Is your business as protected as it can be from ransomware?

June 22nd, 2017 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here. Aaron O'Keeffe

You may have heard a bit about ransomware – but what actually is it, and how does it work? Ransomware is a small program that is installed on your computer – without you knowing – that encrypts your most important business data and makes the data inaccessible.

Once inside your computer network, it can then work its way through your network and encrypt data on ALL your computers and servers.

There are currently two ways ransomware can get into your network:

  • Most common is by someone opening an attachment in a bogus email that installs the ransomware on the computer
  • More recently (e.g. with the WannaCry ransomware), it enters via poorly protected networks and computers that haven’t been updated with the latest software patches.

Once the ransomware has locked up your data, the hackers responsible ask for a ransom to be paid in Bitcoin currency. If you pay the ransom, the hackers may (or may not) give you the decryption key that will give you access back to your important data.

This ransomware can affect any sized organisation in any location. The latest wave of WannaCry ransomware affected large companies and public organisations across the world, but it also affected smaller organisations.

One small business here in Australia lost 17 years of data and had to close the doors of their business while they got the issue sorted – an expensive exercise.

So put simply – ransomware can affect any business of any size at any time.

What to do

  1. Make sure that your computers have automatic software updates switched on. This way if your software vendor releases a critical security patch, it will automatically be applied to your computers.
  2. Invest in a quality email filtering solution. This will help block the bogus emails from coming in, which stops users from even seeing them, let alone opening the ransomware attachment.
  3. Invest in an enterprise-grade firewall. This will help prevent ransomware that is roaming the internet looking for vulnerable systems getting into your network.

These can be implemented at a relatively low cost. You don’t need to go out and buy a physical enterprise-grade firewall appliance with email scanning capabilities; there are plenty of hosted and managed firewall options available.

The hosted or managed options give you the advantage of only paying for what you need on a monthly subscription basis, so you don’t need to invest capital in protecting your business data and you will have peace of mind knowing that your firewall and email filtering will be looked after by the experts.

If you’re looking to protect your business against ransomware threats with a reliable hosted firewall and Australian-based customer support, contact us today for a discussion.

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About the author

Aaron O'Keeffe

Aaron works from an office in the tropical Northern Territory, inciting intense jealousy from his Victorian workmates during winter. He’s an expert in IT solutions from the ground up. Aaron is National Sales Manager of Aussie Broadband, which specialises in bespoke telco solutions for corporate and government customers.