Navigating Ransomware Threats: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses
Data – be it customer information, financial bookkeeping, or employee details – is the core of every business, and one of your enterprise’s most important and precious assets. With that said, it is easy to understand how devastating having that pivotal information taken hostage can be.
According to the US’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, ransomware can be defined as any effort using malware, scams, or hacking to leave certain amounts of data or perhaps even entire systems encrypted, scrambled, or otherwise useless until a demanded sum of money is paid.
The San Francisco-based Ransomware Taskforce estimated that over 70% of Ransomware attack victims in 2021 were small businesses . This figure may seem like proof of an unstoppable epidemic, but the reasons for this overrepresentation are actually quite simple. The IRT report continues on to state that most of the successful or harmful breaches and threats occurred either thanks to simple weaknesses in the businesses’ security and support systems, or due to the fact that the businesses did not reach out for external aid after the threat manifested itself.
The simplicity of the matter may be a relief to hear, but the most important question is yet to be answered. How to take action, implement a stronger security system to protect your business, and better combat this ever-present, ever-intensifying threat?
1 – Backup Systems, Data Access, and Software
It goes without saying that the first step to keeping your business safe online is by having updated and capable security software installed on all levels of its infrastructure, but there is a lot more to be done before these systems can help you fight more sophisticated Ransomware threats.
The target of a Ransomware attack is data and sensitive information, and as such, an encrypted, regular, and secure backup system is one of the most powerful tools that a business can have against them.  In addition to this, limiting the amount of data and the parts of your infrastructure that any single user or set of credentials can have access to is also crucial to reducing the damage that can be done through a single breach.
2 – Train for Awareness and Response
Ransomware can be carried in by anything – a falsified email, a trustworthy-seeming link, or downloading a spoofed company program. Anyone can fall for a scam, no matter how smart and attentive they are. Awareness may be an important factor in defending against just about every cyberthreat, but it is here against Ransomware that it plays its strongest role.
Ransomware utilizes gaps in security left by human error more often than not , and thus employees and those responsible for data security should be aware that their actions and any negligence in keeping to security protocols will leave the business vulnerable to attack.
A business does not need to be made up of tech experts to defend itself, but ensuring that your employees keep strong passwords, restrict unnecessary access to sensitive data, and recognize the early warning signs of a Ransomware threat is a great step in the direction of canceling out openings that hackers can use to gain access.
3 – Seek Expert Assistance
As we mentioned earlier, the Ransomware Taskforce’s 2021 report  concluded that the vast majority of damage done to small businesses by Ransomware was caused by the businesses’ neglect to seek professional help after a threat presented itself. Attempting to negotiate or fight such a sensitive kind of attack without the right tools can often lead to even larger losses of funds, data, and future security.
Having a both external and immediately contactable tech emergency response team is the surest way to ascertain that you’ll be able to put a cap on further damage when a threat presents itself, and that the matter can be dealt with quickly, cleanly, and without major damage.
 “Stop Ransomware: CISA.” Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency CISA, www.cisa.gov/stopransomware.
 “IST Blueprint for Ransomware Response.” IST – Blueprint for Ransomware Defence, Apr. 2022, securityandtechnology.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/IST-Blueprint-for-Ransomware-Defense.pdf.
 “What Now? A Business Guide to Navigating Ransomware Attacks.” Loeb & Loeb LLP, www.loeb.com/en/insights/publications/2022/04/a-business-guide-to-navigating-ransomware-attacks#:~:text=When%20impacted%20by%20a%20ransomware,assist%20with%20identifying%20the%20scope.
 Heaslip, Emily. “Ransomware Attacks: How to Protect Your Business.” Https://Www.Uschamber.Com/Co/, 16 June 2021, www.uschamber.com/co/run/technology/ransomware-attacks-business-protection.