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How to Get the Best Protection from Ransomware (The Secret is in the Layers)

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Ransomware and other cyberthreats have become an unfortunate part of life for businesses. Ensuring your network is protected against them is no longer a “maybe” it’s a “must” if you want to keep your business running smoothly.

No matter what size business you have, you’re vulnerable. Cybercriminals don’t only target large companies, they go after smaller companies as well and often see them as easier targets.

Small businesses lose on average more than $100,000 per ransomware incident due to downtime.

According to CNN, a study by Osterman Research in June 2017, found that 22% of businesses with less than 1,000 employees experienced a ransomware attack within the last year. The average cost per incident was over $100,000.

Besides the costs from downtime, companies that are subject to HIPAA or PCI compliance can also be subject to fines due to a data breach exposing their client or patient records.

The ultimate cost is having to shut your doors due to the damage from a ransomware attack, and according to CNET, about 1 in 5 small to medium businesses that experience a ransomware attack have to close.

Our Cybersecurity team at Unity IT takes a multi-layered, multi-vendor approach to ransomware security. We work with small businesses, local government, educational and non-profit organizations, and keeping them protected from cyberthreats is a key priority.

In this article, we’ll start with some details about ransomware and what it does and then give you some tips on how to prevent attacks.

What is Ransomware and How Can it Hurt My Organization?

Ransomware is a specific type of malicious attack that is meant to hold your data for ransom. Instead of kidnapping a human victim, criminals use ransomware to take your files hostage, encrypting them or otherwise blocking your access to them.

The attacker then requests a ransom from your organization to give you access back. Ransom requests are typically in the thousands of dollars and you have no guarantee that they’ll actually hold up their end of the bargain if you pay.

Ransomware has been around for many years, but has become increasingly popular. One of the most well-known ransomware attacks was WannaCry, which attacked UK Hospitals and multiple other companies.

If a company doesn’t have a backup and recovery plan in place, their business can be at a standstill while trying to regain access to their systems and files. If they can’t fully restore all the data, it can take years to fully recover.

How to Protect Against Ransomware Attacks with a Multi-Layered Approach

A single antivirus program might make you feel like you’re protected from ransomware and other cyberthreats, but it could be giving you a false sense of security.

Our 24/7, proactive Managed Services Team knows that you need much more than just a single layer of protection when keeping your data secure. The best fix for a ransomware attack is preventing it in the first place with rock-solid cybersecurity.

Here are the four layers of prevention you need to protect your business from cyberattacks.

Hardware-based Firewall with Active Security Subscription

Firewalls help prevent unauthorized access to your computer system. They’re the first layer of protection by acting as a filter between your computer network and the internet. A firewall monitors traffic and can block anything that looks suspicious according to security presets.

While there are software-based firewalls, typically used by residential users, they only protect a single computer, where a hardware-based firewall can protect an entire network and the computers attached to it.

Managed & Monitored Machine Level Antivirus/Anti-malware Program

A good antivirus and anti-malware program provides endpoint protection against a wide variety of malicious cyber-based threats. The best programs include several threat management protections in addition to antivirus and anti-malware, such as:

  • Antispam
  • Content Filtering
  • Email Protection
  • Mobile Security
  • Data Security
  • Intrusion Prevention

You want to ensure that the software you use not only protects your server, but that it protects your data at the machine level as well.

Network and Machine-based DNS Filtering

Have you ever gone to a website you’ve been to many times before, but suddenly instead of that familiar site, you were redirected to a malicious URL? Domains can be redirected if the security is breached and can be used to deliver ransomware and other malicious scripts.

The Domain Name System (DNS) controls which website comes up when you type in the address, and DNS filtering makes sure it isn’t a dangerous one or one that’s been hacked and redirected.

Regular Local & Cloud Backups of Critical Data

If you have all your critical data backed up and easily retrievable from either a local drive or cloud-based storage, you’ve essentially neutralized the threat from a ransomware attack.

Ransomware criminals depend upon being the only ones that can restore access to your data, but if you have another copy you can get restored yourself easily, you don’t have to be a victim.

Call Unity IT to Get Set Up with our Multi-Layered Threat Protection

Don’t wait until an attack has happened, get protection against ransomware and other cyberthreats now. Call us today for a free cybersecurity consultation at 559-297-1007.

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