Many businesses know that malware can lead to serious issues, such as causing a data breach, bringing down an entire network, and much more.
But many of these same businesses think of malware too generally. After all, malware is an umbrella term that applies to spyware, adware, viruses, and several other forms. All of these can be harmful, but ultimately they have different effects and risks.
Ransomware is one of the scariest strains of malware, especially for businesses. The “ransom” part is what separates it from other types. It locks your files and data, so your entire system is basically held hostage until you can pay the ransom.
No organization, no matter how large or small, is safe from a potential attack.
Just ask Arizona Beverages. The company was losing millions of dollars every day when their website was taken down by ransomware.
Or what about The Weather Channel when they were taken off air due to an attack?
Cities and towns are a popular target. In August of 2019, 23 towns in Texas were hit by a coordinated ransomware attack.
Now that you know what ransomware is, let’s get to the real question: How can you protect yourself against it?
Backup Your Data Frequently
One of the best ways to protect yourself is by being prepared.
So start by thinking through the worst-case scenario: Imagine one day you get a call from a coworker. He says your company just suffered a ransomware attack—files on the entire system are locked, nobody can access the data, and hackers want a payout of $75,000.
What would give you the confidence to handle this situation without paying the ransom and without ruining your business?
If you’re like most companies, you’d probably feel a lot better if you had offsite backups so you could simply restore your files and data. With a proper backup protocol, you’d have a snapshot of your system to rollback to if needed.
Invest in Endpoint Security Software
Any device that can connect to a network poses a threat to the entire system. That’s why a virus on a single employee’s computer can bring down an entire company’s server. And the hackers that build ransomware are always looking for weak spots like this.
That’s where endpoint protection like WebRoot comes in. This type of software offers cybersecurity across an entire network of computers, servers, and other devices. It’s a great line of defense in countering potential attacks.
Some small businesses try to cut corners by using free cybersecurity software instead of enterprise-level endpoint protection. Don’t be one of them. Free options are usually sufficient for home computers, tablets, and smartphones, but they lack the tools to keep an entire system safe.
Also, ransomware is constantly evolving and endpoint security offers a defense against many of the latest threats.
Educate Your Team
Many attacks start from a simple mistake, such as downloading a file or clicking a link.
Hackers are clever—they trick victims into injecting ransomware into a previously secure network. For example, maybe the ransomware will pose as a necessary system update that the user needs to install. Other times it appears to be a harmless email attachment from a colleague.
By offering training on how to spot potential threats, you can reduce the risk of being the victim of an attack in the first place. Many organizations even require every single employee to go through this type of training.