Ransomware has plagued businesses of all sizes for a few years now. A report from the IT security company Herjave Group indicates that over one billion dollars were spent on ransomware in 2016. Most of those costs were absorbed by small and medium businesses because they are easy targets for hackers and IT criminals. Software has been developed to combat attacks and restore encrypted data, but it is close to becoming obsolete because the number of algorithms used by criminals is increasing at a rapid pace. What began as a few different viruses has turned into a group of approximately twenty different versions. The software designed to combat the first few viruses has been updated in an attempt to keep it useful.
The addition of more viruses, more criminals launching ransomware, and increasing ways that business systems are vulnerable are some of the reasons why ransomware recovery is complicated and difficult. The internet, social media, and the volume of devices used provides many opportunities for hackers to gain access to business systems. Although most viruses are introduced through spam emails, they can also be launched via posts, websites, and digital marketing. The increase of public free internet networks (better as known as wifi) being used to conduct business also provides criminals easy access to systems. Taking extra precautions, increasing system security, and implementing strict policies regarding access to business data are a few ways business owners can reduce risks. It is possible to block employees from accessing business data from personal devices. It is so easy to pick up a personal smartphone instead of the business one that it can happen accidentally. That simple addition to security will prevent breaches in policy and decrease vulnerability.
Diligence to protect the business, combined with professional IT services, are essential components to avoid ransomware attacks. Full recovery of data is achieved in most cases, but that may change as criminals get creative. Consider maintaining more than one type of system back up to expedite recovery. Saving data in the cloud or on a separate flash drive are two examples of ways to back up data daily. Have the current system assessed by professionals to learn specific weak areas and get suggestions on how to improve them. Take a serious look at policies and procedures, compare the costs of recovery with the costs of protection, and take actions to protect the business from viruses and hackers.