Ransomware is a real and serious threat your business is facing. If you do not feel you are big enough to be a target, think again. Small businesses often do not have the IT infrastructure to defend against sophisticated and coordinated attack vectors. Hackers know it, giving cybersecurity preparation that much more importance.
Bad actors, with the same level of passion and focus you may have in running your own business, are working daily to find a way into your IT systems. Ransomware leverages weaknesses inherent in not only IT systems, but also uses the manipulation of your own people to capitalize on your data and reputation. How can you prepare your business against the real threat it poses?
Here are three key takeaways to help your business be in the best position to prevent or recover from an attack.
1. Train your employees in the basics of IT security and Cybersecurity Preparation
Do not rely solely on third-party vendors or systems. Most security breaches are due to the actions taken by internal employees. There are IT vendors who can provide training and resources to arm your most important resource — your people — with the skills and knowledge they need to prevent a breach from ever occurring. Do not make the mistake of assuming an IT vendor is somehow going to prevent one of your employees from opening a file or clicking on a link that ends up exploiting a vulnerability in your system.
2. For Cybersecurity Preparation, Employ modern and updated security protocols
If your equipment is old or has not recently been updated, chances are it is vulnerable to an attack. Use the following tools or speak with an IT partner on implementing them for your company:
- Managed network equipment
- Malware protection
- Spam filters (for email)
- Patch management (for operating systems and software)
- Do not share passwords, and change your passwords from time to time
- Disable old accounts
- Use two-factor authentication everywhere
- Understand that cloud systems have the same vulnerabilities as on-prem hardware
- Purchase a cyber insurance policy
Talk with a trusted partner if you do not understand some of these terms or technologies. Technology changes rapidly and you need to be using modern technologies to defend yourself against modern threats. Cybersecurity can at times feel intrusive, but the steps you take today could save your company tomorrow.
3. Take backups
When security controls fail, you need to have data backups at the ready to restore your systems and data. Do not make the mistake of simply assuming your backups work either — make sure you test them from time to time. Keep a copy of your backups off-site or on another platform. Hackers in a ransomware attack will make every effort to encrypt or delete your backups, leaving you with limited options.
Taking ownership and realizing that governance cannot be delegated is critical in understanding what steps you need to take to protect your valuable assets against potential losses. Keep in mind that in-house or remote IT resources are going to be busy with the day-to-day maintenance and upkeep of your network. Schedule time with your IT partner to discuss your concerns and be open to establishing new policies and processes to ensure your IT system will serve you for years into the future.