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How Can Managed IT Services Protect My Company From Ransomware?

December 18, 2018 at 9:20 AM / by Juan Fernandez - VP of Managed IT Services

In this digital age, there are countless threats to the data systems of businesses. Hackers are constantly looking for the newest way to gain access to important information. 

This problem is compounded by the number of connected devices employees use throughout the day. There was a time when IT departments only had to worry about the security of the desktop computers on the network. Now, there are laptops, printers, tablets, smartphones, and other connected devices like smart speakers that provide hackers with a new point of entry.

Ransomware attacks are a growing method that hackers implement to disrupt the operations of businesses around the world. However, ransomware doesn’t just cause disruptions; it can cost businesses a lot of money directly out of pocket. Are managed IT services the solution to protect your company from this devastating form of attack?

What is a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware is malicious software that is often sent to unsuspecting victims by way of email. In fact, this type of attack has become so popular among hackers that 64% of all malicious emails contain are considered as ransomware.

As the name suggests, a ransomware attack holds your computer’s files ransom. Just like in the movies where the bad guys hold a person captive in order to receive payment, a ransomware attack demands payment from affected users in order to release locked files. A timeline is often provided before the files are permanently deleted.

Worst of all, ransomware attacks are often very profitable for hackers which only encourages the behavior more. In 2017, Maersk paid $200 million to hackers for the NotPetya ransomware attack. That’s just one example of a massive payment made by one company to one group of hackers. With dozens of different ransomware attacks being used regularly there are endless stories of companies big and small being affected by these disruptive and costly hacks.

Which Businesses are Targeted by Ransomware?

While ransomware attacks do tend to affect some businesses more regularly than others; no business is immune to attacks from hackers looking for a payday. Even individual users can be affected by ransomware attacks with some hackers asking for amounts as little as $150 to release the locked files on a personal computer. Sending out a malicious email and demanding payment requires little effort on the part of the hacker so there is no need for hackers to land big fish when a large number of small fish will also get them the results they want.

The businesses often targeted most by ransomware attacks are businesses that hold on to a large amount of personal information. Health care providers, schools or colleges, banks, and other large businesses are prime targets for hackers. 

However, that’s not to say that smaller businesses are immune. In fact, as larger businesses invest more in security, companies that fail to keep up may become easier targets for hackers.

How can Businesses Prevent Ransomware Attacks?

Stopping a ransomware attack before it takes hold in your network is the best way to avoid the headache that can come after the malicious software is installed on your device. This begins with employee education. 

In most cases, ransomware is delivered in the form of an email attachment. Employees should be taught never to open emails or attachments that they are not expecting. When in doubt, picking up the phone and calling the sender of the email to verify the contents can help clear up any confusion.

Businesses should also have a clear understanding of the devices on their network. This allows IT staff to ensure all devices are updated regularly to help avoid security holes that could make it easier for hackers to launch an attack.

If an attack is leveled against your company then the right preparation can help reduce the damage done to your business's reputation, operational capacity, and bottom line. Daily backups that are saved to a secure, remote location can help IT teams restore encrypted data instead of paying hackers. Keeping important data saved on separate drives rather than one network drive can also help reduce the effect of a ransomware attack.

Learning how to prevent ransomware in your business can save you money and, best of all, the practices learned from preventing ransomware are relevant to many other areas of network security. 

Of course, education is just one aspect of prevention. Active management of network devices, backups, and software updates is essential as well.

How Do Managed IT Services Help?

When you need support, our centralized help desk is there to answer your questions. ImageNet offers next level service, support, and security for your business in today’s digital environment. Our expert team works around the clock, seven days a week to ensure that your business has the protection it requires.

Contact us to learn more about available managed IT services.

Topics: IT Services , Ransomware Attacks , Ransomware , Prevent Ransomware , Managed IT Services

Written by Juan Fernandez - VP of Managed IT Services

Juan Fernandez is the VP of Managed IT Services for Imagenet Consulting. He has been in the IT industry for over 22 years. Over the last 22+ years, he has worked for several companies, such as San Juan College, Honeywell International, and Sandia Labs. With proficiencies on HIPPA and PCI, compliance he has focused on small business, government, education, healthcare, and financial industries. Juan believes in best of breed technologies education and certifications and was recently selected to assist in writing the CompTIA A+ and Security + tests and was also invited to participate in validating the CASP (CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner). Juan was also selected to join the CompTIA Subject Matter Expert Technical Advisory board. He is dedicated to improving service delivery through embracing effective and efficient use of technology, creating effective business models for delivering new IT-based services such as SaaS, DRaaS, and HaaS. Juan is active in technology collaborations related to strategy, computer infrastructure, and cybersecurity. He has served as a leader to many organizations and is an experienced presenter at technology seminars and conferences. Juan holds a BS degree in computer science from Western Governors University, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, Cisco Certified Network Administrator and Network +, Security +, A+ Certified, Certified Internet web professional.

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