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3-Tips To Protect Any Business From Ransomware

These tips work will for professional practices,business offices, property managers, and consultants...

  With the amount of ransomware going around the internet these days, it has become more important than ever to protect your business from ransomware. Every day, you can find a story online, or in the news about a big company that has been hit with ransomware, and had its operation halted.

  Ransomware is a powerful tool that hackers use to extort money from victims who have not protected themselves from ransomware. Protecting a business isn't difficult. But, hackers make their living preying on victims who choose to do nothing until there is a problem. If you are reading this, you don't have to be a victim. This article contains 3 easy things you can do to protect your business from ransomware, and you don't need to be a techie to do them.

Why protect your business from ransomware anyway?

  The best way to answer this question is by describing how ransomware works. If you've seen a crime show, read a crime novel about a kidnapping, then you already have the idea of how the ransomware business works. The criminals kidnap a high-value person (diplomat, child, spouse, etc), then demand a ransom payment from the loved ones. Once the payment is made, the victim is returned. In the best scenarios, the victim is returned unharmed.

  When ransomware hits a business it works the same way. Arguably the only big difference is your data is held for ransom. The hackers know how valuable a business's data and files are. They also know businesses and professional practices need that information to operate. In some cases, the data is so critcal that it halts the operation instantly. Of course, many businesesses find the ransom requested is less than the pain of a halted operation, so they pay up immediately.

  This really isn't all that different than a real-life kidnapping.

How does ransomware infect a business?

  Ransomware works by using encryption. Basically, ransomware uses a program to turn all of your business data files into gibberish. Once the encryption is done, the files are unrecognizable by any program on your computer. So, when you try to open one of these files, you get an error message that says "unrecognizable file type". Ransomware's process is simple. It is also very effective. It can be devastating to a business of any size, which is why it is important to protect a business from ransomware.

Tips to Protect A Business From Ransomware

  Focus on recovery - The first tip to protect against ransomware is to focus on recovering from an incident. In the event a hard drive crashes or a file gets deleted, the information can be recoverd from a backup of the files. In the best scenario, the backup is stored somewhere safe so that it can be used when needed.

  With a good backup, you don't have to pay a hacker's ransom to get your data back. If your office is accidentally infected by ransomware, you can go to a backup, restore all of the damaged files and get back to work! So, the first tip to protect a business against ransomware is to create and keep a good backup.

  Yes, you'll have to restore files, and clean up infected computers. But, you won't have to give money to criminals or pay money for your data (it already belongs to you!) or hope that not all of the files are permanently damaged when they are returned. The list of reasons not to pay the ransom is long, and having a good backup of your data files is the best defense against ransomware.

  Use Anti-Virus Software -It is important to use antivirus software on all computers that have access to business data and files. The best programs are highly-rated antivirus programs, intended to put a wall around your computer and network. They are much quite effective at doing this. That means ransomware has a difficult time getting on your computer or network. This is an important piece.

  Windows offers antivirus software that is intended to protect the computer from viruses. It isn't intended to protect a business from ransomware. Many performance tests don't give it a very high ranking. Our suggestion is don't depend on this program to protect your business from ransomware.

  Business-class antivirus programs have the latest virus profiles and they use behavior analysis to protect your data from ransomware. These antivirus programs use huge cloud databases that are updated frequently, to identify and stop viruses. For a professional practice, business office, or a consultant, this extra protection from viruses that may be ransomware is critical. Using business-grade antivirus software gives an office the best protection available from ransomware.

  User Habits -User habits are probably the biggest weakness in an effort to protect a business from ransomware. A Phishing Awareness test run by a State IT agency showed the real weakness in cyber-defense. The IT department announced that it would be sending around an email with a virus in it. It contained a manipulated logo and a bogus message. Employees were warned that it should NOT be opened.

  The results were newsworthy. Approximately 33% of employees opened the message and clicked a link inside!

  Now, spam mail flies around the internet all the time. Juicy titles, compelling freebies, emotional appeals all make them too tempting! But, don't open them. Be wary. Delete anything suspicious. This is the 3rd tip to protect a business from ransomware.

  Email is the one point of entry that is the least guarded. There aren't many companies that do more than basic email filtering, and that means ransomware doesn't have the same barrier to cross as it does with an antivirus filter. Staying protected from ransomware depends on the user's judgment. Deleting one bad message just might protect the whole business from a successful ransomware attack.

Combine the tips to protect a business against ransomware

  Use All Three Tips -Though these are just basic tips, they are effective in protecting your business or office from ransomware. Good basic protection from ransomware doesn't have to involve complex systems with multiple layers of complexity. It is effective to put these 3 tips into action and move your office security up a level. A solid backup gives the business a way to recover in the event a virus carrying ransomware gets through. Using business-grade antivirus gives the computers and network the best protection available. The new antivirus programs have behavior detection which stops more viruses and ransomware in their tracks. Learning to identify and delete phishing emails is an effective way to cut down the posibility of getting a virus. And, with a good backup to fall back on (in case you miss one), you can be confident that your business is protected from ransomware.

  If you don't see ready answers to these questions above, the next best step is to contact us and get full disclosure of our small business IT Security Services for small offices and professional practices. It will answer all of these questions and many more.

   Contact us by phone (925) 609-8287 or send us a message.