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Ransomware: How to Protect Your Small Business

It’s one of the most worrying and dangerous developments in cybercrime over recent years. Ransomware can capture your small business systems and lock you out. It is an increasing and global threat that can prevent you from operating, cost you money and destroy your reputation in a matter of days.

What is it?

It’s malware that can get in your computer and essentially lock up all your systems so your business can’t function. The only way to get your data and content back is to pay a ransom to the person who has installed the malware on your computer or network. The virus can be contained in a clickable link or download on an email and small business are generally at greater risk if they don’t train their employees to watch out for such attacks.

Why is it so harmful?

The success of ransomware attacks has been so great that it has spawned thousands of different pieces of malware. These can be sent randomly to a huge number of companies and homes within a few seconds. If you or someone receives such an email and clicks on the link, the malware is installed, and it will freeze up your computer. The next thing you know, you’re being asked for money to access your files and get into your business software.

How Could It Impact Your Business?

Ransomware could stop your business in its tracks. In the UK, over half of businesses have been subjected to an attack of this sort. Even a small business in London could see itself being asked for up to £10,000 to unlock their files. Don’t think that you’re too small a fish for hackers to bother – they’re actually more interested in you than those big corporations.

How to Protect Your Business

  • You need to have in place a good IT support service that can help you put in the right processes to protect you and your staff from ransomware.
  • You should have an IT security policy that makes all existing and new staff aware of the potential threats and what they can and cannot do.
  • Strong IT support means that your small business is working with the latest software, updated patches, email filtering and anti-virus solutions that combine to significantly improve your chances of surviving a ransomware attack.
  • That IT system has a robust back up system that means if you are a victim of an attack you can be up and running again in good time.

Any small business should be investing in protection from ransomware. That means working with your IT support, educating staff and creating a robust IT security policy which lies at the heart of maintaining your safety online.