Ransomware can kill your business. Protect it today.

by | Jun 30, 2016 | Security

Know how to protect your business from ransomware.

Ransomware is a major threat to individuals and businesses alike. Simply put, it’s a type of malware that holds your data hostage until a demand is met. This particular type of malware is quite lucrative for cybercrimals, which is why it is running rampant.

Organizations of all types and sizes have been impacted, but small businesses can be particularly vulnerable to attacks. In a recent study conducted by security software vendor McAfee Labs, researchers identified more than 4 million samples of ransomware in Q2 of 2015, including 1.2 million new samples. That compares with fewer than 1.5 million total samples in Q3 of 2013 (400,000 new). It’s distributed in a variety of ways and is difficult to protect against because, just like the flu virus, it is constantly evolving.

That said, there are ways to protect your business against ransomware attacks:

1. Education:

Education is essential to protect your business against any malware. It’s critical that your staff understands what ransomware is and its threats. Provide your team with specific examples of suspicious emails with clear instructions on what to do if they encounter a potential ransomware lure (i.e. don’t open attachments, if you see something, say something, etc.).

Conduct bi-annual formal training to inform staff about the risk of ransomware and other cyber threats. When new employees join the team, make sure you send them an email to bring them up to date about cyber best practices. It’s important to ensure the message is communicated clearly to everyone in the organization, not passed around on a word-of-mouth basis. Lastly,keep staff updated as new ransomware enters the market or changes over time.

2. Security:

Antivirus software should be considered essential for any business to protect against malware and other risks. Ensure your security software is up to date, as well, in order to protect against newly identified threats. Keep all business applications patched and updated in order to minimize vulnerabilities.

Some antivirus software products offer ransomware-specific functionality. Sophos, for example, offers technology that monitors systems to detect malicious activities such as file extension or registry changes. If ransomware is detected, the software has the ability to block it and alert users.

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However, because the malware is constantly evolving, even the best security software can be breached. This is why a secondary layer of defense is critical for businesses to ensure recovery incase malware strikes:backup.

3. Backup:

Modern total data protection solutions, like Datto, take snapshot-based, incremental backups as frequently as every five minutes to create a series of recovery points. If your business suffers a ransomware attack, this technology allows you to roll-back your data to a point-in-time before the corruption occurred. When it comes to ransomware, the benefit of this is two-fold. First, you don’t need to pay the ransom to get your data back. Second, since you are restoring to a point-in-time before the ransomware infected your systems, you can be certain everything is clean and the malware can not be triggered again.

Additionally, some data protection products today allow users to run applications from image-based backups of virtual machines. This capability is commonly referred to as “recovery-in-place” or “instant recovery.” This technology can be useful for recovering from a ransomware attack as well, because it allows you to continue operations while your primary systems are being restored and with little to no downtime. Datto’s version of this business-saving technology is called Instant Virtualization, which virtualizes systems either locally or remotely in a secure cloud within seconds. This solution ensures businesses stay up-and-running when disaster strikes.

For more information on protecting your business from ransomware, contact us today.

Tracy Rock is the Director of Marketing at Invenio IT. Tracy is responsible for all media-related initiatives as well as external communications—including, branding, public relations, promotions, advertising and social media. She is one busy lady and we are lucky to have her!