Ransomware attack

How to Prevent a Ransomware Attack With IT Planning – Part 1

From individual PCs to enterprise IT infrastructure – ransomware attacks are on the rise. Every week we learn of another cyberattack on an American corporation or utility from foreign hackers, demanding multi-million dollar ransoms to unlock their network. 

But it’s not only large corporations that are vulnerable to these attacks. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are now becoming frequent targets of hackers. 

The good news is that it is possible to prevent most ransomware attacks. No matter how big or small your company is, a basic assessment by a managed services provider like Total Networx will reveal your vulnerabilities and provide a Ransomware Attack Plan to protect your infrastructure from attack. 

Just like a security system at your home or workplace, a sound Ransomware Attack Plan reduces the potential for a ransomware attack to have a significant impact on your day-to-day operation. 

Ransomware, in most instances, is malware that blocks access to essential company files, IT Infrastructure, or databases, until you pay a ransom to the hackers – a data hostage situation. If the organization fails to carry out a comprehensive IT Network Assessment to determine the source of vulnerability, attacks are likely to happen repeatedly, even after files are initially unlocked.

Ransomware attacks encrypt files on endpoints (like a PC), threatening to erase files or block system access. These attacks can be catastrophic when they affect hospitals, banks, emergency call centers, and other critical infrastructure (similar to what recently happened to oil refineries on the East Coast).

Defending against ransomware requires knowledgeable IT planning, certified technologists, and cooperation from everyone in your organization in order to be truly successful. It is up to IT decision-makers to take the steps necessary to limit the impact of ransomware attacks or, better yet, prevent them from happening in the first place.

As we stated last week, ransomware is simply a data hostage situation.  A hacker will lock your data, ask for a large sum of money, and only return your data when you pay them in Bitcoin or other less traceable means.  Here are three ways to prevent a ransomware attack at your company.

1. Get an IT Network Assessment

Often forgotten, it’s best to start 100,000ft up and have a certified network engineer verify every aspect, from endpoints to physical IT infrastructure, that truly allows your company to function.  Only with a true network map and network audit of your company network can you fully succeed with IT Planning and Strategy.

2. Provide Ransomware Training with your Staff

Yes, this should come second.  A difficult variable with every company is human error and awareness.  Security awareness training is key to stopping ransomware in its tracks. You want employees to be more apt to see and avoid malicious emails. Security awareness training teaches your staff what to look for in an email before they click on a link or download an attachment.

3. Create an IT Plan

After you have the layout of your IT Infrastructure and your team watching for phishing attempts, it is time to have a professional IT firm help create an IT Plan that includes everything from disaster recovery to

BONUS TIP: In your IT PLAN, make sure a recovery study is scheduled immediately. In the event a company recovers from a ransomware attack, a common mistake is to not scan for malicious files, infected PCs, servers, and network equipment for any residue that may have existed before and will repeat the same hack at a certain cadence.

READ MORE: How to prevent a ransomware attack with IT Planning – Part 2

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