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Ransomware & Small Businesses

Ransomware & How it Affects Small Businesses

Most computer users understand what a virus is. They may even be privy to the concept of malware or adware. What the average user isn’t as knowledgeable of is the latest trend in cyber vandalism and theft – ransomware. Originating in Russia, ransomware attacks have since spread across Europe to the rest of the world and in 2016 cost businesses roughly 1 billion dollars.

The various ransomware programs are spread through phishing emails with malicious attachments, downloaded knowingly or unknowingly from infected websites, installed as an extra on sketchy programs or sent through social media or messaging apps. All methods lead to the same result: ransomware locks or encrypts specific files and demands payment to get them back.

These files can be anything from mild things like notes in DOC or PDF for to more important things like personal information of employees or clients and financial records. This is especially insidious considering that the programs are designed to work across an organization’s network and search their servers for any and everything of value. Therein lies the threat to business, but especially small businesses.

How ransomware affects your business

The damage done by ransom is no laughing matter. This can include the temporary or permanent loss of sensitive info, financial losses due to restoration costs, loss of trust from customers and disruption of operations while resolution measures are being taken. While all of these are majors threats regardless of size, bigger businesses often have multiple data-centers, backups for files and if we’re honest, money to pay off the ransom if need be.

Smaller businesses often don’t and thus should be more preemptive in their defense. It’s naive to assume that simply avoiding emails that appear to be spoofed will save all the trouble. It’s even more naive to assume that your business is too small to be attacked. Roughly 22% of the small businesses affected by a form of ransomware weren’t able to recover and were forced to shut down. While there is no 100% sure-fire defense, there are definitely steps you can take.

Preparation is key

The best defense for your systems will multi-layered. Employee training and moderation is the best starting point to protect your servers and business. You can start by training them on what to look out for in emails, restricting user permissions to install and run software on company computers and limited administrator access to company IT personnel.

Stay up-to-date on your operating system, anti-virus, and anti-malware software and set a protocol where all programs are scanned before executed after downloading. Strong spam filters can also help prevent phishing emails from reaching employees. Authentication tech is also a great addition to ensure employees know emails aren’t spoofed.

Another excellent idea is the utilization of a private or hybrid cloud service and a professional IT team. A private cloud keeps your sensitive data on secured on-site servers maintained specifically by your in-house team. A hybrid cloud service allows you to secured on-site option with a third-party team maintaining your less sensitive data off-site.

Knowing where your data is and how it’s taken care of gives you more control over its security thus giving you peace of mind. If you’re looking for server support, look no further than North London IT Support | Local Business | Amazing Support. The above are only the tip of the iceberg in data managing and security. When finding a company make sure to ask about their capabilities and security protocols. Your customers may never thank you for their data being secured, but they’ll never lose trust in you if their data is never lost.