The trend towards home working has been accelerating ever since the emergence of the internet, however, due to recent global events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, there are now more employees working from home than ever before. There are many positives to this, just as there are many negatives, but one thing that cannot be tainted by subjective argument is the fact that businesses must now be even more vigilant in regard to cyber security.
Any form of cyberattack or malware can be dangerous to a business. But with thousands of employees now working from home, the threat of ransomware is more significant than ever before, making it vital to improve awareness and enhance your security systems to combat this growing issue. Keeping your business backed up is just one of the ways you can improve your security and keep your business safe if the worst happens.
Ransomware is often highly sophisticated, and these types of malware are becoming harder and harder to detect – regardless of how informed your staff are, or how much you invest in firewalls and antivirus software. Using backups alongside promoting awareness and remaining vigilant is the best weapon you can have against ransomware. Backups help to reduce downtime, keep your data safe and ensure you don’t lose anything valuable into the hands of hackers.
Read on to find out more about ransomware and why backups are your best option to secure your business against this threat. As well as what kind of backups you should be using as a business to ensure optimum cybersecurity:
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a specific form of malware. Malware is often referred to as a type of computer virus, and generally, they are malicious programmes that access your computer to do any number of things. In the case of ransomware, the goal is to lock the user out of their network, leaving them unable to access business data or sensitive materials. This data is then held to ransom, hence the name. Typically, the hacker will request payment via an untraceable source such as cryptocurrency. Their goal is to extort money from your business, which many companies pay to ensure their information isn’t leaked or removed from them entirely.
NotPetya is one of the most well-known ransomware cyberattacks, though in that case, the purpose of the attack was to disrupt services as opposed to extorting money. This 2017 attack saw huge brands such as Mondelez International and TNT Express being infected by malware, bringing to light the importance of having proper cybersecurity measures in place always.
How can ransomware affect my business?
Ransomware can have a devastating impact on businesses of any size, especially if you don’t have any measures in place to prevent them or to ensure your company’s data is safe. This is the reason why many businesses end up paying out to hackers – because they need access to their data, and they didn’t have the forethought to put preventative measures or backups in place to ensure the safety of their business.
In the worst instances, ransomware can lead to a business’ data being wiped, putting you back to square one in the most expensive manner possible. In other cases, company computers aren’t released even after payment is made, which can be a costly mistake. You may think that malware attacks are something that happens to other businesses, not yours. But all it takes is an employee clicking a suspicious link or downloading unauthorised software, and the potential problem becomes a reality.
Why are backups the best defence against cyberattacks?
While there are multiple defences you can use against cyberattacks, including increasing awareness and investing in dedicated IT security, backups are high up on the list. Because ransomware primarily functions by removing your access to files and data, this is nowhere near as much of a threat if you have all that information and full backups stored elsewhere. This saves you time, money and stress in the majority of cases. Having a backup in place is an excellent defence because it takes away the hacker’s method of attack, rendering them far less effective.
Of course, backing up your business’ systems as and when you remember does little to help you because ideally, you want the most up-to-date version of your data and work, without a three or six-month gap since your last full backup. While it may be tempting to opt for the default backup option that Windows offers, this also isn’t a great idea. With backups that are also stored within your IT system, you’ll lose access to those files in addition to everything else in a cyberattack.
Instead, keeping your business safe from threats means investing a little extra cost and energy into a professional, viable and cyberattack-proof backup system. If it means keeping your business that bit safer from malware attacks, it’s more than worth the investment you put in up-front. While many companies have reduced their capacity or changed their processes during COVID-19, general cybersecurity and backups are something that should never be underestimated and should remain top priority no matter what.
What kind of backup should I use?
The ideal backup for your business IT to reduce the threat of malware is an off-site backup. This means that the backed-up version of your system is kept entirely separate to everything else, ensuring it cannot be accessed or overwritten easily. Cloud-based backups are an excellent choice for modern businesses, as they allow you to have separate backups without the need for on-site storage – which can also be at risk of damage or harm from other sources.
To effectively manage backups and ensure the highest standard of security, picking a cloud service provider with multi-factor authentication included is a great start. You also want to limit the access to your backup system, to reduce the chance of it being accessed by ransomware. Finally, picking a company that provides disaster recovery, ongoing management, and a high standard of reliability is a must in case the worst happens.
Finally, the backup you choose for your business should be set up to hold multiple copies and versions of your backed-up data. It’s recommended that you have at least a half-dozen versions of your business data stored in different backups and that new backups are created automatically within a set schedule. By using an automated system for backups, you can make sure that they are never forgotten or left out-of-date.
Keeping your business safe against malware and ransomware means taking the steps needed to improve your cybersecurity. Backups are a great place to start, ensuring your data is never lost should a cyberattack occur – reducing the stress surrounding these incidents, and keeping your company data safe in the long-term.