Ransomware has become an increasingly common cyber threat in recent years. According to one cyber security company, nearly 60 percent of all malware samples identified in the first quarter of 2017 were ransomware. Unfortunately, it’s not just consumers who are being targeted. Many businesses are also being targeted with ransomware. Here are a few ways that ransomware can impact your business.
Ransomware can take your business’s information technology (IT) infrastructure offline. While different types of ransomware have different functions, this disturbing form of malware typically restricts access to your data. Once deployed on your IT infrastructure, it will encrypt your business’s data so that you can longer access it. The data is technically still there; it’s just encrypted. The hacker behind the attack will then demand a payment in exchange for the decrypt key. Throughout this process, you won’t be able to access your business’s data, resulting in long outages.
As a side effect of this downtime, ransomware may cause your business to lose revenue. If your business relies on a functional IT infrastructure to operate (as most do), an attack may prevent you from generating new sales. One report found that 30 percent of businesses lost revenue due to ransomware. Furthermore, customers may leave your business and choose a competitor when your operations are distributed by ransomware. These are just a few ways that ransomware can cost your business money.
Many business owners overlook the amount of IT labor that’s required to mitigate the damage of a ransomware attack. When an attack occurs, time is of the essence. The business’s IT team should act fast to isolate the affected devices. This places a heavy burden on businesses that don’t specialize in IT, often forcing them to hire third-party IT professionals to assist in mitigation and recovery.
Ransomware can also cause your business to fail. One study found that six in ten small businesses that experience a cyberattack never recover from it. They are forced to close their doors and shut down their operations.
Ransomware Protection Solutions
Rather than waiting until an attack occurs, you should implement safeguards now to protect your business from ransomware. An intrusion detection system will allow you to monitor your IT infrastructure’s entry points, alerting you to unauthorized access. Anti-malware and ransomware protection can neutralize and protect against malicious software.
One of the most important safeguards to protect against ransomware is keeping your software up to date. Many businesses run outdated software simply because they don’t want the hassle of updating to the latest version. In doing so, though, they place themselves at risk for ransomware. Hackers can infiltrate systems running outdated operating systems or other software more easily because they contain exploitable vulnerabilities. Therefore, you should keep your business’s software up to date.
You don’t have to disconnect your business from the internet just to protect against ransomware attacks. From intrusion detection systems and anti-malware software to monitoring network traffic and updating software, there are several steps you can take to keep your business’s IT infrastructure secure.