Ransomware Readiness: Protecting Your Organization

  • Article

As our world becomes more interconnected, the risk of cyber threats continues to increase. Among these threats, ransomware is one of the most common and devastating attacks. These attacks have proven to be a lucrative venture for cybercriminals, often leaving organizations grappling with the choice of paying exorbitant ransoms or facing the loss of critical data. Ransomware readiness is a proactive strategy to prevent these attacks and mitigate their potential consequences.

Understanding Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malicious cyberattack that gains access to your computer or network, encrypts your data and then holds it for ransom in exchange for a decryption key you can use to recover it. Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in software or leverage social engineering tactics (phishing) to compromise networks to gain unauthorized access and deploy ransomware. What makes ransomware so challenging is that there are many different variants of differing sophistication that target your network and data in different ways. These types of attacks continue to grow in scale, maturity and complexity. Cybercriminals are not just looking at your organization, but may also leverage your connections to vendors, customers, and service providers to get to your systems and data. Vendor-based cyberattacks are far more profitable and have an enormous return and impact. Therefore, it is important to understand the steps your vendors are taking to protect against these types of attacks in addition to understanding the controls in place at your organization.

The Role of Ransomware Readiness

Ransomware readiness is the comprehensive set of measures an organization implements to safeguard against, detect, respond to and recover from ransomware attacks. It is a multi-faceted strategy that encompasses technical, procedural and educational components. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) offers a “Stop Ransomware Guide” that offers best practices and a response checklist. This guide offers additional tips to keep you protected against ransomware. Below are six steps you can take today to better protect your organization:

  1. Robust Cybersecurity Infrastructure - The first line of defense against ransomware attacks is a well-fortified cybersecurity infrastructure. This includes regularly updating and patching software, implementing firewalls and intrusion detection systems, and employing antivirus and anti-malware solutions.
  2. Secure Backup Data - Backing up critical data is vital to ransomware readiness. Regular and encrypted backups should be stored offline or at an off-site location to ensure data can be restored in the event of an attack without succumbing to ransom demands.
  3. Employee Training and Awareness - Human error remains a significant vulnerability in ransomware attacks. Employees should be educated regularly about the risks of phishing emails, suspicious attachments or software downloads and other social engineering tactics that cybercriminals employ.
  4. Incident Response Plan - Having a well-defined incident response plan is crucial. It outlines the steps to take when a ransomware attack occurs, including who to contact, how to isolate affected systems and how to communicate with stakeholders.
  5. Regular Testing and Drills - Conducting simulations can help organizations refine their incident response plans, identify weaknesses and ensure personnel have the knowledge and tools they need to handle an actual ransomware incident.
  6. Engage a Third Party – By engaging a cybersecurity expert, like those at Doeren Mayhew, you have an advisor on your side to navigate the various cybersecurity challenges and ensure you have the systems in place to best protect against an attack before it occurs. Working with a third-party vendor, you will have access to resources and solutions to ensure your organization meets the necessary security measures to keep your information and data protected.

We Can Help

No matter how prepared you are, cyber incidents can still impact your organization. With cyberattacks becoming more common and sophisticated, it can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. By partnering with Doeren Mayhew's cybersecurity advisors, we can provide recommendations or internal control considerations that you can implement to ensure you are well-positioned to combat these types of attacks. Contact our team today to learn more.

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