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3 Easy Ways to Make Your Company Immune to Cyber Ransom Attacks

3 Easy Ways to Make Your Company Immune to Cyber Ransom Attacks

Mar 29 2016

When was the last time you took stock of your company’s data? Businesses large and small build up enormous amounts of data – from customer information to internal accounting records – and can easily lose track of where it’s all stored or the date of their last backup. These and other seemingly small oversights are the leading causes of cyber-ransom attacks, and incidents are on the rise. Is your network protected?

Earlier this year, the issue came to the forefront when a Hollywood, CA hospital was hit with a cyber ransom attack. Hackers used ransomware to encrypt the hospital’s own data, refusing to provide a decryption key unless they received the demanded payment. According to a Fortune article on the attack, hospital employees, locked out of their email servers, were forced to rely on fax to communicate. Certain tests, scans, and even patients’ medical records were also inaccessible. And while law enforcement did get involved, there is often little that they can do in these cases if the attack is untraceable.

In these scenarios, companies often decide to quietly pay the price for the problem to go away. But that’s not the only, and certainly not the ideal solution. The best way to handle a ransomware attack is to make your network immune – and it’s likely much easier than you think.

 

The 3 Keys to Making Your Company Immune to Cyber Ransom Attacks

Get Into Good Network Habits

If you have your finger on the pulse of your company’s network security, you likely know the “best practices” to keep the network running safely and smoothly.

  1. Back up your data regularly, and have a process to load that data for immediate use.
  2. Patch your computers with updates, security protocols, and bug fixes as soon as they become available.
  3. Classify data and monitor the location and distribution of sensitive corporate documents or intellectual property.
  4. 24/7 visibility and security of critical data on your network. 

Making these good network behaviors a habit within your organization is a simple and extremely effective way to keep your data safe, even when an attack happens. 

Monitor Your Network

A system of network packet brokers and taps, used with tools to analyze the network data, will help your organization detect threats at early stages and monitor their activity. Network packet brokers and taps will give your IT organization the visibility it needs to proactively keep your network secure; while knowing your network architecture inside and out is critical to deploying these tools effectively. 

Have an Incident Response Plan in Place

Even with these protections in place, cyber ransom attacks, and other network security breaches, can still happen. If your data is backed up and accounted for, your organization will be able to get back on its feet much faster and can potentially avoid engaging with the hackers all together. Effectively managing your network before, during, and after an attack should start with a company-wide incident response plan. This will help guide your employees as they evaluate the attack, consider solutions, and, if necessary brief customers on the situation and offer assistance.

Even as security threats get more advanced and complex, many of the preventative measures to avoid such incidents remain the same. Getting into good network habits like data backup and implementing security updates are simple, effective ways to prevent security issues, and to recover quickly if an incident does occur. Knowing your network architecture and deploying the tools to monitor it will put ‘eyes and ears’ at critical points in your network. And most importantly, being prepared to handle an incident before it happens will help your organization get back up and running more quickly and smoothly.

Datacom Systems can help you get started with our white paper, Developing an Effective Incident Response Plan, available for download here