As the world is set to become fully digital, ransomware attacks remain to be the number one threat for all the businesses around. Ransomware is a kind of software, a digital parasite, that encrypts a victim’s files. It is followed by demands of hefty sums if the owner wishes to save their data. In the recent past, there have been a number of incidents in which people lost their money due to ransomware. So nowadays taking precautionary measures by proactively strengthening your cyber security is crucial for the survival of your company.
This article outlines essential measures you can implement to protect your business from ransomware attacks.
1. Employee Education and Awareness Programs
Employee education is an integral part of building a holistic defense system against ransomware attacks. Owners need to invest their energy, time, and resources in this crucial aspect. Phishing attempts through unrecognized emails are one of the most used modes of penetrating through the defenses of a system. Many leading companies and government institutions have been hit in the recent past.
To tackle this, conduct cybersecurity workshops for your employees every month. When hiring new people, make sure they have sound knowledge regarding ransomware. Tell your employees to verify those who send suspicious messages and emails or call with unusual requests. One way to do this is to use people search websites. If someone pretends to be a business partner, let’s say, first check the details about the sender on Nuwber.
2. Endpoint Security Solutions
In the modern world, hackers tend to regularly amend their modes of attack to attain more success in their malicious acts. To remain a step ahead of them in this ongoing war of ransomware, you must deploy endpoint security solutions. Robust antivirus software and sophisticated intrusion detection systems fall under the umbrella of these solutions. They are quite impressive in identifying and proactively tackling ransomware attacks. But prior to purchasing such solutions, make sure that you are investing in the right direction. Look for up-to-date versions as they will give you the best chance to detect anything suspicious. Timely updates and maintenance of end-point security software are also a must.
3. System Updates and Patch Management
With advancements now, hackers can effectively identify loopholes in your software and strike on the weakest link of the chain. To save yourself against such attacks, timely updates and a strategy that entails a series of patch managements are surely of momentous importance. Hiring experts for such changes is highly recommended. They understand the software and know when and where to add patches. You can also employ automation to ward off the risk of any accidental oversight.
4. Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Easily guessable passwords and negligence of not enabling multi-factor authentication are synonymous with writing invitation letters to cybercriminals. Such ignorance makes you prone to even beginner-level cybercriminals. Employ strong passwords and multifactor authentication as soon as possible. MFA will provide you with the luxury of receiving notifications and will also make sure that the ransomware passes through two or more layers of impenetrable security lines. It will fortify your defense against ransomware.
5. Thorough and Routine Data Backup Protocols
Most companies that were at the receiving end of ransomware attacks lacked any significant back protocols. Establishing a thorough and automated data backup procedure adds an extended layer of security. In the wake of ransomware attacks, it can serve as a site of refuge for business owners, as they have the luxury of having all the data stored in their automated data backup systems. They can easily access all the data and are safe against blackmailing for ransom. Local or off-site installments can serve as locations for this vital data.
6. Network Segmentation
Ransomware incursions are generally aimed at getting access to critical information of an organization. This can be prevented by implementing robust network segmentation. In big organizations like banks, it becomes a challenge to not provide access to many people to the crucial data. By implementing network segmentation in such installments, you can direct traffic in different areas of the system.
Through a segmentation policy, you can decide how you segment your network. You can provide a limited number of people with access to the most important data of your organization. This is an effective barrier against ransomware. However, even after designating control, it further involves firewall regulations to deal with potential threats.
7. User Privilege Restriction
Sticking by the principle of least privilege (PoLP) is of momentous importance. It binds the employees by providing specified access to the material of their needs and interests only. By limiting access to those outside of your company, you reduce the areas available for cybercriminals to attack and also prevent an out-and-out ransomware attack. It minimizes the capability of an attacker to crawl through your network freely while providing adequate resources and complete freedom to your employees to effectively do their jobs.
8. Incident Response Blueprint
It is much more important to be proactive rather than reactive. It resonates perfectly as far as ransomware attacks are concerned. While you strive to prevent ransomware from penetrating through your defenses, it is also of utmost importance to understand how cybercriminals work. Developing a blueprint that involves a series of well-synchronized steps that effectively deal with ransomware can prove to be a blessing for you. It should be an all-encompassing response plan. Make sure that all your employees are familiar with this proactive plan of yours. They should know how to react in the wake of any suspicious event.
Even with the modernistic advancements, ransomware remains to be a leading threat for business owners. However, by carefully looking into the structure of your organization and examining it for any vulnerabilities, coupled with precautionary measures, you can protect all important data of your organization. It is better to invest resources and abilities in time rather than cry over spilled milk. Stay vigilant and protect your company’s data!