The frequency of ransomware attacks on businesses continues to rise. They pose a threat to organizations of all sizes. Here are 5 basic ways you can protect your business IT infrastructure from this threat.
1. Antivirus Software Should be Used At All Times
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends continuous use of antivirus software. Despite the recommendation, there are opinions that advise against using it in some situations. How do you decide what to do?
Considering cybersecurity trends show threats against businesses are at an all-time high, this decision should not be taken lightly. Approximately 23,000 security risks have been registered globally and is expected to surpass 25,000 in 2021.
The best course of action is to assess your situation with an IT professional before you decide what to do. Make sure you understand your options. Inaction can be costly since even though you aren’t noticing any obvious signs of intrusion, malicious software can often run in the background. It might be collecting and distributing your sensitive business data for long periods of time when no action is taken to detect and remove it. Even if these corruptions aren’t doing notable harm, they can seriously impact how well your systems perform, bogging down your computers and network. When things don’t work as expected, it slows down your ability to efficiently run your business.
2. All computers routinely install security updates and patches.
Most businesses rely on an IT maintenance and management process to keep their technology operating at optimum efficiency. This includes making sure that all of the software your company relies on to operate is applying updates and patches as soon as they are released. Those who wait around are particularly vulnerable since the release of these updates brings attention to the problems they are intended to solve. Your business could wind up being specifically targeted simply by not being aware of and applying a simple software update.
3. Block access to known ransomware sites on the internet.
Learn how to identify malicious websites and educate your employees about these tactics on a regular basis. Your business should work closely with an IT professional to choose technology to use that will detect and block these types of threats.
4. Only allow authorized applications to run on computers and other devices.
Most businesses today rely on a firewall to control what applications can run on their network. Having one installed is only part of the solution. You’ll need to make sure it is kept up to date on a regular basis. Most businesses do this by establishing a routine cycle for evaluating their technology and IT infrastructure.
In addition to computers, tablets and smart phones, be sure to consider the broad range of equipment that is also making use of online connections. The Internet of Things continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This makes it easy to overlook something that poses a threat to your network security.
5. Maintain strict guidelines for use of personally owned devices on your business network and devices.
Do you have an acceptable use policy in place that governs how your employees can use their personal laptop, home computers, cell phones and other devices for conducting business activity? How about guidelines for how they can use the devices you provide to them? Many small businesses overlook this important step in safeguarding from ransomware attacks and other risks. Since human error is the most common reason companies fall victim to cyberattacks it is beneficial to spend the time to create a policy that gives clear instruction to employees.
Use these five steps to help you assess the level of threat your business may be facing when it comes to cyber security. If you find you need help implementing these suggestions, consider using an experienced IT managed services provider. By investing in your business IT environment, you add efficiency and prevent losses that happen behind the scenes and often aren’t being measured.