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According to research from Cybersecurity Ventures, by 2021, a new organization will fall victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds. In 2020, an estimated $20 billion worth of damages was inflicted worldwide by ransomware attacks. It’s a staggering blow to businesses large and small, and there’s no sign of it easing anytime soon.

As cybercriminals become increasingly more devious and sophisticated, one thing’s for sure: legacy solutions won’t work. It used to be that the bad guys would encrypt your data and force you to pay up to get your data back. A good BDR (Business Data Recovery) solution would protect your business by keeping data in separate copies, both offsite and onsite, so the encryption couldn’t reach the sensitive data. You could just bring up your backup copy and tell the bad guys where they could put their encrypted data.

Those days are mostly gone. In today’s ransomware horror scenario, the cyber-thieves will encrypt your data, and if you don’t pay, they will then release all of your confidential data to the public. Your backup copy won’t be able to protect you from that breach. This is especially threatening for businesses that rely on the confidentiality of data (medical, lawyers, accountants, etc.)

As with many IT-related issues, the best solution is a proactive one: be vigilant about your system’s security vulnerabilities and resolve them. For example, older devices and outdated software may be easier for the cyberthieves to infiltrate. Browsers and/or operating systems should be regularly updated with all available security patches.

Essentially, you and your IT services provider need to treat cybersecurity as the ever-looming threat it is. A needs-based backup plan that minimizes business interruption to within acceptable parameters is a good start, but your IT expert should also be able to conduct an extensive scan for security vulnerabilities in your operating system and installed software. As an old Yiddish saying puts it, “The mouse isn’t the thief—the hole is the thief.”

Here are a few more ways to defend your business from ransomware attacks:

  • Avoid clicking on links in spam messages or on unknown websites. If you click on malicious links, an automatic download could be started, which could lead to your computer being infected.
  • Avoid disclosing personal information, whether the request comes by call, text message, or email. Cybercriminals often try to collect personal information in advance, so they can then tailor personalized phishing messages. If you have
    any doubt, contact the sender directly.
  • Do not open suspicious email attachments: Ransomware can also find its way to your device through email attachments. To make sure the email is trustworthy, pay close attention to the sender and check that the address is correct. Never open attachments that prompt you to run macros to view them.
  • Never connect USB sticks or other storage media to your computer if you do not know where they came from.
  • Keep your operating system and software up to date. This makes it harder for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities in your programs.
  • To minimize the risk of downloading ransomware, never download software or media files from unknown sites. Make sure that the browser address bar of the page you are visiting uses "https" instead of "http". A shield or lock symbol in the address bar can also indicate that the page is secure.
  • Also exercise caution when downloading anything to your mobile device. You can trust the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, depending on your device.
  • When using a public Wi-Fi network, your computer is more vulnerable to attacks. To stay protected, avoid using public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions or use a secure VPN service.

Shield Information Solutions provides client-focused “all-in-one” managed IT management services to organizations in diverse industries in the lower Hudson Valley and Bergen County area. Our experience, expertise, and proactive approach
help ensure several substantial benefits, including: more predictable monthly IT costs; proactive monitoring and maintenance; regular software updates; optimal return on IT investment; and minimal downtime. If you’re looking for an IT partner with a backup plan that fully protects your business while lowering your monthly costs, please call Lee Sentell at 845-613-0600 or visit