how to protect my business from ransomware

If you own a small business, ransomware can be especially scary. With the rise in ransomware attacks and the publicity they've generated recently, many small businesses wonder what they can do to protect them from ransomware and be safe from losing sensitive information. The damage can be devastating, but companies can significantly reduce the effect with the right tools and behaviors in place.

This type of attack holds a company's data hostage until a ransom has been paid. As businesses and individuals rely more heavily on stored data for everything from business operations to personal duties like banking, the frequency of ransomware attacks is increasing. Since ransomware is only becoming more sophisticated as time goes on, it's best to work with an IT security company that will offer continuous protection against cyber-attacks before hackers begin making attempts on your information again (and again).

Below are our top tips to help you protect your business, your technology, your files, and your users against access from ransomware and malicious cybersecurity threats.

Authenticate inbound email and enable strong spam filters.

If you enable strong spam filters on your email, you will prevent phishing emails (email attacks to obtain sensitive information electronically) from ever reaching your customers. In addition, many ransomware attacks come through malicious links and email attachments, so protect your small business by using filtering tools as the first line of defense to prevent email spoofing from reaching employees.

Enable an email spam filter calibrated to block phishing attempts, and authenticate inbound mail using tools like the Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC), and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM).

Keep operating systems up to date.

Always make sure that your computers are up to date. For example, if you're running Windows, then make sure to install the latest security patches regularly. The way a ransomware attack infiltrates your systems is evolving, so new security patches are constantly deployed to protect your business.

Enable multi-factor authentication with strong passwords.

Ensure that you are using a strong password for every account and require employees to use multi-factor authentication. This includes the login process as well as how an employee accesses their email on your system. A good MFA strategy guarantees that users are who they say they are. In addition, if malware makes it onto a computer, MFA will stop the ripple effect by requiring additional information the hacker doesn't have access to, preventing there being a next victim.

Have a robust backup strategy and recovery plan.

It's imperative that you have a backup strategy in place and properly functioning for your entire organization. Ensure your backups are running on an external device, such as cloud storage or the internet. In the event of a breach, protect your business from ransomware attacks by ensuring that your most confidential data is stored off the main network.

Keep all apps and software updated.

Make sure to keep all apps and software updated with the latest patches. This includes security solutions, operating systems, applications, etc. Then, configure your devices so that they automatically update without any human intervention. This way, you don't have to worry about someone forgetting or skipping an important security patch and leaving the system vulnerable to attack.

Train your employees in security awareness.

A key component of security is training your employees. Employees must be aware of how to spot a scam and how to avoid falling victim. Teach your workforce how not to be scammed by phishing emails or fake software updates, and educate them on detecting malicious behavior in general. You want your employees to understand the signs of malware to prevent access to their privileged accounts. All employees should receive the minimum access they need based on the principle of least privilege.

Encrypt your sensitive information.

Encrypting company data will prevent hackers from accessing it. This includes all sensitive customer information and how employees enter their passwords to log into the system. You may want to go as far as removing your critical assets into offsite storage and onto a separate device. Depending on how your organization uses computers and its network, installing an anti-virus program may be necessary for you to protect against ransomware attacks.

Monitor the dark web for your information.

It's a good idea to monitor how your data is being used on the dark web. Sometimes, small businesses don't find out there was a Dark Web Monitoring services are security software that performs regular scans of the dark web, looking for your data. They send a notification to you once they find any matches.

Test your security measures routinely.

Don't forget to conduct routine audits of how the security measures are working within your company. Evaluate what has been done and how it is functioning, then make changes where necessary. Keep in mind that your business will always need regular maintenance so you can keep up with new threats and fight against them. The best

Partner with a managed service provider.

A managed service provider will offer more protection than you can provide for your business against a ransomware attack. Managed IT services are a way to extend the security measures of a small business without having to invest in expensive software or staff.

Most small businesses have more to worry about than ransomware infections, malware, or a data breach. Ransomware can attack quickly, and the longer it takes for you to respond increases the risk and threat that your personal information is captured. Don't become ransomware victims by letting your network be compromised. Instead, implement these steps and give yourself enough time and information to prepare against ransomware attacks.

Contact your trusted cybersecurity expert, but if you don't have one you trust, contact CTTS and book a discovery call to get a free assessment of your cybersecurity today!