Warding off the blues of ransomware

Don't let your data get frozen by ransomware this winter

dock woman lonely

When we turned back the clocks in preparation for the cold, I heard lots of sighing from all of those who dread the winter months. We must face it, winter is coming. And with it, come the winter blues. 

Many of us go into some form of hibernation mode, whether it's stuffing our faces with Halloween candy, stocking up on kindling and firewood, or adding layers of blankets to keep us warm on those cold, cold nights. We prepare, to some degree, to submit to nature.

We put our guards down. But that is when we make mistakes. We get a little too comfortable, a little bit lazy, and we aren't as sharp as we are in the spring when we energetically shed the weight of winter.

It's not new news, but with all of the threats that continue to put businesses at risk, sometimes even the most veteran security practitioners need gentle reminders. Before you become complacent in a way that puts your enterprise at risk, Concept Technology wanted to offer you some expert advice on how to ward off ransomware as the year winds down.

Here are three steps to avoid paying ransomware from Jason McMahan, director of technology Concept Technology:

Get protected. Antivirus software is a must, as is firewall filtering and web security. Also, make sure all business software is regularly patched and updated to avoid newly identified threats entering your system.

Stay educated. Know your current policies on data security, and make sure everyone at your company knows them too. By training your employees in cybersecurity, you can keep your entire team educated on the latest in malicious cyber-attacks, from spotting phishing emails that could be holding ransomware to knowing online security protocols for avoiding other malware threats.

Arrange for backup. Data loss can result in significant financial loss, especially if your data is held hostage. If your business doesn’t have an enterprise-grade backup and file sync system with strong encryption and controls, now is the time. Make sure that your data is always secure and readily available.

When it comes to the threat of ransomware, the benefits of a data protection solution mean:

  • Your business will never need to pay hackers ransom to get critical data back.
  • Your business will avoid data loss – from ransomware or other – since backups are taken frequently and can be restored quickly.
  • Your business won’t experience significant downtime (since users can access critical data and applications while primary systems are being restored).

One particularly good thing about the return of winter means that spring is that much closer, which gives some of us a little bit of glee to think about the fact that "Winter is Coming." As you return to the game of defense, I will be preparing for the return of the highly anticipated Game of Thrones. 

If only there was a way to avoid the series finale. 

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

The 10 most powerful cybersecurity companies