The term is not new; At this point, everybody has heard about it: ransomware attacks have been in the news, with growing statistics and increasingly more companies having their data stolen and being held as hostages. According to SonicWall, there were over 623 million incidents only last year. For that reason, learning about ransomware protection and how these attacks work is a must for every business owner.
The technology industry has been suffering from ransomware for over 30 years since the first attack was documented. However, as the world becomes more and more digital and companies depend on the web to run their businesses, the incidents are growing exponentially. Lately, these criminals prefer to target small companies.
Thinking that hackers wouldn’t target a small business is a common oversight that can cost thousands of dollars – or even lead a company to collapse and close if hit by an attack. So, it’s time to learn how to protect your business against ransomware and ensure you and your team are not the next victims.
But what is ransomware, and how does it work?
Ransomware is malware executed by cybercriminals using software that infects a server or computer. It is becoming more common, although it is not a new threat. The first ransomware attacks date from the late 80s and used floppy disks to infect computers and ask for payment to unlock them. Today’s malware can still infect computers, databases, and servers via hardware, such as an infected USB flash drive; however, it’s more frequent to see this type of threat spreading over the internet.
Ransomware employs encryption to hold data and restricts users’ access until a ransom is paid. The hackers responsible for the attack usually request a ransom paid in cryptocurrency, as these are harder to track. If the company pays the ransom, the criminals should allow them to regain access to their data – but this is not what happens most of the time.
Ransomware attacks are now focusing on small businesses – but you can protect your data
If, in the past, cybercriminals focused on larger companies because they could charge higher ransoms, now small businesses are their favorite target: according to a report published by Coveware, 55% of the ransomware attacks now aim at small companies. No business is safe.
Today, hackers are targeting small businesses because these companies seem easier victims than huge corporations that most likely have IT departments that take care of their cybersecurity. While this might make sense, it is a misconception to think that small companies cannot protect themselves against ransomware. In fact, it is possible to benefit from affordable ransomware protection services specialized in small businesses, that guarantee their data is safe in case an attack happens. The best of all is that you don’t need to worry about it: these services run in the background while you can focus on running and growing your business.
Ransomware attacks cause severe damage and can lead a small company to collapse
In Q4 2021, the average payment made by companies that were hit by ransomware was $322,168, according to Coveware’s report. The figures are high, and it doesn’t even consider other damages like revenue lost due to time down, losing clients (which will have a long-term profitability impact), or even reputation damage. Therefore, a ransomware incident without proper protection represents a real possibility of ruining a company, especially a small business.
According to a recent report published by Cybereason, 26% of the organizations that suffered a ransomware attack had to close their business for some period, while for 25% of the companies, the attack had forced the closure of their organization. The impact was substantial for those who managed to stay open: 66% reported significant revenue loss.
Trying to recover your data can be extremely expensive (and you will most likely lose records)
Although paying for the ransom in an attempt to recover the data is not illegal, law enforcement agencies advise not paying it: it encourages attackers to continue with this kind of criminal activity and will likely result in more incidents.
Of the companies that decided to pay the ransom to try to recover their data, 46% didn’t get all their files back. Even after following the hacker’s instructions and paying the requested amount of money, almost half of the companies that decided to pay the ransom regained access to their data but reported that some or all of their files were corrupted.
Even if a business is fortunate enough to receive all its data back after an attack, another risk is a second attack. According to the Cybereason research, 80% of the businesses that decided to pay a ransom to recover their data ended up suffering a new ransomware attack just a few weeks later – often promoted by the same group responsible for the initial attack.
Ransomware protection is more affordable than you imagine
While for many small companies having a cybersecurity specialist working full-time to create ransomware protection workflow seems difficult, it is possible to count on security experts that will take care of your data safety while you can focus on your core business. And this service can cost you as low as a few dollars per day.
Ransomware protection services ensure you have all your data securely backed up, which you can rely on at any time needed. Thus, it works similarly to having insurance: you will only need it if something happens to your data – then you can rest assured that you are covered: nothing will be lost, and you won’t need to pay a dime to cybercriminals.
It’s time to protect your small business against ransomware
As the data shows us, unfortunately, ransomware attacks are here to stay, and protection measures are a must if a company wants to stay safe from attacks and from being extorted to recover their files. Taking the chance of getting all its data lost forever and losing revenue represents the real possibility of leading a small company to bankruptcy; but this is a scenario that any business owner can avoid.
Investing in ransomware protection and recovery services is the only bulletproof way to ensure a company is safe from such incidents – and it gives business owners peace of mind to focus on their core business while resting assured that their companies are covered.
To ensure that your company is safe, learn more about Scopic’s Ransomware Recovery Services, and don’t get caught by surprise.