Ransomware is a multi-billion pound business, and when you look at it from the perspective of cybercriminals you can understand why. According to a recent survey, almost half of all small and medium sized businesses have fallen victim to a ransomware attack, and a majority paid to get their data back. More than 10 percent paid a staggering £80,000 or more.
So, how serious is the threat of ransomware to your business? Over the past year, Fortinet reports that the number of new ransomware variants increased by 46%, while the number of ransomware detections rose by 365%. Yet, at the same time, only one in three SMBs say they are confident they can track and remediate attacks.
The failure to properly protect your data can have serious and long-lasting consequences – from financial repercussions to costly downtime and reputational damage. The question becomes: how can small businesses protect themselves against the growing threat of ransomware?
What is ransomware?
For starters, it’s important to understand what ransomware is and how it infiltrates an organisation. Ransomware is a form of malware, in which a cybercriminal demands a payment (ransom) to restore access to your data. Attackers usually attempt to hit as many individual targets as possible as quickly as possible, so ransomware attacks are usually delivered through three methods:
- Mass phishing: Emails that rely on unsuspecting users to activate
- Malvertising: Malicious advertising that relies on unsuspecting users to activate
- Exploit kits: These take advantage of pre-existing software vulnerabilities
How can you protect your business?
As ransomware continues to evolve, it’s crucial that your business deploy a line of defence that can accomplish three key things: stop opportunities for ransomware deployment, eliminate its propagation in case of a breach, and reduce the amount of potential downtime.
The key to preventing ransomware is to ensure you have a comprehensive cybersecurity solution that stops ransomware threats across all attack vectors. That means you need to take a layered approach that includes network, endpoint, application and data-centre controls. We typically recommend our clients consider Fortinet’s industry-leading SMB cybersecurity solution, as it provides a broad, integrated and automated approach to ransomware protection.
Next, it’s important to employ best practices for patching vulnerable internet infrastructure, improving password management, and continually monitoring potential threats. You can reduce the likelihood of ransomware reaching your network through a combination of several tactics:
- Secure Email Gateway: Automatically address both inbound traffic, to detect and prevent inbound threats, as well as outbound traffic to enforce policies related to compliance and data security
- Secure VPNs: Ensure users are connected through secure VPNs
- Password Management: Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and password management best practices to prevent attackers from being able to brute-force access to your networks
Lastly, it’s critical that your company have a last line of defence: backup recovery. Make sure you have a multi-pronged ransomware recovery plan in place, with particular emphasis on robust backup solutions. That way, if your company does fall victim to an attack, you can wipe out your existing data and quickly restore your data from backups. The quicker you’re able to recover, the faster you’ll be able to get back to business as normal.
At Optec, we specialise in helping small and medium businesses deploy the right solutions to keep their companies protected and secure. If you’re concerned about the threat of ransomware, please get in touch with our team for a complimentary consultation on the right solution for your business.