iQuanti: Before the emergence of the internet, business owners feared shoplifters and robberies. But today's threats are much more insidious. With most companies relying on the internet to function, ransomware has become a serious concern.
A type of malware designed to make the files on a device unusable until a ransom is paid, ransomware is becoming more sophisticated as solutions to combat it evolve. According to reports, there were 304.7 million ransomware attacks globally in just the first half of 2021, a 151% increase from 2020.
That's why it's so crucial for business owners to be aware of what ransomware is capable of. As they say, know your enemy. Read on to learn more about the impact of ransomware attacks on business and how you can protect yourself from the fallout.
How ransomware disrupts business
Ransomware attacks are a scary thing to experience. What starts as an innocent act, like accidentally clicking on a phishing email, turns into a cybersecurity threat whose effects reverberate throughout your business.
These days, malicious actors focus on accessing sensitive company information. Generally, cyberattackers will start by doing their research to understand the organization's industry, finances, and how to exploit them best. Then, they'll deploy malware to company systems and backups, exfiltrating large amounts of data and issuing an ultimatum to pay up or face being locked out of your systems or having your proprietary information released on the dark web.
The consequences of not paying the ransom put the entire company at risk, and can:
- Harm your brand's reputation.
- Damage customer and employee trust.
- Expose valuable intellectual property and confidential information.
- Halt operations.
How to protect against ransomware
With the wide-reaching effects of ransomware attacks, it's no wonder that many leaders are worried about experiencing a disruptive event like this in the next year. These attacks have become so common that it's wiser to think of them as not an "if" but a "when." Being proactive about protecting your business against ransomware is a must in the modern world - more important than any alarm or security system. So how can you start planning for ransomware protection?
First, you'll want to implement a cybersecurity framework with patching, antivirus, identity/access management, and security awareness features to build defenses as sophisticated as the attackers that might be coming your way. Then, regularly monitor your networks and systems for suspicious activity and train your employees to be aware of cyber threats and phishing.
While it may take time to implement a comprehensive security system, focus your efforts on business-critical functions to limit the likelihood of a ransomware attack. Network segmentation and timely security patches can minimize an attack from a forest fire to a small flame.
Another crucial element to your ransomware protection plan should be a robust data backup and recovery strategy, with backups stored offline where hackers can't access them along with the rest of your systems.
A final important step that is easy to overlook is running ransomware drills to help your organization practice its disaster recovery plans. That way, the first time that you go through your response protocol won't be in the event of an actual crisis.
The bottom line
We get it: preparing for emergencies isn't the most alluring part of having a company, but it's just as important as any other critical business operation. Once you're able to properly understand the risks and implications of ransomware and prepare accordingly, you'll be able to increase the chances of weathering an attack with minimal damage.
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Original Source: The Total Cost of Ransomware on Businesses