Written by: Kevin Gardner
Ransomware is called that because it holds your most important files for ransom. It is a very serious threat to your business. Once the program is installed on a computer, the creators of the virus will demand a set amount of money to release your files back to you. This can be an exorbitant amount, depending on how big your company is or how valuable your work may be to competitors. Trying to contain and prevent attacks can take the full-time effort of an entire team of employees, depending on the size of your business. Luckily, there are several steps that you and your employees can take to help prevent ransomware attacks from succeeding. Here are five tips to help get you started.
1. Install Anti-Malware Software
The first line of protection for your business should be good anti-malware software. This is a program that helps detect malware in your computer systems. There are many options out there, including ones sized for any budget. You'll want one that is fully featured and can handle the monitoring workload that your business will require of it. Be sure to do your research to find the one that best fits your needs for ransomware containment.
2. Keep Systems Up-To-Date
A second step that you can take to help protect yourself against ransomware is to keep all of your computer operating systems and browsers up-to-date with the latest security patches. The developers of each OS or browser will likely put out regular updates to keep their systems running well, and those updates may include security features to keep malware out. Installing these updates promptly and checking for new ones regularly can add a boost of protection to your other security measures.
3. Use Monitoring Apps
If your employees spend a lot of time online, and that's the case for most modern businesses, you may want to consider using monitoring apps to prevent accidental vulnerabilities to malware. These apps check website addresses and certifications and can alert your employees if something seems suspicious. If your work needs to be kept very secure, you may also be able to use the monitoring apps to restrict which websites your employees can visit while using company equipment.
4. Back-Up Files Frequently
One way to thwart attackers is to have a back-up of your files in an offsite location that isn't connected to your main system. This may mean backing up files to external hard drives and storing them in safe deposit boxes, or using a cloud service that is separate from your main storage service. Back up the files that your business needs to operate to this location regularly- this can be as frequently as every night if your business moves fast. That way, even if attackers seize your main files, you and your employees can continue your work.
5. Train All Users
A final step for helping protect your business from malware attacks is to train your entire employee team and to retrain them regularly. This training should include ways to recognize common attack methods (such as email phishing, spoof calls, or false websites), how to avoid getting scammed, and the importance of not circumventing the existing cybersecurity features that your company is using. Retraining employees at least annually can help ensure that everyone is up to date on the newest defense methods.
Protecting your business from ransomware isn't just the responsibility of your IT department. It requires every employee to do their part. Start with free and easy options, like installing security updates promptly on computers. Then, add to your protection with anti-malware software and monitoring apps. Nullify the ransom demands of attackers by having your files backed up regularly to an off-site location. Finally, remember that the best way to prevent malware from even accessing your system is to train each and every employee. Once you have these security measures in place, you can allow business to continue as usual with a much lower risk.