The new year will bring many things for organizations. For some, it is a time to pause and hit the reset button on things that may not have gone their way in 2016. For others, they may look to continue and build on the success they achieved last year. Regardless of what 2016 may have held for your business, there is one thing all businesses need to take serious for the upcoming year: defending themselves against ransomware. Ransomware attacks will continue to happen to organizations all over the globe and the expectation is these attacks will be more devastating in 2017. There are things you can and should be doing TODAY to protect against a ransomware attacks crippling your business.

  • Review and understand your technical controls. 
    • Where is your most important data housed?
    • Do you understand what files and data your users access and when?
    • What users have what privileges and permissions?
    • Is all of this info and more being backed up and stored in a centralized logging and monitoring system?
    • Do you have a complete audit of all of your hardware and devices, software, and security configurations?
    • Do you understand your data recovery capabilities? Are your systems and data protected in case a disaster or attack should occur?
  • Incident & Disaster Recovery Plan. Once your technical controls are correct and you feel confident with them, this is your next step. 
    • Decide who should be responsible for your incident & disaster plan at your organization?  Make sure this person understands their role and how to execute the plan. If you choose to use an outside IT Consultant to manage your incident & disaster recovery plan, you will still need to appoint an inside person to be the liaison.
    • What is your specific plan for a ransomware attack? Ransomware attacks need to be handled differently than other types of disasters, so a separate plan makes sense. It is also wise to take a stance on paying the ransomware or not prior to being in a position when you need to make a decision. The best and most logical decisions are made when you aren’t under stress.
    • Understand how long it will take your organization to recover your backups in case something should happen? It is important to understand this timeline in case of a catastrophic ransomware attack, since that should weigh into your planning.
    • Test that your backups are working and are effective. If they don’t stand up to testing, how will they ever come through for you after an attack. Simple: they won’t.
  • Trial run.
    • Practice makes perfect. You will never be able to properly gauge your organizations readiness to handle an attack unless you experience it, or simulate one. You can simulate an attack in a controlled environment. There are many open-source simulation software available to choose from.
    • It is important that any member of your team (internal or external) that will be called upon if a real attack happens be involved in the trial run or simulation exercises. If you don’t practice it the same way you expect it to be carried out in a real attack, don’t expect it to go smooth. You will never play better than you practice.
    • Do not, i repeat…do not be afraid to rely heavily on your IT Consultant. They are experts at what they do and can give an organization the opportunity to be protected better than they typically can do on their own. Ransomware is always changing and evolving, so you really need someone to continually monitor the different types of ransomware and the breach points within the organization.

Ransomware is not black and white, which means it is forever going to be changing and the answer to protecting against an attack is never going to be 100% clear. The time and money invested to protect your organization against it is worth it and more. Get educated. Get prepared. Stay educated. Stay prepared.  Find a reliable IT Consultant to partner with and work hard to stay ahead of the hackers. 2W Tech has qualified IT Consultants on staff that specialize in backup & disaster recovery solutions. They have experience with incident & disaster plans and would be happy to partner with your organization to guarantee your protection from ransomware attacks and other outside threats.
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