Ransomware Attacks: How To Prevent It and Safeguard Your Business

By 07/30/2021 August 10th, 2021 Data Protection, Security

It would be ill-advised to say that there is a 100 percent sure-fire way to prevent a ransomware attack on your business network, even with the best cybersecurity. However, proactively strengthening your cybersecurity policies and strategies will reduce the chances of a breach significantly. Working with IT experts gives you an even greater edge at blocking cyberattacks or minimizing their effects. Here’s a deeper look at how you can maximize your resources to guard against ransomware attacks, which have been increasing in recent years.

Starting with Proactive IT Support

Strong cybersecurity begins with awareness of cybercrime. Business owners typically don’t have time to follow to investigate less-publicized cybersecurity threats. Many people hear about just the biggest breaches, such as the 2021 Colonial Pipeline hack.

A strong way to guard against a ransomware attack is for your IT support team to take proactive measures by identifying system vulnerabilities. Conducting a system audit will set this process in motion. From there you can consider options for solutions that make sense for your infrastructure. Updating software regularly helps avoid security flaws that hackers discover until patches correct the problems.

Backing up data on a regular basis is another proactive measure that minimizes a ransomware breach that locks up data. By having backups in other places outside your main server, you never have to respond to ransomware demands about accessing your data. The attacker may choose to destroy the frozen data if you refuse to pay the ransom, but at least you won’t have to rebuild your data from scratch.

Building a More Secure Infrastructure

As businesses continue to transform into more digital operations, it’s important to rethink your infrastructure to make it more flexible and capable of integrating with new technology. You don’t necessarily have to tear down your existing network and start building a brand new one based on the latest tech trends. But with help from your IT team, you can plan ahead for upgrading your infrastructure so that it easily facilitates modern solutions.

Not only does the rise in cybercrime require better network monitoring and threat detection, it means you have to assess risks involving privacy, government compliance and asset protection. Here are some of the important ways your IT team can improve your infrastructure:

  • Architecture Planning and Upgrading – In the future IoT devices will become more widespread across multiple industries. AI and automation will also be more common. Each of these technologies are becoming more embedded in cloud-based ecosystems. That means investing in hardware that facilitates new software.
  • Develop a Data Backup and Recovery Plan – Backing up your critical data on a routine basis is one of the best ways to ensure ransomware attackers cannot control your data. Switching to a backup server is necessary sometimes to do maintenance on the main server or to respond to an attack. Working with a cloud provider with virtual solutions is an excellent safety net.
  • Going More Digital in the Cloud – There’s no question that moving to the cloud allows your business to track more digital processes and build intelligence from a wider base of sources. The cloud allows for remote access and collaboration, which requires more network monitoring. The more secure processes you run in the cloud, the more your company can increase productivity.
  • Maintain Local Hardware – Working with an IT firm in your local market helps connect you with support technicians who are familiar with your infrastructure. It’s important to move away from legacy hardware when you can to reduce vulnerabilities. Hackers target old systems the same way burglars target homes with broken windows.
  • Fixing Problems Quickly – You relieve stress in the workplace when you provide a 24/7 help desk that responds to technical issues or answers questions. The more you focus on providing a smooth seamless experience for customers and workers, the more you’ll understand why you can’t let glitches pile up.

 

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Planning Ahead to Maintain Business Continuity

You can mitigate the impacts of disasters that businesses face through their evolution by developing backup plans for emergencies. You never know when something beyond your control can disrupt your business, such as a utility company power outage. If you don’t have a backup plan in place, your business survival may cling to a fragile system that eventually falls apart.

But if you develop easy-to-follow backup plans, business continuity resumes and damage is minimized. One of the most important questions to answer is: what happens when a power outage or cyber attack shuts down your network? The most sensible plan is to maintain backup digital twin servers outside your business location, ideally through a secure cloud architecture.

To ensure you always have backups to your files, your IT team can implement scheduled backups for you. They can also test files to make sure they aren’t corrupted in the transfer. While an in-house IT team might skip essential steps due to how boring and redundant backup tasks can be, a professional IT team that builds its reputation on quality makes sure the entire process is done properly.

 

Related: What is a Business Continuity Plan? 

 

Understanding What Ransomware Attackers Prey Upon

Ransomware attackers target companies that rely on old equipment, use minimal data protection and neglect cybersecurity training. The phishing schemes they use to penetrate networks rely on unsuspecting employees responding to an “urgent” email that instructs them to click a link. Many times the attacker first establishes a friendly relationship with the victim to build trust. This process is known as “social engineering.”

Instead of relying on hacker software, the hacker relies on tricking an employee through email. Phishing schemes are built on statistics that suggest a high percentage of breaches are due to employee error. If an employee isn’t trained to watch out for suspicious emails, they may be easily persuaded by what seems to be a friend to click a link that unloads malware. The computer screen then freezes up and the victim is locked out of their account until they pay a stated ransom amount in cryptocurrency.

While some reports indicate that employee error accounts for a third of breaches in the United States, it’s as much as 60 percent of breaches among UK businesses.

The key to reducing chances of a ransomware attack is to make employees aware phishing schemes exist and to resist clicking anything that contradicts the company’s cybersecurity policy. This policy should be communicated to all employees who use the company’s network to access files and applications. A cybersecurity policy can mandate which sites are blacklisted and how employees are expected to use its digital resources.

 

Keeping Up To Date With BACS IT Consulting Group 

Keeping up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity technology and methods is helpful in staying a step ahead of cybercriminals; you can do that by following our newsletter here. Still, maybe you don’t have time to keep up with the various cyberthreats and solutions, but you can outsource to IT experts, like BACS who work with businesses every day just like yours. We have the expertise to analyze the weaknesses and fill in the gaps in your IT infrastructure, ensuring your systems, data and the data of your client’s is secure. It’s important to remember that while a big part of blocking hackers and schemers involves modern technology, safe data-sharing also depends on the actions of your IT team and workforce. Working with a dedicated team of IT professionals gives you the peace of mind that you deserve that your business is in good hands. 

Remember, hackers are looking for systems that are easy to penetrate, so don’t give them one. Use strong cybersecurity measures as a form of risk management.  Contact BACS for more information on improving your IT experience.

 

 

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