As a business owner, your proverbial plate is constantly full. From dealing with supply chain issues, hiring and training new workers and making sure your customers are happy, your time is limited.
The last thing you need to contend with is a ransomware attack that will render your valuable computer equipment useless — and take up a lot of your time to try to remedy it. Fortunately, there are straightforward steps you can take that can help keep your network healthy and happy.
To learn more about how you can protect your company from ransomware attacks, let’s start by looking at what ransomware is and how the attacks can occur.
Ransomware Is Malicious Malware
Ransomware is a form of malware that is designed to encrypt files on a computer device. This will then make any files and systems on the device unusable. Then, to make the situation worse, criminal “actors” will then demand that you pay ransom in order for them to decrypt your computers.
As you might imagine, these ransomware incidents can severely impact a company and leave them without the data and computers they need to deliver services to their customers. Some business owners may feel compelled to pay the ransomware settlement so they can get their company back up and running.
How Does a Computer Become Infected?
Two of the most common ways that ransomware will infect a computer is through phishing e-mails that include malicious attachments, or by something called drive-by downloading.
As the UC Berkeley Information Security Office notes, drive-by downloading occurs when someone visits a website that they do not realize is infected with malware, and then the malware will download onto the computer. Another form is called crypto ransomware, which is spread through social media, especially via the instant messaging applications.
How to Protect Against Ransomware Attacks
A ransomware infection can be incredibly harmful to a company, and recovery can be a long and tedious process. This is why a proactive and preventive approach to ransomware is preferable. For instance, business owners should create and implement a data backup and recovery plan for all of the crucial company data. To lessen the impact of a ransomware attack, backups should be performed regularly.
In addition, all computers and software should be current with the newest patches and updates, as should any anti-virus software. Also, do not enable macros when opening an e-mail attachment; when this occurs, the embedded code will start the malware working on the computer.
To be sure employees do not accidentally open a phishing e-mail, remind everyone that they should never open a link or an attachment in any e-mail without running it past you first. For instance, if an e-mail has come in that looks like it may be from one of your vendors but the attachment looks suspicious, call the vendor to verify the message rather than opening anything.
Invest in a Ransomware Protection Plan
While it is wise to do whatever you can within your own company to help prevent ransomware attacks, busy company owners may also want to hire a cybersecurity specialist. Instead of buying cyber insurance, which may actually lead to having to pay ransomware settlements, purchasing a specialized anti-ransomware platform can be more effective.
For instance, Fortinet offers a platform called Fortinet Security Fabric that features a portfolio of more than 50 security and networking technologies. Knowing that your company’s cybersecurity is in the hands of professionals who are highly knowledgeable about this topic can be extremely reassuring.
Ransomware Attacks Are Not a “Given”
Ransomware attacks are immensely stressful and catastrophic events, but they are not a sure thing. By being aware of what this malware is and how it can infect your computers, and then taking tangible steps to avoid it, you can be sure you are doing everything you can to avoid these attacks.