Top 4 tips to protect your business against ransomware and prevent hidden costs

25 Jun 2018

Ransomware attacks represent a growing and evolving threat to business’ computer systems, and as the name suggests, they can also pose significant financial risk. In short, ransomware is a criminal activity that involves infecting computers with a virus that blocks users from accessing their business-critical or sensitive data, until they pay a ransom.

Ransomware can be highly profitable and is increasingly popular among cyber criminals with new ransomware attacks taking place all the time. Fortunately, though, there are several simple but effective ways to tackle it, and here BackupVault looks at the top four ways to protect your business against established and new ransomware techniques. Anti-virus software is there to help, but it only plays a small part in ransomware protection, and it doesn’t replace your data if an attack is successful. There’s much more you can do – and it needn’t be time-consuming, expensive or complicated.

The following tips can help you avoid ransomware attacks, and the associated costs of dealing with the aftermath if they succeed in hijacking your data.

What are the hidden costs of ransomware?

The ransom itself is the least of your worries, as paying it is the last thing you should do (unless you’ve got no back-up system in place, in which case you should definitely read this article carefully). The true costs of ransomware attacks lie in the potential loss of access to data, and how that can affect your business operations. There’s also the reputational expense of having to declare data compromise, even if customers don’t directly experience the effects.

Restoring data from a backup can also be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you have to employ specialist help with rebuilding servers and ensuring backup data all ends up in the right place, with the right permissions… and enjoys increased protection against potential future attacks.

  • 1. Restore any impacted files from a good backup

You should have a comprehensive backup of your files, data and applications on a cloud backup or disk-based solution... or preferably a combination of the two. If you don’t, you should really look into this as a priority, as it not only protects you against data loss or compromise through hardware loss or failure, but also allows you to restore everything as it was before the ransomware attack. This also means you can ignore the criminals’ demands for payment to release your digital hostages!

  • 2. Use different login details for backup storage

Make sure you have a strong username and password that’s completely unique to your disk-based backups and online cloud backup. Sounds obvious, but so many businesses and individuals overlook this simple strategy for protecting against ransomware. If usernames and passwords are the same – or even similar, in order to remain more memorable – this plays in to the hands of ransomware attackers. When considering how to stop ransomware attacks, at the very least, using different login details for cloud backup– online or hardware-based – will make uninvited access to far more difficult and time-consuming, and will often prevent it entirely.

  • 3. Have offsite backup as part of your strategy

Offsite backup solutions can play a key role in your anti-ransomware strategy. For one, having an up-to-date backup away from your business premises means you know a ransomware attack can’t reach those files or data via the network you’re connected to when it happens. What’s more, when you’ve identified and fully removed the ransomware from your computers and systems, you know you have a clean and relatively current backup to get you back on track and avoid the hidden costs. If you have a local disk-based backup it is vulnerable to getting infected by the ransomware as well.

If you do have this ransomware attack experience, however, it makes sense to make a further copy of that offsite backup before you reinstate data. Just to be sure…

  • 4. Take entire server image backups

Taking storage ‘images’ is another highly effective way to protect your data, and to shorten your recovery time if ransomware attacks succeed. The term ‘image’ is slightly misleading, as it’s actually a complete backup of everything you specify, from a single hard drive partition up to its entire contents. It’s a fully time-stamped replica of your data, so if you’re wondering how to avoid ransomware and its knock-on effects, it’s a great option.

Image backups simply require a system imaging programme that copies everything on your drive, bit by bit. All you need to do then is back that up – preferably to hardware and to a cloud solution for greater protection and peace of mind. BackupVault can automate this entire process for you.

Take action on ransomware – not risks

The key to dealing successfully with ransomware is to be prepared, by implementing some or all of the tips we’ve mentioned here. The investment is minimal compared to the impact ransomware could otherwise have on your business and its reputation if data is lost or compromised. Plus, you’ll avoid ever being in the position where you even consider paying the ransom. For more information on our backup solutions, visit out online backup page. Alternatively, if you would like to make an enquiry, please contact us.