Five Steps to Protect Your Company Against Ransomware

Five Tips to Help Prevent Ransomware

Another ransomware attack has hit. Get used to it. Here are five actions you can take now against the next one.

It’s happened again. A ransomware attack has frozen thousands of computers from Ukraine to the United States. This one’s name is Petya. Don’t let the pretty name fool you. Attacks of this kind – exploiting vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system to encrypt data files and now even hard drives – are becoming frequent occurrences, costing companies millions due to lost sales, employees being diverted from their proper roles, and expenses to get data systems back up and running.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are five straightforward steps you can take to prevent your company’s system from being attacked, or to reduce the harm to your system if it does fall prey.

  1. 1. Plug your cyber holes.

    Be diligent about patching the breaches in your computer system with the right updates. If you do nothing else, take this step at a minimum.

  2. 2. Put up some standard defenses.

    Make sure your company has installed some common software on its network, including firewall, anti-virus and intrusion-detection programs. Take these protections a step further by creating a segregated network that protects your data when your system becomes infected.

  3. 3. Back up your data.

    Do a better job of backing up your data so that these extra copies can be called upon when you get attacked. Backing up your data is less a preventative measure and more of a damage-mitigation one.

  4. 4. Train your people to spot suspicious email messages.

    Hold regular training sessions to teach your company’s employees how to detect messages that likely carry ransomware. It’s not that hard to do. There are a few telltale signs. Get a little more advanced by helping employees understand how some hackers use social engineering to make out like they know you. For instance, if you work in accounts receivable and you see a message that’s created to look like an outstanding payment, you could get taken.

  5. 5. Get cyber insurance.

    Any computer system is susceptible, no matter how good its defenses are. Victimized companies that have cyber insurance not only have their financial costs covered, but also bring to the table a range of professionals – from IT experts to lawyers – who can help lessen your damage and get you back up and running as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Take these five steps. Because it will happen again. Maybe to you.