On May 12, 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack made headlines all over the world when it infected hundreds of thousands of users by locking access to their files and demanding a ransom payment to regain access to them. The overwhelming majority of the victims were businesses and organizations, including major entities like the UK’s National Health Service, FedEx and Deutsche Bahn.
Aside from putting Hans Gruber to shame, WannaCry represents a disturbing trend in the world of cybersecurity threats that catch even the world’s largest organizations off guard. Although ransomware has been around in some form since the early days of the Web, Symantec classified it last year as the most dangerous type of cybersecurity threat of all.
Shortly following the disaster, Microsoft described the WannaCry attack as, “a wakeup call” for businesses and organizations that failed to keep their systems up-to-date and proactively monitor their networks for potential security holes. The next WannaCry will be here faster than you can say, “Yippee Ki Yay” — is your company prepared for future threats?
First, You Need a Disaster Recovery Plan
Ransomware presents a growing threat, but it’s also just one of many threats that make up an increasingly fragile computing ecosystem. Even big-name security firms can’t stop cyber attacks 100% of the time, so it’s important to establish a disaster-recovery plan to prepare for the worst. This way, if things do go wrong, either due to natural disaster, cybercriminal activity or anything else, you’ll have something to fall back on.
For money-grubbing ransomware campaigns like WannaCry, users’ files are encrypted, making them inaccessible until the victim pays a ransom to receive the decryption key. You should never pay a ransom because, even if you do, there’s no guarantee that you’ll even get your files back. In the case of the latest attack, there were no reports of people being able to successfully regain access to their files after having paid the ransom.
With a disaster-recovery plan however, you can store mission-critical data safely at a quarantined location. Cloud-based backup services, for example, ensure that your backup archives are stored safely off-site with strict access rights. They also use automated tools to schedule backups at predefined intervals, thereby negating the risk of human error.
Locking Down Your Network
Although saving data off-site allows you to swiftly recover up to the point of your last backup, you also need to prepare for data breaches whereby confidential data can end up in the wrong hands, spelling disaster for your business and your clients. There are many steps you need to take to secure your network, such as implementing software update and patch management strategies, firewall administration, employee cybersecurity training and more.
At the end of the day, company data is probably your single most valuable asset, so it’s imperative you do everything you can to protect it. Disaster recovery plans and network security are the best place to start, but your story doesn’t end when the credits roll. You need to consider cybersecurity as part of an ongoing process that constantly evolves to protect your business from new threats that arise almost daily.
For some of Charlotte’s most successful businesses, all we’ve talked about in this article is simplified by outsourcing network monitoring and ongoing cybersecurity to Spectrumwise. As a managed IT service provider, we have the tools and experience necessary to protect your network around the clock.
In fact, our flat-rate support includes much more than just cybersecurity. We also take care of basic system maintenance, ensuring that all firmware, operating systems and other software on your company IT are kept up-to-date.
All joking aside, cybersecurity is a tad more complicated than the plot of a Die Hard movie. SpectrumWise uses a seven-layer approach to network security to help ensure that your business is safe from cyberattacks like WannaCry. If you’re looking for a way to safeguard the future of your business, drop us a line today.