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Ransomware: How to Safeguard Your Business Easily, Successfully, and Effectively

How to Protect Your Organization From Ransomware

Learn why you need to protect your business from ransomware attacks. Look at essential tips to minimize the threat. Get help with cybersecurity in San Francisco.  

Ransomware attacks are on the rise. At the end of 2019, the average ransom was over $190,000, and some governments and businesses faced ransoms into the millions of dollars. This is a severe threat to companies and organizations of all sizes, and you need to be prepared.

What Is Ransomware?

A type of malware, ransomware encrypts your files so that you can not access them. Generally, you find out that you've been infected when you turn on your computer or try to access your files. Rather than seeing your regular screen, you see a note blocking access to your data and demanding a ransom.

At this point, you have two options: you can try to remove the ransomware or you can pay the ransom. Theoretically, once you pay the ransom, the cyberthief sends you a code, and you can regain access to your files. Surprisingly, the majority of victims recover access after paying the ransom. Still, in some cases, the thieves don't play nice and they refuse to return access even if you pay the ransom.

The Importance of Protecting Your Business From Ransomware

Ransomware can be debilitating. If you can't get access to your files, your business may come to a screeching halt. Your employees may not be able to perform their jobs, you may not be able to provide services to your customers, or you may face other productivity issues. On top of that, once a cybercriminal gets into your files, your data is severely compromised.

As explained above, these thieves generally unencrypt your files once you pay the ransom. But they may sell the information on the dark web, use the data for identity theft, or utilize your files for other malicious purposes. All of those issues can add to the total cost of a ransomware attack.

A ransomware attack can hurt your organization's reputation, especially if the attack targets client information. If your clients do not feel like their information is safe with you, they may give you bad reviews or turn to the competition.

How to Protect Your Business From Ransomware

Luckily, there are a lot of strategies you can use to protect your business from a ransomware attack. Check out these essential cybersecurity tips:

  1. Educate your employees about the risks. A lot of malware sneaks into businesses through unaware employees or due to employees not practicing cybersecurity essentials.
  2. Hold regular training sessions or give your employees lists of tips and best practices to prevent a ransomware attack.
  3. Do not open any attachments or files from unknown senders. They can contain ransomware.
  4. Keep in mind that a lot of cyberthieves send messages that pretend to be from people you know. Don't open attachments you weren't expecting.
  5. Invest in quality cybersecurity tools such as antivirus software, anti-malware software, DNS filtering, professional grade firewalls, and more.
  6. Regularly patch issues in operating systems and software to reduce vulnerabilities, and consider looking into automatic patching.
  7. Limit access to sensitive files to key employees. Unlimited data access to everyone in your organization presents an unnecessary risk.
  8. Implement Software Restriction Policies (SRP) or similar efforts to prevent your programs from executing from common ransomware locations.
  9. Use application whitelisting or other techniques that only allow your network to execute programs that are known and approved by your team. Then, even if someone tries to open a malicious file, this safeguard will prevent its execution.
  10. Backup all your files on site and in the cloud every day. Then, at least if you lose access, you still have the information you need.
  11. Work with an IT services company that can help guide your cybersecurity policy and execute the most effective strategies and tools to keep your business as safe as possible.

At On Time Tech, we work with businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay area and beyond. Our managed IT services and cybersecurity efforts can help to protect your business from ransomware and other threats. To learn more, contact us today.

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