Blog > Ransomware IT security advice for businesses

Ransomware IT security advice for businesses

Ransomware

The Ransomware attack that has crippled many NHS Trusts over the last few days (including Mid-Essex CCG) is a stark reminder that cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly more common, sophisticated and indiscriminate, with the potential to impact thousands of businesses and organisations up and down the UK evey year. Microsoft has called this latest attack ‘a wake-up call’ and this very real threat has led many to consider: “Just how comprehensive is your internet security strategy in a digital world?”  

For over 20 years, Method have been working with businesses across Essex to develop robust IT security measures and highly effective IT strategies. Our understanding of how IT systems interlock and work together for the effective management of a modern business has made us fully aware of how Ransomware can disrupt your infrastructure. However, there are measures businesses can take to protect themselves against Ransomware and other malicious cyber-attacks.

What is Ransomware?

In a nutshell, Ransomware is a cyber-attack that generally involves hackers taking control of computers and then demanding payment before they will relinquish this control. Control is seized by the hackers when malicious software is inadvertently downloaded by the business onto a device, resulting in files being encrypted and inaccessible to the business or organisation.

It is considered by many security experts as the fastest-growing form of computer virus, and has the potential to bring an organisation’s operations to a shuddering halt.  That said, through practical steps and techniques, the effects of these attacks can be limited and recovered from swiftly to prevent any lasting damage to businesses.

Protecting your company from Ransomware and cyber-attacks

For Ransomware to work, hackers need their malicious software to be downloaded onto a victims computer. Therefore, an important step in ensuring your business’ protection from cyber-attacks is training yourself and your employees to exercise caution when confronted with potential phishing traps.

Avoid opening unsolicited emails without verifying, don’t visit unknown websites without doing your homework, avoid clicking online ads, attachments or URLs, never download apps from unofficial platforms and always read reviews before installing new software.

Taking these pragmatic steps immediately reduces the risk of Ransomware to your company. The human aspect of any IT network is often the most vulnerable in allowing attacks to enter and spread. So, guidance in best practice with regards to unknown or suspicious emails and web links will be of great help in securing your business’ online infrastructure.

Of course, developing an effective defence against any cyber-attack really should start with ensuring your business has a coherent and robust IT Internet Security AND IT Business Continuity strategy in place. Specific components of these two strategies should include:

  • Regular reviews of your current security software technology to ensure it’s both capable and completely up-to-date.
  • No security software product is infallible, so companies should confirm that their IT support partner has patched security holes to prevent malicious software from infiltrating.
  • Ransomware and other cyber-attacks can exploit vulnerabilities in your computer operating systems and third party plug-ins, so make sure these software are kept up-to-date when they become available.
  • Ensure only ‘authorised’ devices are able to connect to your corporate network.
  • Have written company procedures for staff to follow concerning your online activities and back this up with practical training sessions on do’s and don’ts.
  • Ensure current backup procedures and storage devices/platforms are effective i.e. do they meet recovery point and recovery timeline objectives? This will play a vital role in protecting company data and allowing you to return to business as usual in the shortest possible time.

Through this approach, you place yourself in the best position to prevent Ransomware attacks impacting your business, and to effectively manage and recover the situation should they invade your systems. How you handle today’s advanced cyber-attacks is primarily down to how you prepare, and these steps will help plug any gaps in your defences.

If you would like to learn more about introducing comprehensive IT security measures to your business, our specialists are available for a consultation. We have worked with many businesses in Essex on their online infrastructure, mitigating the risk Ransomware and other malicious cyber attacks have on their operations.

Get in touch today by phone on 0345 521 6111 or via email at enquiries@method-it.co.uk.

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