Can Florida Businsssess protect their networks from Ransomware?
If you are concerned about your business’s cybersecurity readiness, you should. You should consider contacting an IT consulting firm and request an IT Security assessment. Cybercriminals are targeting more small businesses than ever. The reason why small businesses are such a target is that the bad guys assume that small companies do not take sufficient steps to protect their networks, and they are right in most cases.
In this article, we will show you five simple, actionable strategies that have been proven to be efficient against Ransomware. By applying the strategies in this article, you will improve your business security today.
Florida has seen its share of ransomware attacks recently. Some of the ransomware attacks have impacted local government agencies and cities. Ransomware is a real threat, so let’s go over some options you can implement to protect your business today.
Let dive in!
Ransomware is a very destructive attack. Unlike viruses or malware attacks, once your network is infected with Ransomware, you are left with minimal options to fight back. The name Ransomware is very revealing as it describes the nature of this type of attack.
What is Ransomware and how does it work?
A ransomware attack aims at encrypting your computer files so that you can’t access them anymore. Once a cybercriminal encrypts your computer data, it does matter if you own Microsoft; only the person with the decryption key, the hacker, will be able to open and read those files.
What makes Ransomware attacks so destructive are left with two options, wiping out their networks or paying high ransoms using untraceable payment methods. Yet, there is no guarantee that you will get the decryption key to reaccess your files.
How can I recover from a ransomware attack?
Thankfully there are strategies you can implement in your business to reduce your exposure to cyber-attacks such as Ransomware. Recovering from a ransomware attack is a daunting task and one that comes with my hurtles.
Realistically, the only way to recover from a ransomware attack is to restore your data from backups. Once ransomware encrypts your data there are very little changes in accessing those files again.
New companies are coming to marketing, offering decryption services to victims of Ransomware attacks, but some of these services are extremely expensive and not always successful.
Follow these simple steps to protect your IT systems from Ransomware or decrease your susceptibility to cyber-attacks.
1) Implement Fundamental Cybersecurity Best Practices
Fundamental Cybersecurity best practices are easy to implement, and your business should implement these practices asap.
Strong password policies – Include a password rotation guideline and try not to use personal passwords for business accounts
Password Complexity practices – A complex password is one of 8 characters or more and includes both capital and lower-case letters, symbols and numbers
Changing password regularly or at least every 60 days
Setting up two-factor authentication on everything you can. This includes Gmail accounts, Facebook, Bank Accounts Office 365, and other online accounts.
Turn off your computer when possible.
Keep your computer up-to-date with Managed Services and Updates.
We recently published a new article on how to write an IT Policy for your business. IT policies are fundamental to any business cybersecurity plans.
2) Implement Cybersecurity Training For Staff Members
The majority of successful cyber attacks are due to user mistakes. We would never blame users for opening hacker emails. After all, these criminals are making their attack emails, so competent even experts can’t identify a fake email without using IT Tools.
However, it is essential to point out that the lack of user training and phishing attack awareness is creating a problem for small businesses. More small businesses are falling victim to ransomware attacks due to employees opening phishing emails and allowing Ransomware to enter their business IT network.
How can you protect your network from user errors?
The goal is to have multiple “layers” of security in place as safety nets, so if a user does open a malicious file or email, your endpoint or firewall will stop the chain of events from following that initial “click.”
Employee training is an essential part of your cybersecurity protection plan. According to Kaspesky Labs, employees are hugely putting businesses at risk by irresponsible computer usage and lack of training.
3) Update Your Software and Computer Operating System ( Windows or Mac!)
Software Developers regularly release software updates to fix system vulnerabilities that can lead to malware and ransomware attacks. Many business owners don’t apply these updates because they don’t take the time to update their software programs or are entirely unaware of update procedures.
Updates are the first line of defense for your computer network, and software needs to be kept current. If you are not updating your business computer software, you are leaving your business exposed to vulnerabilities and exploits. Software developers are continually working on improving their software but also on fixing software vulnerabilities.
4) Use Endpoint and Firewall Security
Every computer in your business is a potential target for a ransomware attack; therefore, every computer must have and Endpoint Protection software installed. Endpoint software is an evolved version of the much older antivirus solutions we all used to install in our computers.
Next-generation Endpoint software combines multiple layers of security into a single software package making Endpoint software more effective at protecting your computers.
If one of your employees happens to open a malware email or a virus-infected file, your computer endpoint can stop the infection from infecting all computers in your network.
Combining a robust firewall with endpoint protection software should be your ultimate goal as a business owner. These two technologies can work together to bring your business the ultimate protection shield against Ransomware.
Firewalls scan all traffic coming in and out of your business network. If bad traffic tries to enter your network, your firewall will stop it. Depending on your firewall type and configuration, it can also prevent malicious ransomware emails from making it into your inbox.
A good firewall can also integrate with your Endpoint software and isolate infected computers from the rest of your network.
5) Implement a good Backup Solution – Backup All Your Files Regularly
Every business needs to have a good backup and reliable disaster recovery plan in place.
The FBI recommends not paying the ransom if a ransomware attack hits you. Paying the ransom can expose you to further attacks, plus there are no guarantees that you will get your files back.
The worst-case scenario is that all your security fails, and you have no choice but to wipe all your computers clean and rebuild your business network from scratch.
Unfetunrly, the worst-case scenario happens very often, which is why your business must have an adequate backup solution in place.
Your backup solution should include an offsite or cloud backup option, and we wrote an article evaluation of the best online backup solutions in the market today.
Having to rebuild your business network is not as horrible if you have a good back up solution.
Fighting Ransomware can be a very complicated matter, and you should work with an IT cyber expert. Corporate Shields has been protecting businesses for over 10 years.
If you have any questions or would like more information about our cybersecurity services and product, feel free to send us a note using the form below.
Patricia is an accomplished Cyber Security Expert with years of experience in IT Business Security and Business Networks. Patricia has helped hundreds of businesses during her career and has established herself as a leading Consultant for many small and large organizations.