5 Steps to Prevent Ransomware Attacks At Your Company

Ransomware is a classification of viruses that allow hackers to control entry to sensitive data and then hold it hostage by preventing the owner from accessing it until they have paid the “ransom.”  For good reason, this type of virus has dominated the media in recent memory with major attacks WannaCry and Cryptolocker, which targeted hospitals and other havens of critical information.

Here are the most important steps you need to take immediately to ensure your business’ data is protected from malevolent hackers.

1. Run A Security Audit

A security audit will tell you exactly where your network is vulnerable to ransomware and other attacks. Our process starts with a technician coming directly to your business where they will plug in to your network and run security scanning software that ties into a constantly updating database of known exploits. We then provide a final report that details security issues on your network.

The goal of the security audit is to determine the most pressing issues facing your network security and come up with a game plan to prioritize fixing the vulnerabilities with a lasting solution. Once you know how a hacker could break into your company data, you are better equipped to keep them at bay. To learn more about our security audit process, please contact us.

2. Upgrade Your Security Software

Updating your security software isn’t as simple as getting the latest iteration of Norton Antivirus. You must also focus your attention on updating other existing platforms that you and your staff use. Things like email servers, operating systems, and even desktop programs can provide an open door to savvy hackers looking to get inside your network.

As an outcome from every security audit, you will be provided with a detailed list of outdated software and programs that should be updated to prevent ransomware attacks at your company.

3. Be Diligent About Using Your Firewall

A shocking amount of companies think implementing a run-of-the-mill firewall is all they need to do to prevent unauthorized system access. In reality, this equates to a security guard checking IDs at the door of a night club. They can see who is coming and going, but fake IDs can easily slip in and wreak havoc.

The real difference maker is what is called Unified Threat Management (UTM). UTM systems go beyond the basic firewall and introduce an all-inclusive security solution. Network intrusion detection, content filtering, data loss prevention and other additional functions are included with even the most basic UTM system.

Network intrusion detection is one of the biggest benefits of UTM. This feature protects your network against things like password hacking, brute force attacks, buffer overflows, and remote injection — all valuable assets to a hacker’s toolbox.

To sum this up, UTM systems essentially determine what threatening traffic looks like and constantly update their own framework to prevent this evolving traffic from entering your network. This is all done in real time so your network is never left vulnerable to attacks defined by your UTM system.

Want to learn more about the dangers of an outdated firewall? Read on here.

4. Ensure You Have Backups to All of Your Files

In this day and age, it is almost unfathomable that over 50% of small businesses have a backup system that doesn’t actually work. Sadly, it’s the truth. This means that over 50% of small businesses could lose access to all of their data in mere minutes if hit with a ransomware attack.

Issues for these businesses range from backup systems that simply aren’t running to backup systems that are completely misconfigured and not covering the right data. The only true way to ensure all of your data is fully backed up is by using offsite backups that are under strict monitoring.

Unfortunately, even “fully backed up” data is no guarantee that you will be protected from a ransomware attack, but it does ensure that in the event of a hack you will still be able to access your information.

To get an offsite solution, we recommend using monitored, automated cloud storage. This will allow your data to be constantly backed up as it is created so you never have to waste time or risk missing files by manually backing up your information. Learn more about how cloud services can help you protect your data.

5. Employee Education

For as many technology-based solutions for preventing ransomware attacks at your company there are, it is just as important to maintain a vigilant staff that knows how to detect threats. Here are some actionable items that you can teach your team:

  • Always verify the source of unfamiliar emails
  • Never open attachments from suspicious email addresses
  • Never click spammy looking advertisements
  • Never share sensitive information with unverified sources before checking with your supervisor
  • If something sounds fishy, it probably is
  • Don’t believe everything you see — hackers are good at convincing potential victims. Don’t fall for their traps!
  • When in doubt, consult an IT professional

Only You Can Prevent Ransomware Attacks!

Ransomware is a constant threat and can strike at any time. It’s time to make sure your network is protected. Contact us for a security audit to defend your business’ and customers’ data.