8 Simple Ways to Protect Your Company from Ransomware

There was once a Japanese cosmetics company with a frustrating problem.

Something about their assembly line was broken. Occasionally, an empty soapbox would arrive at the end of the line. The empty boxes looked just like the full ones. But customers were understandably upset if they went home with an empty box.

Initial attempts to solve the problem were elaborate. Some versions of the story say the company installed a scale at the end of the assembly line. Other versions say they used x-rays. In both versions, when an empty box was discovered an alarm went off.

But one innovative employee found an easier fix. He set a fan at the end of the assembly line. When an empty box popped up, it got blown off. Problem solved.

Here’s the moral: complex problems don’t always require complex solutions.

Simple Ransomware Tips

Ransomware is certainly a complex problem. A successful ransomware attack can devastate your company.

But defeating ransomware isn’t all that difficult. Just stick to the following 8 ransomware tips.

1. Train your people.

Phishing attacks happen via email. They’re vehicles for malware. Click on the wrong link, and you’re vulnerable to malicious software.

The key to stopping phishing is employee education. If your people don’t click on dangerous links, the threat goes nowhere.

2. Watch out for social media.

Unfortunately, phishing is no longer limited to email. Cyber attacks via social media are on the rise by as much as 500%.

Your employees are going to use your network to access social media. That’s nearly a guarantee. When they do, make sure they understand the need to be careful with what they access and diligent to avoid downloads.

3. Upgrade Windows.

The recent Petya ransomware attack targeted PCs running Windows 7 almost exclusively.

We understand the hesitancy to upgrade. You and your staff are comfortable with the current version. It will take time to learn a new one. But running old, outdated software leaves you vulnerable. Upgrade as new versions come out.

4. Keep up with updates.

Upgrades aren’t the only maintenance you need. It’s important to maintain with updates, as well.

Yes, Those annoying messages that pop up on your computer. The ones you typically dismiss because, darn it, you’re right in the middle of something.

As TechRepublic reported, “The vulnerabilities exploited in the Petya attack had already been addressed by Microsoft ‘critical’ patches released in March.” Up-to-date systems were protected well before Petya happened.

5. Change your passwords. Regularly.

This certainly won’t qualify as the most sophisticated ransomware tip on our list, but don’t forget about passwords.

Employees should change passwords regularly. We recommend a new password every 90 days. And don’t fall into typical password pitfalls. You need a different password for each service, and your passwords need to be strong.

6. Have a plan.

More specifically, a business continuity plan.

All the cybersecurity in the world won’t protect you 100% of the time. You need to know what you’ll do if you get infected.

That’s what business continuity is all about. Even if the worst happens, a business continuity plan helps you keep your business up and running.

7. Watch the news.

We also recommend keeping up to date with current tech events. You won’t even have to read obscure IT journals.

When a new form of ransomware hits, there’s substantial coverage. Your major news outlet of choice will almost certainly let you know.

Just pay attention. When there’s an attack, dig in. Find out what you need to do to keep your business safe.

8. Partner up.

Our final ransomware tip is perhaps the easiest. Partner up with an IT expert.

Sure, it constitutes an expense. But there’s real value in the kind of insight the pros bring to the table. Even if you’re fairly tech-savvy, a skilled IT partner will have considerably more insight.

Certus Knows Cybersecurity

Here at Certus, we have a proven track record of providing top-notch cybersecurity. We’d be happy to help you get yours up to par. Give us a call and let us know how we can help.

About The Author

Evan BerkEvan Berk is Managing Partner at Certus Technologies, an IT Managed and Cloud Services firm that specializes in helping clients dramatically improve their business productivity.

Evan is passionate about simplifying and demystifying complex Information Technology systems and believes that the best IT systems should make our lives easier and more productive, both in the workplace and at home. He can be contacted at EBerk@CertusTechnologies.com or at 973-944-5000.

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