We are all well aware of how detrimental ransomware attacks are, but very few people know what they are or how they even work. Below, we will answer some more common questions and discuss how ransomware becomes detrimental to a business.
What Is It?
Ransomware is classified as malware installed on a target’s device, making certain files inaccessible to a user unless they pay for their release. Most criminals resort to employing the use of ransomware as a way to earn some quick cash.
Victims will usually receive not-so-empty threats that, without payment, they’ll never gain access to their needed files again, or their data will get leaked online for the public to see. This is a major concern for companies and businesses with a reputation to uphold.
Ransomware attacks aren’t just costly for businesses to remedy, but they often cause a great deal of downtime and result in data theft. In most cases, corporations are forced to pay attackers in cryptocurrency as a way to regain control of their missing files.
The malicious nature of ransomware makes it easy to spread from device to device and will often affect multiple systems within an organization. For this reason, companies need to educate employees on ransomware attacks and take the necessary steps to protect against them.
How Can A Ransomware Attack Affect Your Business?
Though the above sections have briefly touched upon this topic, we will outline the detrimental effects of ransomware attacks on a business in more detail.
Loss Of Business
Suppose the ransomware succeeds in encrypting specific files on company computers. In that case, your business may have to shut down for days or weeks in an effort to remedy the situation. One prime example of how ransomware can nearly destroy a business is by taking a look at what happened to Colonial Pipeline, a company on the East Coast that had to shut down its operations for some time. As a result, there were severe gas shortages.
In short, a ransomware attack not only forces consumers to lose faith in a company but can also impact revenue.
Loss Of Funding
As a company, you will have to ultimately make the decision whether or not to pay for the release of your ransomed files. Though worldwide regulatory organizations advise companies against paying ransomware attackers, the fact remains that many choose to do so for fear of the outcomes. This is a choice you will have to make, but it comes at a high cost totaling thousands of dollars worth of damage.
Apart from losing money, the downside is not knowing whether attackers will actually hold up their end of the deal. Even if you pay as instructed, there are no guarantees!
The overall costs associated with ransomware attacks are widely variable depending on the severity of the attack, the type of company affected, and the amount of data that’s being held for ransom. For example, a corporation may get instructions to pay millions of dollars; a small business may only have to pay hundreds to have its files released.
Damage To Your Reputation
If news gets out of your company being attacked (it probably will), your reputation could suffer significant damage. As a result of the attack, client and customer data may get leaked or compromised. As such, they may refuse to do business with your organization and advise others against doing so. This won’t just make it hard for your company to retain existing customers, but to gain new partnerships later on.
Stuck Paying Fines
Besides the fact that client data may get compromised, your company may also get slapped with regular fines due to the leaked data; This is an additional burden on your already strained finances.
Is There Anything You Can Do To Minimize Damage?
You can protect your bottom line and your company’s reputation by proactively having a ransomware attack response strategy in place. This entails backing up your essential data and enacting security measures that protect against attacks.
The most effective method of dealing with a ransomware attack is ensuring that you have backups of your data and an emergency response should the need arise. Preparation is key to minimizing the damage and after-effects of cyber attacks.
There are quite a few options available for you to choose from when backing up your data. You will need to evaluate each option to see if it fits your organization’s needs.
It’s possible to have on-site backup storage in place where you store important data on local servers or drives. This is a solid game plan if you have the necessary means to manage your backup on-site.
Many companies, however, opt for off-site backup management options. This usually means sending your data to get backed up on the cloud somewhere else. This provides an additional layer of protection while minimizing the resources necessary.
Once your company files are adequately backed up, an incident response plan needs to be established. This plan should quickly outline how data is restored in case of an attack.
Ransomware attacks are both malicious and harmful to companies worldwide. They can drain bank accounts while also causing clients to second guess their choice for dealing with an organization. From reputation troubles to costly budget cuts, ransomware is no joke!
The only truly effective way to get a handle on potential ransomware attacks is to have stringent guidelines in place. By backing up your data and having an incident plan ready, your company can act quickly in case the worst occurs.