Ransomware

The SMB owner’s guide to stopping ransomware

When you look at the rise of malware around the world, the future looks like a scary place for businesses. In 2017, ransomware instances increased by more than 250 percent. By the end of the year, ransomware had cost companies about $5 billion.

To make matters even worse, cybercrime damage is expected to reach $6 billion per year by 2021. In response, companies will likely spend more than $1 trillion in an attempt to protect themselves.

Some SMBs owners believe that they’re immune to these statistics. Many of them assume that hackers prefer targeting large companies that can afford to pay higher ransoms. Unfortunately for SMB owners, hackers don’t see the situation that way. Instead, they view SMBs as low-hanging fruit that they can exploit easily.

You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to protect your SMB from ransomware. You do, however, have to take the appropriate steps to deter criminals.

Train your employees to recognize ransomware attempts

Cybercriminals don’t need much computer knowledge to launch ransomware attacks against your company. They just need one unsuspecting employee to open an infected email attachment or visit a fraudulent website.

You can improve your cybersecurity by training employees to recognize malware attempts. Employees should know that phishing emails often have:

  • Poor grammar and spelling
  • Inaccurate information
  • Unprofessional graphics
  • Urgent requests that require immediate action

Instruct your employees to direct suspicious emails to your IT department or an informed manager.

Always remember that training is your first line of defense against ransomware.

Restrict access to sensitive information

Most of your employees don’t need access to your business’s sensitive information. By restricting access to data, websites, and applications, you can prevent uncooperative workers from infecting your network.

You may even want to take a close look at how your employees behave. If you notice that a person doesn’t follow protocol, lower that employee’s security and provide additional training.

Automatically backup your data

No amount of training, security software or network monitoring can ensure that your business is safe from ransomware. No matter what you do, there is always a possibility that a criminal will successfully target your organization.

Automatic data backups will prevent cybercriminals from holding your information ransom. Even if someone manages to infiltrate your system, you will still have access to the information that you need to run your business and meet the needs of your customers.

Ransomware will still make your life more difficult, but at least it won’t interrupt your business operations for more than a few hours.

Understand the risks of ransomware

As a business owner, you need to understand the dangers of ransomware. The moment that you assume your business is safe, you become a target.

If you notice that you aren’t paying close attention to your IT security, remember that the WannaCry ransomware attack struck tens of thousands of organizations in more than 74 countries. If you still need more motivation, think about these statistics:

  • More than 20 percent of companies attacked by malware lose customers.
  • Nearly 30 percent of attacked companies lose revenue.
  • Nearly a quarter of companies attacked by malware lose future business opportunities.

Customers and partners take notice when your company suffers a security failure. Keep your cybersecurity robust so you can enjoy more success even while your competitors become targets.