Ransomware. Yes, it’s as bad as you think it is. Cryptolocker started it, but there are some really nasty exploits out there that can be bad for your business. Really bad if you are not prepared for it.
Take the right steps though, and you can protect your company from its business-halting effects. Here's a run-down on the top ransomware attacks from 2016:
Here are four things you can do right now to protect your small business from the crippling and costly effects of ransomware:
1.Constantly educate your employees.
Reminding your employees of the ever-present threats of ransomware is always a good idea. Remind them to NEVER:
-Open emails from someone they don’t know or expect email from
-Turn off their antivirus program
-Use or download unapproved software on company computers
-Click on LINKS or ATTACHMENTS unless they are expected and verified by sender (pick up the phone and call…as in, “Hey Dave, did you send me this attachment?”)
2. Keep your systems up to date with antivirus and antimalware programs.
One of the best ways to do this is to use an automated process that checks and reports on status 24/7 and displays a single dashboard to view status for your monitored systems. We recommend our Pronet LiveAgent protection package for this, which you may try before you buy:
3. Backup, backup, backup.
Having a Backup and Disaster Recovery plan in place is very important if you want to protect your company's computer systems and data. Put a solution in place that will perform an automatic and consistent backup of your key systems.
The best backup for your servers and key systems is an image-based backup. This allows you to “spin up” a failed server on your local backup appliance (called a BDR for Backup and Disaster Recovery). Snapshots of your server and key systems can be done as often as every fifteen minutes and will allow you to recover very quickly if your hardware fails or if you are compromised by any kind of ransomware.
See What is a BDR? here.
4. Put a good firewall in place.
Are you using a professional grade firewall? Your physical firewall is the gateway between the internet and your internal network. Advanced firewalls are a first line of defense that you should have in place for all of your physical locations (think main office and branch offices). Professional firewalls have subscription services for malware and intrusion protection and will help to filter out many of the threats that can shut down your small business.
Keep your network and systems secure by implementing the above steps. By far, the step that has the most impact is to continually educate your computer users about the threats that are bombarding your network, trying to infiltrate and shut down your business.
By following these guidelines, you can help avoid costly shutdowns of your computers and small business.
For further reading, take a look at this article from the Microsoft Malware Protection Center web page: