Business owners know only too well how important it is to commit to strong IT security, and most already know about issues such as viruses and trojans. However, there's a new type of malicious software making its presence known that you might not have heard about: ransomware. If you want to protect your business's data and avoid downtime, you need to learn what ransomware is and what steps you should take to avoid falling victim.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malicious program that infiltrates a computer network and then locks you out of your data. When you try to access any part of your system, you'll receive a message telling you your data has been locked. To unlock it, you will be required to visit a certain web address and pay a certain fee. Living up to its name, ransomware essentially holds your data to ransom.
And don't think it hasn't been effective. One South Korean company was forced to spend the equivalent of $1 million USD to retrieve their data after being hit by a ransomware attack.
How Can You Prevent Ransomware?
Businesses large and small can be attacked with ransomware. Even if you don't end up having to pay for your data to be unlocked, an attack will still result in significant downtime. As such, you'll want to take the following steps to prevent attacks happening in the first place:
- Arrange Security Awareness Training: Ransomware creators are using increasingly sophisticated ways to trick people into allowing their software into protected systems, which means your staff is largely responsible for keeping you protected. Arrange awareness training to fill them in on how to spot malicious sites and emails.
- Perform Regular Updates: Malicious programs, including ransomware, can be installed more easily when you're using an outdated operating system, firewall or anti-virus program. Make sure all system updates are conducted on time.
- Back Up Your Data: By creating a back-up of your business's data, you'll minimise the potential problems created by a ransomware attack. Ransomware creators often target companies without signs of strong data back-up practices for just this reason; they'll be more likely to pay. Migrating to the cloud is one of the best ways to ensure your data is automatically backed up.
Performing all these updates and making sure data is protected can be tricky if you aren't computer savvy yourself, so you might want to outsource IT support to make sure you never fall behind and become vulnerable. Contact a company that offers IT support services to learn more.