In our last post on ransomware best practices, we reported on ransomware, explaining what it is and how companies are affected. In the second part of this two-part series, we’ll uncover just how massive the threat is, then tell you exactly what you can do about it with things like backups or a ransomware recovery service.

How Big and Bad is Ransomware, Really?

As CNN reported in April of last year, the FBI stated that “cyber-criminals collected $209 million in the first three months of 2016 by extorting businesses and institutions to unlock computer servers. At that rate, ransomware is on pace to be a $1 billion a year crime this year. The FBI told CNN that the number “is quite high” because a few people “reported large losses. The agency also said that the losses could even be bigger once other related costs from these extortion schemes are factored in. Plus: Some victims may choose to pay and not report the crime.”

CNBC reported in December of last year that “Spam emails loaded with ransomware — malware that scrambles data and demands a ransom to decode it — increased 6,000 percent this year compared with 2015, a new study from IBM Security found. Ransomware was in almost 40 percent of all spam messages in 2016. The problem is, the business model works: 70 percent of business victims paid the hackers to get their data back, the study found. Of those who paid, 50 percent paid more than $10,000 and 20 percent paid more than $40,000.”

Unfortunately, the news didn’t get any better as we fast-forward to 2017 with the widely publicized WannaCry attack in May, which was the largest, most widespread ransomware attack ever, affecting 99 countries. Newsweek reported that ransomware damage costs are expected to reach a staggering $5B in 2017.

Ransomware Prevention and Ransomware Recovery Service

The news is both incredibly sobering and seriously scary. So, what can organizations do to avoid falling victim to these insidious attacks? Luckily (deep breath), there’s quite a lot you can do to protect your company from ransomware. Let’s review three ways:

  1. Back up EVERYTHING: while you can do this on your own, housing the backed-up data on an external, air-gapped hard drive, many companies fail to do so on a regular (at least daily) basis. When ransomware attacks, companies lose any work or data they haven’t saved to the external drive. The best way to protect your company from ransomware and safeguard your critical data is to use an outsourced IT company to back up your data via a managed backup service. Your IT experts will house all your data on their own highly secure servers, shielding them from theft and attack. Managed backup services protect your company’s data and server configurations so you can rapidly recover if disaster strikes. When you have all your data backed up, you remove the risk of having your key data held hostage.

Real IT Care, a Williamsport, PA-based company, offers managed backup services that ensure that all files are automatically backed up as frequently as every 15 minutes, if needed. And the service will likely cost less than your monthly phone bill. Having this back-up can reduce or eliminate your need for a stand-alone ransomware recovery service, which can be extremely costly and time-consuming.

  1. Educate all employees: By providing email-security education to each and every one of your employees, you can reduce the chances that one of them will inadvertently download and spread ransomware. Explaining to your employees the significance of ransomware, reviewing how it works, providing examples of what it might look like, and advising them of what to do if they receive such an email, are all key ways in which you can help your team identify, avoid, and report potentially malicious emails.

Organizations such as Real IT Care, can often provide this type of prevention-based education to your small-business employees.

  1. Utilize anti-virus protection: Unlike software sold by companies such as Norton, managed anti-virus solutions are consistently updated and managed by a team of IT experts. Outsourced IT companies stay abreast of new viruses, malware, and ransomware in order to create and add key new protections to your anti-virus solution on the fly. This is another way in which small businesses can protect themselves against malicious ransomware attacks.

Employing a managed anti-virus solution can dramatically minimize your chances of being attacked. However, even the most sophisticated cyber-security companies can’t keep ahead of every type of ransomware, with new strains being released all the time. Nonetheless, if you employ a managed antivirus service, you’ll have the benefit of a built-in ransomware recovery service: a team of IT experts waiting in the wings to assess and remove any ransomware that manages to worm its way into your network.

Network Security Solutions for Your Company

Layers of protection are critical to protect your company from ransomware. By employing a combination of a managed backup solution, employee education, and a managed anti-virus solution, you drastically reduce the risk that you’ll fall victim to attack. If you do get infected, IT experts can provide a ransomware recovery service to help you minimize the damage and get back in business as quickly as possible. Real IT Care, has been providing leading-edge protection and support to small businesses since 2009.

Call us today to learn more about how we can protect your company from ransomware! (570) 323-2650