In 2021, ransomware cost organizations across the globe a momentous $20 billion and that number is expected to soar to $265 billion by 2031. This form of malware can harm organizations of all sizes, across sectors. Preparation, defense and mitigation strategies are vital.

So, to help you protect against the ransomware threat, we’ve created this handy guide.

Let’s dive in!

What Is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of malware that causes damage by hindering you and your employees from accessing your devices and the data stored on them. Depending on the exact variant of ransomware - there are many - you may be locked out of your device or the data on your device may be rendered inaccessible.

Ransomware spreads just like a virus. If one device is infected on a corporate network, this sneaky attack will spread to other computers and mobiles, meaning a whole organization could effectively be brought to a standstill.

Locking you out of your data and computers is just the start of a ransomware assault. Then, you’ll typically receive a pop-up message that instructs you to contact the criminal responsible via email or follow instructions on a web page in order to pay to release your files or device. Attackers usually ask for payment in cryptocurrency, as this is harder to trace than dollars and other currencies.

Should you pay the ransom?

In the heat of a ransomware attack, it can be tempting to think paying to release your resources is the best way forward. We suggest you think again. Officially, law enforcement does not condone giving into ransom demands. It’s not that anyone wants you to lose your data. It’s just that paying doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get your files back. We’re dealing with criminals after all!

In fact, it’s been known for attackers to double extort their victims. Asking for one payment to release their files, and then another in exchange for not leaking the files publicly.

It’s also thought that organizations which pay the ransom are more likely to be targeted in the future, as attackers will know they are likely to comply with their demands.

Protecting Your Company From Ransomware

Obviously, no one wants to get to the point where they’re debating whether or not they should pay the ransom. Preventative measures are a much better option.

Ransomware is a complex threat, though. There’s no silver bullet method of protection. Instead, you need to take a multi-level approach, using different tactics and mitigation methods for holistic protection.

It’s helpful to think of a ransomware attack like a journey with several steps. You should put in place defenses and detection mechanisms at every step for the best protection.

Here’s how to do it.

Back up Your Data

Up-to-date backups are, without a doubt, the most important aspect of ransomware recovery. The more up-to-date your backups are, the less it will matter if some of your data is held hostage.

We advise:

  • Putting in an automated process to regularly back up your most sensitive, important data.
  • Regularly test your backup solution to ensure it is working efficiently and as expected
  • Create offline backups, which you keep in an offsite location that’s detached from your network. Cloud services are perfect for this.

Stop Malware In Its Tracks

What if your employees become a ransomware target? There’s a few things you can do to prevent malware from getting onto corporate devices. Our wizards can help you with:

  • Implementing a mail filtering solution that ensures only legitimate, safe file types reach your employees' inboxes
  • Introducing intercepting proxies and internet security gateways, which work by analyzing content to check it doesn’t contain any malicious software.
  • Enabling application whitelisting to prevent your employees from accessing websites that are likely to contain malicious content.

Should an employee’s device be infected with malware, the battle isn’t over! You can implement a few smart tools to stop malware from running on the device, such as:

  • Using solutions like mobile device management (MDM) to control what applications and data employees access on their devices
  • Ensuring anti-virus and anti-malware is implemented and regularly updated
  • Training your employees on the threat of ransomware and suspicious file attachments

Prepare For The Worst

Malware attacks, especially ransomware attacks, can have a long lasting, detrimental impact to an organization’s operations, causing downtime and lost revenue. It’s therefore vital to have a plan for the worst case scenario too. This is what’s known as incident response.

If a ransomware attack hits, do you know what your action plan will be? How will you communicate with customers? Will you be able to access your backups, and how quickly? All of these factors and more should be considered in your ransomware response plan.

We’ll Manage The Ransomware Threat For You!

Defending against ransomware and other security threats takes 24/7 monitoring, detection and action. That’s where we come in.

At Vudu, we are technology wizards with the know-how to protect you from the latest security threats out there. Tell us more about your goals.

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