Keep Your Business’ Digital Data Safe from Ransomware

Ransomware is a specific form of virus that sometimes makes the news in big ways. It’s natural for you to wonder if you and your business are similarly at risk. Here are a few facts to help you figure out your level of exposure and whether or not you need to do anything to decrease it:

What is Ransomware?

First, it’s important to be clear about just what ransomware actually is. It is a form of virus that, once it infects a computer, denies access to that computer’s data by the authorized users. The program then informs the user that access will only be restored if a fee is paid. A threat to delete the data if the fee isn’t paid is often included in the message. This effectively holds the data hostage, making the demanded fee the “ransom” that gives these programs their name.

Ways to Prevent Ransomware from Getting Into Your Computers

  • Raise user awareness. To those who are used to working with computers, it may seem natural to practice safety measures like not opening unexpected attachments, not clicking the links in email spam, and avoiding enabling macros for emails. However, new staff may need to be brought up to speed. Don’t assume everyone already knows.
  • Set-up email filters. Use technological filters to block spam emails and as many suspicious attachments as possible. This will not only add safety for your computer system, but help keep clutter out of your office’s inboxes.
  • Add antivirus filtering to your email screening system. If your email filter doesn’t already include it, set up an antivirus program that scans every email regardless of source.
  • Keep patches and updates current. Many hackers make use of exploits that will have been corrected in the current iteration of your software or via a patch applied to the old version. By staying up to date, you ensure that you have the version that is currently the most secure. This also applies to your antivirus software, which may get multiple patches every day. If a software has an automatic update feature, enable it to avoid being overwhelmed with this task.
  • Make regular backups of your data. As long as your last backup was done before your computers got infected by the ransomware, you can just restore your system from the backup. It’s best to keep a rolling set of backups so that you have a good chance of having a useful one on hand.

By following these and other simple practices, you can greatly enhance your security against ransomware and other types of malware. Best of all, these tips will work for practices of all sizes and are easy to implement. If you have questions or concerns about making sure your online presence is safe and secure, contact us to speak with one of our experience online marketing consultants.

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