Now more than ever, ransomware attacks pose a significant threat to businesses like yours. According to new data, ransomware attacks in the UK have increased by 70%, the average cost of a cyber-attack to a UK business was £3,230, and perhaps most concerning of all, last year, the UK was the second-most targeted country in the world for cyber-attacks, after the US. Preventing these attacks requires a combination of proactive measures and continuous vigilance. Below, the Zudu team has put together some tips to protect your business.


What is ransomware?

Before we delve deeper into tips and tricks for protecting your business, let’s start with the big one: what exactly is ransomware? Ransomware is malware that encrypts a victim’s data and demands payment for its release. Cybercriminals typically target businesses where sensitive data is critical. Think healthcare, card details, voting data, and search history.

They often employ sophisticated techniques to infiltrate systems, making detection and prevention challenging. The consequences of a ransomware attack can be severe, including financial losses, operational disruptions, and reputational damage. Indeed, UK cybercrime costs the economy an estimated £27 billion per year – and that figure is set to rise further.


Have a backup strategy

A solid backup strategy is the most effective defence against ransomware.

Implement the 3-2-1 rule: keep three copies of your data on two different storage types, with one copy stored offsite. Incorporate offline and immutable backups to ensure data remains safe from encryption by ransomware. Regularly update and test backups to ensure reliability.


Find the right software

Deploying comprehensive security software is essential. Use antivirus and anti-malware solutions designed to detect and block ransomware. These tools should be capable of identifying known vulnerabilities, monitoring file integrity, and preventing unauthorised access. Layered security, or “defence in depth,” could help provide additional protection.


Update and patch software

Ensure all software, including operating systems and applications, is regularly updated and patched. Automated updates can help maintain security by promptly applying necessary patches, reducing the window of opportunity for attackers to exploit vulnerabilities. If you have an app for your business, work with your app developer to ensure any customer-facing software is regularly reviewed and updated so that data doesn’t enter into the wrong hands.


Practice safe habits

Ransomware often enters systems through phishing emails and malicious websites. Train employees to recognise and handle suspicious emails, avoid clicking on unknown links, and not download attachments from unverified sources. Use application allowlisting to control which software can be installed and run on your systems. Concerningly, just 15% of UK businesses have a formal cybersecurity incident management plan, and only 3% of UK businesses and charities adhere to the Cyber Essentials scheme. A small investment can pay dividends in the long term, ensuring your teams are informed and prepared for attacks.


Restrict access

One way to reduce the chances of ransomware attacks is to implement the principle of least privilege, ensuring users have only the access necessary for their roles. Secure user accounts with strong authentication measures, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA). Regularly review and audit access controls to prevent unauthorised access – the more users with access to sensitive data, the more you put your business at unnecessary risk.


Have a plan

Most businesses won’t suffer from an attack, but it’s good to be prepared. Develop and maintain an incident response plan to handle potential ransomware attacks. This plan should outline communication protocols, designate responsibilities, and include forensic analysis and system recovery procedures. Conduct drills to ensure your team is prepared to respond.


Invest in training

Spend time working with employees and discuss cybersecurity best practices and the specific threats posed by ransomware. Regular training sessions can help build a culture of security awareness, reducing the risk of human error. Tailor training to different roles within the organisation to address specific security needs. Only 31% of UK businesses undertook a cyber risk assessment. Work with your team and empower one another along the way.


Wrapping up

Ransomware attacks are a serious threat, but you can protect your business with the right strategies. Implement a robust backup strategy, use advanced security software, practice safe habits, manage user access, prepare an incident response plan, and continuously educate your employees, and you’ll significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to an attack.

If your business needs assistance implementing these strategies, reach out to the team at Zudu. Our developers, engineers, and programmers can work with you to ensure your apps and business processes are secure and ready for any eventuality. Click here to get in touch.

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