Here’s a business nightmare many companies have already faced: one day, you try to log into your organization’s systems only to find out you cannot. An email arrives in your inbox, and you’re informed that cyber-criminals have taken over your network and encrypted access to it, locking you out. In return for the decryption key, they want money…and lots of it. Is it a joke? Unfortunately not. Will your IT team be able to do anything about it? They can prevent it before it happens, but once the thieves have your network locked up, there is nothing IT experts can do about it.
What is Ransomware?
Thanks to a technology called ransomware – which is easily available on the Internet to anyone who wants to pay for it, attacks like these are an ever-present threat to cyber security worldwide. (You can even get software-as-a-service versions of ransomware, just like you can with legitimate business solutions.)
Ransomware attacks are on the rise. According to IT security group AAG, in 2021, more than a third of organizations globally suffered an attempted ransomware attack. 2021 saw 623.3 million ransomware attacks worldwide, an increase of 105 percent over 2020 figures. Part of the rise can be attributed to companies adapting networks and supply chains for remote and hybrid work. Of course, not all of the attempts were successful, since many companies have implemented guards against them, but the number of successful attacks is depressingly high and includes schools and healthcare facilities.
But My Business Is Too Small to Attack
There’s a reason why cyber thieves are seldom able to penetrate high-value organizations such as banks: those companies have stringent IT security protocols in place. To succeed at their chosen grift, bad cyber actors often move down the food chain to companies they know don’t have – or can’t afford – tight protections. In other words, SMBs are sitting ducks for these kinds of attacks.
Companies that have fallen victim to ransomware attacks find they cannot access their business data, forcing them to shut down until the ransom is paid. As can be expected, many companies have gone out of business due to a single ransomware attack.
How Do I Protect My Business?
If you’re a small company and trying to DIY your IT, now is the time to consider turning over your operations to a managed services provider who is prepared to continually fight against ransomware attacks on your behalf. It’s also a great idea to ensure that you are insured against such an eventuality. Cyber insurance is a specialty insurance product intended to protect businesses from Internet-based risks including cyber-attacks. In recent years, the number of insurance companies offering this type of protection has escalated alongside the risks.
A cyber-insurance policy provider will likely demand that you install a virtual private network (VPN) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) for remote network access and other key areas such as privileged user access or access to back-ups/cloud storage. This is something a good managed services provider can help you with. While you may never be able to shut out the possibilities of a cyber-attack completely, you can build enough protection that your chances are greatly lowered.
Talk to a Reputable Insurance Agent
To get an idea of how much a cyber insurance policy will cost and what it entails, contact an independent insurance agent who can help you build a policy that is right for your business. In Connecticut, Petruzelo Insurance offers personal and business policies that fit your needs and protect your home and business. Call us at 866-479-3327 or visit our website for more information.