In recent years, ransomware attacks have been circling the mainstream news. Worldwide, major companies are falling victim to ransomware attacks, resulting in millions of dollars lost and significant damage to their reputation. It seems as though no matter the strength of your information security management system (ISMS), malware and ransomware attacks are possible.
While it is unfortunate that any organization should experience a ransomware attack, the silver lining is that they can strengthen their security for the future - and other organizations can learn from their mistakes. In efforts to help you avoid the same fate as so many organizations, we have assembled a list of lessons that can be learned from recent attacks.
Company-Wide Cybersecurity Training
Often when people think of malware and ransomware attacks, they picture a master-hacker breaking into a company’s network and releasing a virus or leaking information. In reality, many hackers don’t have to put much work into accessing a company’s network infrastructure if there is a gap in security. All a hacker has to do is identify vulnerabilities that already exist in a company’s network and look for an “open window” to get in.
An example of this would be phishing attempts used to access a company’s network. Say a team member is checking their email and finds one that is legitimate-looking, perhaps even appearing to be from someone within the organization. When instructed to click a link, if a team member is to do so, they will unintentionally grant the hacker access to the company’s network.
While most modern organizations teach their employees to look out for phishing attempts, email is still the most frequent method of spreading ransomware. If employees are not educated on the risks of breach attacks such as these, it’s an easy way for a hacker to get in.
For this reason, organizations must provide company-wide cybersecurity training for their team members. Even beyond phishing attempts, employees need to be aware of risks such as using company devices on a public network or even using personal devices on the company’s network. Things that may seem simple and harmless could be posing a significant threat to your organization’s security - one that could result in a major ransomware attack.
A helpful mindset to adopt when it comes to cybersecurity is zero-trust. Zero-trust security is the belief that organizations should never automatically trust anything and instead verify everything that attempts to connect to or enter their network. Not only will team members learn to think twice about authorizing access to users, but they themselves will embrace additional security measures such as two-factor authentication. Implementing such protocols can save you significantly in the future.
Implement 24/7 Network Monitoring
Continuing with this example, once a hacker gains access to a company’s network, it is absolutely vital that it is caught as soon as possible. A skilled hacker can go unnoticed in a company’s network for days, resulting in significant damage. The more time a hacker has to plant ransomware and leak data - the harder it will be for your company to recover from the attack.
While many organizations utilize some type of antivirus software, most are ill-equipped to deal with ransomware. By the time your IT team starts working against the hacker, it may be too late. For this reason, it is crucial that companies practice 24/7 monitoring on their ISMS. Such monitoring will ensure that if a breach occurs, it can be caught promptly, minimizing damage.
Even better than catching a breach in time is preventing it entirely. With 24/7 monitoring, organizations can identify breach attempts, stopping attackers before they gain access to your network at all. The right monitoring tools can also help organizations identify irregular logins from users, incorrect password attempts, use of insecure networks, and users trying to gain access to unauthorized areas. Preventative measures such as this are key to staying ahead of cybersecurity attacks and protecting your organization.
Data Protection is More Than Insurance
While acting proactively is key when it comes to cybersecurity, sometimes you have no choice but to act reactively. Should a ransomware attack occur, your organization needs to go into recovery mode immediately. For this reason, you need not only the tools to help you prevent cybersecurity attacks but the tools to help you recover from one. That being said, with a major attack, it can be challenging to determine how to go about the recovery process.
Many organizations make the mistake of believing that beyond insurance and antivirus software, there isn’t much else to do concerning cybersecurity attacks. While adequate insurance can be a life-saver when it comes to hefty cybersecurity costs, that does little to help your company actually recover.
Not only do you need to retrieve the data you may have lost, but you also need to rebuild your reputation and make amends with customers that may have been affected. Hopefully, if you were thinking proactively, your organization practices regular backups. If so, you should be able to regain much of the data that was compromised. If you have yet to begin conducting regular data and system backups - it’s time to start.
Outsource Your Cybersecurity
While implementing all of these new security practices and protocols may seem daunting - it is well worth it. By revamping your ISMS, your organization can drastically reduce the risk of ransomware and malware attacks. Acting proactively with data backups and 24/7 monitoring is key to preventing and stopping attacks, ensuring that your organization does not face the same fate as others.
Still, many organizations recognize the need to improve their ISMS but lack the resources or personnel to do so effectively. Fortunately, there is a solution. By outsourcing your cybersecurity needs, companies can receive expert-level cybersecurity resources. With a managed service provider (MSP), your organization can drastically strengthen its ISMS without dropping a major investment.
Even if your organization has already faced a cybersecurity attack, an MSP can help you to not only recover your losses but improve security and business in the long run. MSPs will manage and monitor the health of your business's technological environment, ensuring that a ransomware attack will not ruin your business.
Even better, an MSP paired with a managed security service provider (MSSP) can accelerate your cybersecurity efforts further. While MSPs have the overarching knowledge to manage your IT infrastructure efficiently, MSSPs have the niche cybersecurity expertise to protect your company’s data.
With the support of these two providers, your organization will operate efficiently and seamlessly, without worry of the growing threat of cybercrime. Preventing, detecting, and responding to cybersecurity threats is essential today when ransomware attacks are significant and frequent. Fortunately, with the right tools and support, hackers are no match for the strength and security of your organization.
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