How to Protect Your Business Against Ransomware: A Practical Guide

Ransomware is one of the most pervasive cyber threats today. It’s also one of the most insidious because, unlike almost every other type of malware, ransomware not only compromises your data but also blocks you from accessing it permanently unless you pay up. Without a doubt, this has become the single biggest headache for businesses. Small and medium-sized enterprises are especially vulnerable to ransomware attacks because they lack the resources and security expertise that larger companies have, making it very difficult for these companies to handle ransomware attacks. To protect your business against these kinds of cyber threats, there are some things you can do to mitigate damage and risk. This guide will walk you through essential measures that every organization should take to protect its critical data from getting locked away by hackers or encrypted forever.

 

Ensure Software Is Always Up to Date

With sophisticated threats coming at businesses from all directions, it’s essential to update the software on your computers, servers, and network devices as soon as patches become available. While this might seem like a minor thing, it’s actually a major contributing factor to how well your business will withstand an attack. Don’t wait for the last minute to update critical software. Instead, make it a regular part of your IT maintenance plan, and set up automatic updates for everything as soon as patches are available. This is one way to help ensure that you won’t miss installing the latest security patches, which could leave your organization vulnerable to malware threats.

 

Install a Solid Firewall and VPN

Another key way to protect your business against cyber threats is to install a firewall and a VPN. A firewall is an essential security resource that blocks malicious traffic from reaching your network. A VPN, on the other hand, creates a secure connection between your business network and remote users. For maximum protection, you’ll want to install both a firewall and VPN on every computer that connects to your business network. You can also install them on your servers, switches, routers, and other network devices. In addition to blocking malicious traffic and encrypting sensitive data, firewalls and VPNs also come with features that can help you respond to ransomware attacks. Firewalls can automatically block denial-of-service attacks, while VPNs can be used to cut off infected computers from the rest of your network.

 

Use Strong Encryption

Strong encryption is one of the best ways to protect your sensitive data from prying eyes. You can use it to encrypt everything from emails to documents, as well as communications between computers and servers. When it comes to protecting yourself against ransomware, strong encryption is especially important when it comes to storing your data. You should encrypt sensitive data on your computers or at the very least make sure it’s encrypted in transit. Many cloud storage providers also offer built-in encryption that you should take advantage of. In addition to protecting your sensitive data from hackers, encryption can also help you protect yourself against ransomware attacks. Since many ransomware strains don’t have the capability to break strong encryption, your data might be safe even if your computer gets infected.

 

Back up your data constantly

Regularly backing up your data is an essential part of protecting yourself against ransomware. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to respond to an attack and avoid paying the ransom. Most businesses should be backing up their data to both an on-site and off-site location. Ideally, you’re taking multiple backups at different points in time to create what’s known as a “data replication” strategy. This helps ensure that you have access to the most recent version of all your data. You can use a cloud-based service to back up your data or invest in an on-site backup solution, such as a network-attached storage (NAS) device.

 

Ransomware Protection With Proactive DLP

A data loss prevention (DLP) solution can help protect your organization against ransomware by blocking emails containing malicious links or attachments. DLPs can be set up to scan emails, attachments, and even inside the file transfer protocol (FTP) for specific keywords that indicate a file is malicious. For example, if a user emails you with a file name that begins with “Virus:”, that’s a pretty obvious sign that something’s not right. If your business uses Microsoft Office 365, you can also use the Office Ransomware Protection feature to block malicious emails, attachments, and file types from infecting your computer.

 

Conclusion

Ransomware has become one of the most dangerous cyber threats that businesses face. However, it’s also one of the easiest threats to protect against with a few precautions. This guide will walk you through essential measures that every organization should take to protect its critical data from getting locked away by hackers or encrypted forever. When it comes to ransomware, there are two things you can do to protect your business: be proactive and be prepared. Ransomware is preventable, and you can take steps to minimize the damage if you ever do get infected. With the right cybersecurity tools and proactive security measures, you can significantly reduce the risks that come with ransomware attacks.

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