In the first half of 2021 over 1097 organisations in the UK were hit by ransomware attacks. But what is ransomware? How does it happen? And are you at risk? Keep reading to find out…
You’re about to get a crash course on everything you need to know.
Every year businesses lose hundreds of thousands to ransomware that could have been easily avoided. And every year the ransomware evolves, targeting vulnerable industries that rely on computer systems and cloud storage.
The whole ordeal of a ransomware attack wastes your valuable time, costs your business not just the ransom amount - but even more if the software doesn’t actually give you access to your data after you’ve paid their ransom!
Sounds nightmarish, right? More like a Die Hard movie plot than something business owners should have to worry about.
But you need to understand what ransomware is and how it happens so you know how to properly protect your business and your data.
What is Ransomware
In a nutshell, ransomware attacks are a type of unwanted software that makes its way into your computer system or network. Once it’s in there, the software locks down your data and files behind a digital wall, only giving you access again once a ransom is paid.
Imagine the computer system in your business filled with the most important information you have in your digital records - maybe that’s client data or core files? Now visualise that system being locked up, giving you no access to that information until you pay a fee of anything from £500 to £150,000.
Luckily, you can keep all that from happening pretty easily. Ransomware can be prevented completely, and it doesn’t have to cost you a ransom either (sorry, couldn’t resist).
How It Happens
The key to preventing ransomware attacks is knowing exactly how they happen.
By getting into your device or network, ransomware locks the data stored there until you pay for it. But how does that work?
It all starts with a tipping point...
To begin with, the ransomware has to make its way onto your device. Things like email phishing scams, virus downloads and links from unknown sources are all the usual suspects for letting ransomware in.
Once the software is on your device it basically holds your data hostage.
The Chaos It Causes
Once a malware attack like this has started, it can be intense and stressful. You wouldn’t be able to access your data, so your business would grind to a halt. Depending on how data-dependent your business is you could find yourself locked out of your emails, your files and even your client contact details.
While you might be able to afford to pay the ransom amount, the software doesn’t often just go away, so it can put a real spanner in the works.
Businesses sometimes take months to get back up to speed after big data loss like that.
You’ve probably had a day or two where the system went down for one reason or another, and it puts everyone out of flow. Emails go unanswered, info can’t be retrieved. If nothing else, it really is a pain to regroup from all the havoc of a cyber attack like ransomware.
The True Cost Of Recovery
Of course, before you can start recovering from an attack on your computer system, you’ve got to get out of it first.
Let’s talk about the cost of ransomware.
Ransomware is costing UK companies £346 million a year. Now, paying the ransom asked is a pretty bad idea, because as we mentioned it’s unlikely the cyber criminals are going to actually give up the goods when they get your money.
The best way to save your money? And your business?
Keep your business protected from the start.
How To Protect Your Business
Surprisingly, it doesn’t take a lot to protect your business from ransomware attacks.
What you can do:
Use antivirus software (and keep it updated).
Backup your data using a cloud service so information isn’t held solely on your system.
Set up recovery with your backup so that even if you lose all of your data you can retrieve it.
Use a managed anti-virus solution, where a team of IT experts constantly monitor your system and report regularly on your cyber security.
If you want to avoid ransomware nightmares - and we’re guessing you probably do- don’t worry. There are plenty of affordable and simple steps you can take to protect your computer system and your business alike.