July 12, 2016

Helpful Cloud Security Strategies for Combatting Ransomware

Your email account is an important professional tool that contains critical information and helps you communicate with colleagues and clients in a matter of key strokes. But, did you know that you can receive a harmful email at any time that can debilitate your business’ day-to-day operations? It only takes one click to expose your organization to ransomware— malicious software that encrypts files, blocks access to computer systems and requires an anonymous payment. TechTarget states ransomware is an absolute pandemic. To combat ransomware attacks, your company must perform regular backups, educate staff members or turn to a cloud service provider for their help and expertise.

Perform Regular Backups: When ransomware infects an organization’s IT infrastructure, it can restrict access to critical information stored within the computer system. Because of this, it’s important for your company to backup data frequently. TechAdvisory.org advises small to mid-size businesses that work with critical client information to perform daily backups. Many organizations back up their data to on-site servers within their IT infrastructures, which can also be susceptible to attack. To ensure your data backups will be safe in the event of a ransomware attack, we recommend storing data on servers at a secure off-site storage facility. Once an attack occurs, organizations must restore their IT infrastructure from the most recent backup, so performing frequent backups and storing data off-site will help minimize the loss of data due to this malicious software.

Educate Staff Members: Emails containing ransomware attachments can arrive in your inbox in a variety of forms. We’ve heard of files coming in disguised as unsolicited banking and shipping notices or even resumes from people you think are potential hires. You may be more inclined to open attachments from these suspicious emails because they seem to relate to your job, even if it’s against your better judgement. Accounting Today recommends that organizations make sure their staff receive security education on a consistent basis so that they will be able to identify suspicious emails and attachments that they shouldn’t open. In addition, your organization should conduct research using websites like, ID Ransomware, and follow IT-related current events in order to alert your staff to the different variations of ransomware that are striking companies across industries.

Turn to a Cloud Vendor: BBC News reports that more than 120 types or “families” of ransomware currently exist. If your company’s IT team is struggling to keep up with the latest cybersecurity threats, a cloud service provider can step in and fill the gap in areas where you feel your organization’s security practices are lacking. Leading cloud vendors can provide guidance on cybersecurity measures and updates on looming security threats, and assist with the data backup and recovery processes. Also, your business can rely on the vendor’s recommendations in selecting an off-site storage facility, such as a secure data center, to store data backups. As a result of partnering with a cloud service provider, your organization will have an added level of protection to counter ransomware threats.

In order to ensure your company is taking the proper steps to combat ransomware, you should be continuously reviewing and updating your company’s cybersecurity procedures and data backup and recovery processes. Additionally, make sure your staff understands how to identify potential threats in their inboxes. Ransomware isn’t going away any time soon- if anything they will continue to become more dangerous- so taking these steps will help you protect your business against the tremendous negative impact malicious software can have on your IT infrastructure.

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