Alert! Alert! Ransomware can be stopped!

What’s the number one data threat to small businesses?  Ransomware.  No question about it.
If you’re not familiar with that term, ransomware is a kind of virus or malware that does some pretty nasty things.
The main thing that it does is it gets into all of your documents and locks you out of them.  Basically, ransomware encrypts all of your files with a nearly unbreakable password.
Then when it’s done, it posts a message asking you to pay a ransom to get your files back.
This is very serious.  If you get hit with ransomware, you have only 2 options: One, you can restore all of your files from backups (assuming you have good backups.)  Two, you can pay the ransom, and hope that the bad guys actually send you the password to unlock your files.  Sometimes they do, but sometimes they don’t.
A typical story goes like this: a company gets infected with a ransomware malware, and the company doesn’t have good backups.  Or, they have good backups, but the backup drives are connected to the same server that gets infected.  So the ransomware encrypts the backups too.  Zoiks!
Even worse then that, when the company tries to pay the ransom, they are unable to do so, or they pay it and do not receive the password to decrypt their files.
How can you possibly keep yourself protected from this terrible threat?
Two things:
  1. Backups backups backups!  That means on-site backups, off-site backups, daily backups, operating-system backups, workstation backups, and more backups.  Seriously, no one ever regretted making too many backups.
  2. Lots of security – antivirus software, a web filtering service, a business-class router, and workstation and server monitoring
There’s actually one more thing that takes care of all of this for you… Meet with your IT company regularly.  Several former clients of mine rejected numerous attempts to have IT strategy meetings, and paid the price of IT disasters later on.
Your IT company knows how to protect you from disasters like ransomware.   Have those monthly IT meetings and be absolutely convinced you have all the protective services in place.  Let the IT company do their job, and if they recommend more security or better backups, do it.
A small company that gets hit with the ransomware will get hurt pretty bad.  They might have to start over with much of their data.  Their company data history is gone.  It will set them back many months and cost thousands.
Simple steps can protect you from this serious threat.
I have an IT evaluation kit that you can go through to confirm you have the right security pieces in place.  Get it here.