Your business is under attack! Are you prepared?

By Owen Williams, West View IT

With an increase in hybrid working, a cold hard fact is that cybercrime is on the rise.

Published in Suffolk Director Magazine, Winter 2021|22
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Managed IT Services: West View

This includes ransomware attacks, where hackers break into your network and encrypt your data so you can’t access it, and then charge you a large ransom fee to unlock it. It’s the most disruptive and costly kind of attack you can imagine and is very hard to undo.

All businesses are in danger. In fact, hackers prefer to target small businesses, as they typically invest less time and money into preventative security measures. The reality is that nearly 50% of businesses are so under prepared they have to pay the ransom to get their data back.

A ransomware attack takes weeks for the hackers to set up. Once inside a network, they stay hidden and take their time to make lots of changes. Essentially, they’re making it virtually impossible for an IT security company such as ours to undo the damage and kick them out once the attack has started.

So, what can you do to protect your business? It’s virtually impossible to stop a ransomware attack from happening. But you can prepare.

Here are five steps to maximise your ransomware resilience.

1. Act as if there’s no software protecting you

Humans are the first defence against cyber-attacks. For example, if your team doesn’t click on a bad link in a phishing email in the first place, then you’re not relying on software to detect an attack and try to stop it. This means basic training for everyone in the business, and then keeping them up-to-date with the latest threats.

2. Make sure your IT partner has robust systems in place

You need a blend of reactive and proactive support. Reactive support means you immediately have experts on hand, to minimise the impact and get your business up and running again quickly. But long-term, proactive support means you have someone working in the background, keeping your systems safe and 100% updated.

3. Invest in the best data backup and recovery you can

It’s worth remembering that cyber criminals will take any means necessary to get you to pay their ransom. That means they’ll target your backup files too. Including cloud-based data. The National Cyber Security Centre sets out a cyber security framework which includes best practices such as:

  • Constant backups: Separate from the computers and ideally in the cloud.
  • Immutable storage: This means once created, backups can’t be changed.
  • Firewalls: To restrict what data gets in and out.

4. Create a plan for cyber-attacks

When a cyber-attack happens, every second is crucial. The earlier you take action; the less damage is caused. So prepare a detailed plan of action and make sure everyone knows what’s in it, where to find it and how to trigger it.

5. Prepare, prepare and prepare some more

By creating a layered approach to recovery, you’re effectively reducing the impact of any ransomware attack. The sooner you can get your business back up and running, the less money you’ll lose and the less damage you’ll suffer. And your customers are less likely to lose faith in you.

Owen Williams is the Founder and MD of West View IT. For more information contact:
T: 01449 798119
E: owen@westviewit.co.uk or visit westviewit.co.uk

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