Which type of business leader are you?
One kind reads headlines about ransomware attacks and doesn’t know if he needs to take action and, if so, where to start to ensure that he is protected. The other kind knows the status of her systems, the protections in place, and whether the attacks seen in Europe apply to her systems, and knows that even if attacked, backups/restoration capabilities are at the ready.
Business leaders in the second group have ‘reassurance’. They know what they need to know, they know what’s most important, and they know their protections are in place and are up to the task.
TIPS FOR PREVENTING RANSOMWARE
- Deploy reputable, multilayered, endpoint security. The best way to combat malware, including ransomware, is to never let it infect you to begin with. The key is to be proactive. Have next-generation endpoint security to protect from viruses that come through web browsing. Control your outbound traffic, protect system settings, and proactively stop phishing attacks through continuous monitoring and updating.
- Deploy backup and disaster recovery. If proactive lines of defense fail and you encounter a crypto-ransomware infection, your best choice is to recover data (through backups) and minimize downtime (through disaster recovery.) Have a cloud-based backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution with data backups on site and off site. A backup is only as successful as the last recovery test, so be sure to monitor and perform test restorations often.
- Patch, patch, monitor, patch. Patch and keep your operating system, browsers, Adobe Flash Player, Java, MS Office, and other software up to date. The latest ransomware, like WannaCry, exploits vulnerabilities in unpatched software. This also means that legacy operating systems such as Windows XP and Vista, that do not receive weekly patches, should be replaced where possible.
- Create strong Windows policies. Using the power of access control and security features of Active Directory and having your computers in a properly secured Windows domain can prevent ransomware from installing. A best practice is to use your workstation without local administrator permissions. Log in with an admin account only when changes are needed. This approach will prevent malicious software from installing and encrypting your data.
- Educate users. Ninety-five percent of security breaches are caused by human error, and ransomware infections are no exception. As long as employees are unaware and uneducated on the risks of the Internet, malware will continue to thrive. Educate your staff on the dangers of ransomware, and how to recognize its warning signs. Services are available that simulate attacks by periodically sending employees fake phishing emails to see who is not following security best practices. It’s important that you have the technical support and the educational support.