Top Ways to Prevent Ransomware from Impacting your Small Business
Ransomware is a serious threat to any personal computer. However, if you run a small business the risk jumps infinitely. With a home computer, if ransomware infects the system it can shut the computer down and lock you out. If you run a small business and this happens, it not only may lock you out of your entire business network but it can potentially siphon off confidential documents. This could include financial records of both your company and your customers.
At best this results in a significant loss of productivity. At worse, it will lead to a catastrophic data breach, customers suing you because of the loss of their personal information, and your business may shut down permanently because of it. While that is a wide spectrum of possibilities it goes to show you why it is so important to protect your business from hackers and cybercriminals. To assist, here are some top ways to prevent ransomware.
Always Have A Backup
Ransomware can sneak onto your computer network one bit at a time. With properly configured network security it is possible to identify this and prevent it from happening in the first place. However, in the event of ransomware taking over the network and locking you out it is important to follow a handful of steps.
First, disconnect from the Internet. By disconnecting from the Internet the ransomware will be disconnected from its host. While it may still block you from accessing the network itself it won’t be able to adjust its course of actions. With the help of an IT professional, it may be able to work through the ransomware mess and delete it. This can take time as every file needs to be scanned. Often this is more intensive and time-consuming than you might like. That is why it may be better to simply revert to a network backup.
The network backup will have a replica of all files stored on your network from a set period. Reverting to this old backup will restore your computer system while removing every file installed after the backup image was made.
Now, this doesn’t guarantee parts of the ransomware aren’t on the backup. In fact, to avoid detection, most ransomware will install one bit at a time and in different locations within the network. Then, when all the files are accounted for, it will self-install and launch. Due to this, even when reverting to the backup, there may be some early file bits of the ransomware. The IT professional will be able to launch the backup and then perform a full system sweep to identify these early files.
It is important to routinely backup your system. The backup needs to both be complete and it needs to be done often. If you only perform a full backup once a month you may end up losing weeks of important files. Creating multiple backups can help with this, such as saving business-critical files to multiple sources. Your IT service provider can help you with establishing proper network backups for your business.
Update Your System
Do you know those pesky little “system update” windows that pop up on your computer screen? It can be so easy to tell the window to remind you tomorrow or at a different time because after all, you’re busy now. While this pushes the update off to the side, you do need to install the updates as soon as possible. These are often security updates designed to block out external hackers, cybercriminals, and ransomware. Failure to update will leave you exposed. Due to this, one of the best ways to prevent ransomware is to always install the system updates whenever made available.
Proper Employee Training
Most ransomware doesn’t make it into a network by sneaking through cracks in the firewall. Instead, the files usually walk right in thanks to an employee. An employee may open a malicious email, click on an infected link, or select one of those fraudulent “Update Adobe” pop-ups that appear from time to time. It’s easy to make these mistakes but it is very important to train your employees to not only avoid certain mistakes but to learn how to identify possible threats. The better trained your employees are the better equipped they will be in detecting potential threats.
IT professionals, such as those at Charlotte IT Solutions, can help with this kind of training.
Intrusion Detection System (IDS)
With an IDS in place, it becomes easier to identify potential threats poking around your network, including possible ransomware threats. One of the best ways to prevent ransomware is to utilize an IDS. This will monitor network traffic logs and continually compare it to what is currently taking place. This allows it to flag potentially malicious activity that looks unusual. By detecting the strange network activity it is possible to then adjust how your network security functions. Then make updates to any possible issues your firewall may have had. This way, by the time the malware or ransomware figures out how to push into your network you would have already made the necessary adjustments to prevent this.
Take The Next Step in Protecting Your Business
When running a small business it is important to take cybersecurity seriously. While you should always follow these top ways to prevent ransomware the very best method in safeguarding your small business is to bring in an IT professional. With the help of an IT professional, you’ll have network security tailored to your specific business needs.
The needs of a healthcare service provider greatly differ from that of a hardware store. However, without a tailor-designed security blanket you may end up running a cookie-cutter firewall that leaves you exposed. At Charlotte IT Solutions you have access to some of the most skilled and knowledgeable professionals in the business. So, if you’re ready to get serious about your network security and want to do everything in your power to protect your business data and your client’s confidential information, now is the time to contact Charlotte IT Solutions.