Threats to businesses have evolved over the course of time. Today, with organizations increasingly reliant on technology and sophisticated computer systems, cybercrime is one of the most potent dangers.
As technology advances, cyberattacks also develop, using new techniques and strategies to breach defenses and access data. One of the most menacing forms of attack for modern-day businesses is ransomware.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a form of malware which requires the user to pay a ransom to restore the infected system. When ransomware is activated, it freezes a system, making the data inaccessible unless the ransom is paid. It is an advanced kind of attack and can be incredibly costly for the victim organizations.
One of the most alarming observations when discussing ransomware is the growing prevalence of this type of cyber attack. In a report by Sophos, half of the global organizations surveyed in early 2020 had experienced a ransomware attack. In terms of frequency, Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that ransomware will attack businesses every 11 seconds in 2021.
The Cost of Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware attacks have increased in recent years, and there have been some incredibly high-profile breaches which have claimed global headlines. Perhaps the most significant example is the WannaCry attack of 2017, which encrypted thousands of computers across the world in a matter of hours, causing billions of dollars of damage across 150 countries.
Ransomware attacks have far-reaching implications for businesses of all sizes. The most significant effect is cost. The average ransomware attack costs around $84,000, meaning that the damages from a single breach would be sufficient to put many small and medium-sized companies out of business.
Even if you don’t pay the ransom, recovering from an attack is still expensive. You’ll need to pay to restore your data backups, along with the losses from downtime. In addition to the monetary cost, companies also risk damage to their reputation and brand image. Customers want to have confidence in the businesses they buy from, and security breaches can cost their loyalty.
These costs are only growing. Further predictions by Cybersecurity Ventures indicate that ransomware costs will reach $20 billion globally. This malware has the power and potential to paralyze businesses, disrupt operations, and put a major dent in corporate finances.
How Business Can Protect Against Ransomware
Ransomware attacks can be devastating for businesses, and it’s hugely beneficial to be proactive in taking steps to lower risks. Prevention is always better than cure, particularly when it comes to cybersecurity.
Here are some effective measures businesses can employ:
- Make It Policy. Introduce security policies and protocols to clarify cybersecurity best practice for your employees. This included guidelines for using secure networks and selecting strong passwords.
- Train Your Staff. Training can help employees learn to detect suspicious websites, emails, and other cybersecurity weaknesses. This is particularly important in preventing phishing and other social engineering attacks, which rely on human error to be successful.
- Update Your Software. Regular updates patch your system with the fixes needed to combat the most recent developments in cybercrime. Don’t ignore those update alerts and reminders!
- Backup Your Data. If you’re hit with ransomware, having consistent backups of your data can be a lifesaver. You don’t need to pay a ransom if you have the same data stored safely elsewhere.
- Work with Experts. If you don’t have IT experts in-house, consider outsourcing to a managed service provider. You’ll receive strengthened cybersecurity and round-the-clock support to keep your systems in the best condition.
Ransomware attacks are a genuine threat to all businesses operating in 2020. Statistics show that ransomware attacks are becoming more commonplace and more sophisticated. If you run a business and you’re not currently taking steps to protect your company against attacks, it’s critical to take action now.
If you aren’t sure where to start, contact Envision Consulting today for a consultation. We’ll help you to identify the cybersecurity weakness in your system and strengthen your defenses to keep ransomware and other types of cyber threats at bay.