem overwhelming, it’s nothing when compared with the downtime, stress, and financial cost of dealing with a ransomware attack. For more information about ransomware, read about ransomware trends here: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ransomware-trends-2021.pdf

If you suspect that there has been fraudulent activity with your Needham Bank account(s), call us at 781-444-2100 as soon as possible.

To learn more about technology for your business and other scams to be aware of, read Ryan’s insights on ORAM Cybersecurity Advisors’ blog here: https://www.oramca.com/blog/.