How To Protect Your Organization Against Ransomware Attacks

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship Startup Advice / January 26, 2022
Ransomware works by an infected file or downloaded application locking you out of your data. Here's what you and your employees need to know.

It’s an unfortunate part of living in these times that ransomware attacks are happening every day to every kind of organization.

Businesses, government agencies, hospitals, charities, and individuals have all found themselves targets and victims. Protecting your organization against such attacks should be one of your top priorities.

As the name would suggest, ransomware helps a criminal block off access to your data. They will not release it until you give them a certain amount of money. It works by having an infected file or downloaded application encrypt the data. The attackers then demand a ransom in exchange for the key to decrypt it.

Even for organizations with a lot of resources, ransomware attacks can be devastating.

Yes, staying secure means that you will incur costs. However, doing nothing isn’t wise, either. The potential downside is huge, especially if your company offers health facilities and emergency services. Here are some tips to help protect your organization against ransomware attacks.

Making Sure You Have Policies in Place

The first thing you need to do is have everyone aware of the risk and put policies in place to help protect yourself.

Your IT department and your employees need to know exactly what to do in the event of a ransomware attack. You should have a policy for when suspicious emails show up in someone’s inbox and a list of people to contact if an attack is successful.

Your staff should know their role in protecting your network when they sit down with a device and log in.

Password Security

Movies and television make “hacking” look like a very sophisticated process. However, most successful ransomware attacks are simply the result of a hacker getting access to someone’s password.

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There are many ways that they can achieve this. The key is to have everyone on your network and using your applications have a strong password.

However, the more complex a password is, the harder it can be for some people to remember and keep track. Using an enterprise security platform will allow your staff to have complex passwords that cannot be compromised.

Your IT team will also be able to manage employee passwords better and keep track of how they use them.

Email Safety

Along with compromised passwords, ransomware attacks also take the form of emails.

Someone will send a bulk email with an infected file hoping that the receivers will open them. Then the offending ransomware downloads automatically onto the device and the damage is done. You and your employees need to be diligent when it comes to identifying and discarding suspicious emails.

Some of the best tips include making sure that you know and trust the sender. If you are unsure, see if you can find an alternate contact for the identified email address and contact them in another way.

Everyone should also have their spam filters set at the strongest level, and they can periodically check to see if something legitimate has gotten through. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Frequent Data Backups

Having backed up data available is always the best option when you’ve been the victim of a ransomware attack.

In fact, you may be able to move on without losing much time or productivity. However, you must be careful with your backups. You can choose a secure and encrypted cloud storage option, for instance.

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Some organizations choose to back things up to local physical hard drives on a network the ransomware can access. It’s always best to store that data offsite somewhere. That way, you won’t lose everything if there’s a fire or a theft.

While you may lose some data between your more recent backups and the attack, you will still be in a very good position to weather the storm.

Keeping Systems and Software Up to Date

You might realize that keeping your software, applications, and operating systems up to date is crucially important.

Never delay an update when you get the alert to do so. Many updates contain security patches that will cover up potential weaknesses that criminals will try to exploit.

It’s always a good idea to have your software set so that they will update automatically when there is one available.

Training and Awareness

Your entire team should be aware of the threat that ransomware poses.

It’s one thing to tell them about malicious emails and password security, but it’s better to provide formal training. Employees should get this training when they are hired, and then on a regular basis thereafter to provide updates and information on new threats.

Your employees must know what to do if they suspect an attack and also if they realize that they have been victims. They must undergo regular security awareness training to ensure they are well-prepared to identify and respond appropriately to potential security threats, both in case they suspect an attack and if they discover that they have become victims.

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Never take your security for granted. Ransomware can be devastating for any organization. The financial, productivity, and personal cost can be immense. However, you can take a few steps to ensure that your organization is protected. You don’t have to become a victim of cybercrime.

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