7 Ways to Protect Your Business From Ransomware Attacks

7 Ways to Protect Your Business From Ransomware Attacks image

Many hackers and malicious players view small businesses as “low-hanging fruit” simply because many do not invest as much in their cybersecurity as their enterprise counterparts. The numbers back this up; small businesses took 70% of all ransomware attacks experienced in 2021.

As ransomware attacks kick into higher gear, business managers can only turn to holistic cybersecurity strategies to defend themselves. Here are seven ways to protect your business from the next wave of attacks.

1. Back Up Your Data Across Various Backup Solutions

Among the businesses hit with ransomware, 35% experience permanent data loss partly because they lack a solid data backup and recovery strategy. Small businesses will often store vital data on external drives and call it a day. But, while external drives can be incredibly secure and convenient, your data could be exposed to damage or loss.

Stored copies of your data should be distributed across cloud-based backups and across various media. This is the 3-2-1 rule. Set aside 3 separate copies of data, stored in 2 different media, and have 1 offsite copy. Businesses that adopt this rule have greater leverage over a situation that leads to the loss of stored copies.

But while cloud-based solutions are viable options for an offsite copy, it is worth noting that about 45% of data breaches are cloud-based. Setting up an automated backup schedule can help minimize human-related errors and ultimately minimize your cyber attack surface.

2. Update Critical Systems Regularly

Data backups work in tandem with regular system updates, ensuring that your data is protected from multiple angles. Neglected systems and applications harbor unresolved vulnerabilities that are rather easy to exploit. A textbook example of this came to reality with the WannaCry ransomware attack which spread to thousands of computers and caused billions of dollars in damages.

Internal and remote operating systems and devices should be updated to their latest versions to keep up with the rapidly evolving ransomware trends. Automating the process ensures you don’t miss important system updates whenever they are rolled out.

Patch management tools will come in handy with automation. These tools ensure all devices are updated consistently and track the process in great detail.

3. Reinforce Your Password Policy

A strong password can make all the difference in cybersecurity. A solid, regularly revised password policy can help lock out malicious actors targeting your system. We recommend setting up passwords based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) password guidelines.

  • A good password should have between 8 and 64 characters, including special characters, numbers, and lower and upper-case letters. 
  • Avoid using sequential and or repetitive characters and commonly used passwords. 
  • Restrict the use of old passwords and context-specific passwords, e.g. names.

Encourage employees to use unique passwords for each application they log in to. Set up unique passwords to minimize the chances that threat actors may gain access through other integrated but compromised systems.

To make passwords even easier, we recommend a password management application. These applications generate a unique password for every account you need to log in to. As such, other password-protected systems remain protected in the event of a breach in one.

For comprehensive strategies, consult with a trusted cybersecurity company in Charlotte NC.

4. Train Your Employees on Cybersecurity Matters

Train Your Employees on Cybersecurity Matters

Insider threats are a real issue and are yet to find a lasting solution. Human errors can be caused by sheer ignorance or deliberate activity from internal actors. In cybersecurity, anyone can become a threat. Malicious actors can target top-level employees with high-level clearance.

Alternatively, lower-level employees can be targeted. Regardless, no amount of protection can truly shield your business against external threats if your employees are unable to tell legitimate and suspicious emails, links, and activity apart. Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in approximately 74% of data breaches.

Cybersecurity awareness training demonstrates – not just shows – what ransomware attacks are, how to detect an attack, and how to report suspicious activity. Comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training enables your employees to recognize phishing emails and suspicious links. When your employees become your first line of defense, your cybersecurity staff can focus on responding swiftly to issues.

5. Consider Third-Party Security Software

Freeware may offer the basic features needed to keep your systems secure against the most common cyber threats. However, businesses with sensitive data, proprietary technology, and intellectual property to protect cannot settle for “basic”. 

With the stakes this high, it makes more sense to consider premium third-party cybersecurity tools. These include premium antivirus antimalware, and anti-ransomware tools. Paid ransomware prevention tools are often feature-packed and come with firewall and data encryption addons.

Custom-built firewalls help address unique challenges off-the-shelf may not be equipped to resolve. Still, a better cybersecurity posture can be reached with a layered approach. This involves merging the protective features of firewalls, antimalware, spam filters, and antivirus software. Combined, these measures scan, detect, and neutralize threats on behalf of your IT team.

6. Segment Your Network for Optimized Performance and Security

Far too, often, business networks are interconnected. While this can be beneficial from an operational point of view, it creates an opportunity for hackers to identify other potential targets on your network.

If third-party vendors connected to your network are attacked, the risk could spread to your network as well. Network segmentation splits different components of your network into smaller partitions.

For instance, customer-facing guest networks can be segmented from operations and finance. Similarly, the IT management network can be isolated from guest networks. That way, in case one network is breached, some level of operation can still be realized.

When vital systems are separated from guest networks, hackers are forced through more hoops before they can gain access to your entire network. This increases the likelihood that they will trigger your intruder detection systems.

7. Closely Monitor Your Network Activity

Monitoring network activity helps detect, identify, and mitigate ransomware threats in real time. Continuous monitoring is part of a more comprehensive proactive IT management strategy.

Monitoring can be conducted in a number of ways, e.g. through Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS). These tools analyze traffic and flag potential threats based on known attack signatures and behavioral anomalies. 

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions aggregate data from various sources (firewall, servers, endpoints, etc.), offering a comprehensive view of your network’s health.


If cybersecurity isn’t one of your strongest areas, it’s time to consider hiring a managed service provider (MSP). At Spectrumwise, we help small and medium-sized businesses like yours exercise greater control over their security posture with strategic IT consulting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the first steps to take if a ransomware attack occurs?

First, isolate all affected systems from the rest of the network to prevent further spread. Then, identify the source of the attack and the type of ransomware. Notify your incident response team and contact law enforcement authorities to report the breach as per legal guidelines.

How can businesses ensure their cloud storage is secure against ransomware?

To secure your cloud storage against ransomware, you should regularly update your cloud backups and encrypt important data. Additionally, back up your data regularly and conduct ongoing security audits to detect vulnerabilities before they become threats.

Are there insurance options available for ransomware attacks?

There are cyber insurance options available for ransomware attacks. It’s important to analyze your vendor’s policy and weigh their liability for potential ransom payments. Compare different insurance providers and select the best comprehensive cover based on your needs.

What legal actions can be taken if a business falls victim to ransomware?

If your business falls victim to ransomware, you can report the incident to law enforcement, consult with legal counsel, and consider pursuing criminal action against the perpetrators.

How can small businesses with limited budgets protect against ransomware?

Small businesses with limited budgets can protect themselves against ransomware through employee training awareness, having an effective backup and recovery plan, and strong and unique passwords. They can also invest in paid antivirus and antimalware software and a managed IT provider to keep a proactive watch over their systems.


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