The most common cyber threat to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), ransomware is a malicious software that uses encryption to infect your system and lock up your data. Once infected, a victim’s computer will typically display messages indicating their valuable information will be held ransom until the demanded fee is paid. In short, cybercriminals use this crippling form of malware to extort money (often Bitcoin) from unsuspecting SMBs – amounting to an annual loss of roughly $80K on average.
Because ransomware is a question of “when” and not “if,” it’s essential to follow a few best practices if you hope to protect your business.
Here are our top 6 tips:
- Keep Your Antivirus Software Up to Date
Because your antivirus software contains the necessary (signature) files to fight the most recent forms of malware, it’s imperative to perform regular updates. Many antivirus programs also scan your operating system for security flaws and install patches in areas where your computer is most vulnerable.
- Have a Disaster Recovery Plan in Place
Part of a broader business continuity strategy, your disaster recovery plan should include a ransomware response - outlining the procedures that need to take place in the event of an attack. In your response, you’ll want to include protocols with a technical component (i.e. cleaning company computers, utilizing backups to reinstall information, etc.), as well as how you’ll respond to your customers, partners, suppliers and more.
- Keep Regular Backups
In the event of an attack, secure, up-to-date backups of business-critical data are a must if you hope to restore operations. Create a strategy that ensures your information is regularly backed up in a safe, yet accessible location. Hosted private cloud solutions are ideal as your data will remain secure regardless of network or device failure.
Check out our previous post: 6 Advantages of Cloud Computing For SMBs
- Train Your Staff
When it comes to cybersecurity, your employees are your first line of defence. Protect them and your business through clearly documented cybersecurity policies, protocols and training. Teach your staff how to recognize and handle a potential threat, encourage them to use strong passwords, keep their software up to date, back up their information, etc.
- Install an Email Filter
In addition to training your staff to recognize suspicious emails, employ an email filtering/ anti-spam software. This will prevent unwanted and malicious emails from reaching your inbox, thereby significantly decreasing your chances of a ransomware (or other malware) attack.
- Team Up With the Experts
One of the easiest and most affordable ways to protect your business from ransomware (and other security threats) is to enlist the help of a reputable Managed I.T. Services provider. Not only will they keep your business safe and secure 24/7/365, but they will also work with you to come up with a custom-tailored, proactive IT strategy - guaranteed to help you meet your unique business goals and keep you up and running at the same time.
- The Top 4 Most Common Cyberattacks to Threaten SMBs
- SMBs: Common Malware Attacks and How to Avoid Them