Ever heard of ransomware? Isn’t it just another computer virus, and can’t your antivirus software just keep it out like the rest of them? If your business thinks ransomware is just another virus, or believes simple software programs will keep you safe from viruses and hackers, this blog is for you.
Let’s flashback to freshman English class – just for a moment. Many of the words in our language are combinations of prefixes, suffixes and compound words. Technology terms are no exception to this rule. Consider hardware, software and malware. The theme is evident; “ware” is in each word. The word hardware pays respect to older, non-digital technologies, i.e. construction tools. Think of software as a traditional instruction manual – it tells you how to use the hardware. Now, jump back to our current day and the difference is that digital technology allows our instruction manuals to do a lot of work for us. Malware, however, doesn’t pay homage to anything from the past. It’s root word “mal,” short for malicious, makes its context easily understood.
Malware is an umbrella term, which encompasses a variety of unsolicited software and computer viruses. Ransomware is one of, if not, the worst types of malware, and its intention is made known in its name. Ransomware takes your technology and data hostage, requiring you to pay for its release. In most cases, no amount of software will save your information once hackers capture it.
You don’t have to be a victim to ransomware, but planning and training are essential to maintaining your cyber-security.
Know the Enemy Behind Ransomware
First things first, hackers targeting your company with ransomware are out to make a quick buck. They use a variety of methods to seize your data, but the result is always the same. Once they have your information, they encrypt it, lock you out of it, inform you of what they have done, and then tell you the only way to unlock your data is to pay them.
Hacking communities have a code of honor, shocking as it sounds, and most keep their word and decrypt your data once they receive payment. Their scheming would fail if no one could trust them to follow through on their end of the deal. But they aren’t playing around either, as even older versions of ransomware are hard for security experts to crack.
You should never be OK buying back what you rightfully own.
Don’t give ransomware hackers the chance to hold your data hostage.
Be Prepared and Educated
Preparation starts with a business continuity plan. How will your business recover from a data loss incident caused by a virus like ransomware? The most efficient backup strategies leverage both local and cloud solutions to drive redundancy and instant up capabilities for an added level of protection. In the event of a malicious network-wide encryption, you would now be able to spin up virtual servers from your cloud backups and get back to business while your local network is being restored to its pre-ransomware state.
But for this to work, it requires regular backups and maintenance. If your backups aren’t up to date or missing current valuable data, then the hacker will still have caused you some trouble. Your company needs to be sure that its primary data source receives regular incremental backups to help avoid additional data loss. The only way to ensure your backups are ready for on-demand recovery is to have an IT professional frequently test them.
Backup planning is just one piece of the cyber-security puzzle. Even if you have enough backups for a lifetime, your productivity will diminish under the weight of having to restore data continually. 58% of data loss is attributed to human error because employees often don’t know how to identify possible viruses. Educating your users on the latest cyber-security trends and how to spot potential attacks is just as important as a backup solution because they are your first line of defense.
If your business is proactive and implements the right business continuity solution and educates your teams, you’ll never have to pay cyber criminals again. Doing these two things means that both you and your clients can rest assured that everyone’s data is secure.
Let Jabtech Be Your Watchdog
Antivirus software, while important, can only do so much. Your company needs a watchdog who can monitor your network 24/7, as ransomware will only continue to get worse. If you still underestimate ransomware and the footprint this virus is leaving, please take a look at this article.
As an experienced Managed Services Provider (MSP), Jabtech has the knowledge and tools to prevent malicious attacks from ever holding your network hostage. Give us a call when you’re ready to take your cyber-security to the next level and send those hackers packing.