Staying Ahead of Ransomware: 7 Necessary Tactics

Are you concerned about a ransomware attack on your company? It’s not an idle threat.

In 2016, the number of these attacks each day reached 4,000, up 300 percent from the previous year. Healthcare organizations have been hit especially hard, as more than half of hospitals in the United States faced ransomware attacks between April 2015 and April 2016.

The success of cyber criminals in deploying ransomware depends on catching potential targets without the proper security rules and controls in place. But if your organization knows what to do before the attack comes, you’re less likely to fall victim to these security threats.

Is your company simply reacting when you hear about a ransomware threat on the horizon? Or are you proactive, with an IT security plan in place that adapts to the changing threat landscape?

Integrate these seven key tactics into your organizational plan and you’ll always be on the offensive against malicious attacks.

1. START WITH A COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CHECK.

Just like a regular physical measures the health of your body, a health check of vital business systems keeps your organization out of trouble. A health check is a review and analysis of traffic and system architecture, along with scanning to pinpoint vulnerabilities.

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2. PROTECT IT ASSETS.

Ensuring asset protection readiness includes auditing user accounts to limit or remove administrator rights, taking inventory of systems like software, and configuring settings and access to enhance security and prevent intrusions.

3. UNDERSTAND BUSINESS RESILIENCE.

Can your organization handle emergencies and crises while maintaining business continuity? That’s business resilience. It’s an ongoing process that requires regular attention so that everyone in the company stays ready for the unexpected. As your industry changes, technology evolves, and risk tolerance shifts, the plan to ensure business resilience must adapt.

4. FORTIFY DEFENSES.

Beefing up security for core operations means reviewing access control policies; physical security; encryption; and controls covering email, malware, and ransomware. You’ll also need to configure backup and disaster recovery and implement training for everyone in the organization.

5. MONITOR DEVICES AND SET UP ALERTS.

The advent of BYOD (“bring your own device”) means that employees can unknowingly help penetrate the best security defenses. So you’ll need to monitor portable devices, create alerts that are sure to reach a human, and review log files consistently.

6. DEFEND YOUR CASTLE.

Playing defense never stops, and that means quarterly vulnerability scanning, annual reviews and awareness training, penetration testing, and ongoing risk assessments. You’ll also need to check in with vendors and service providers to confirm compliance.

7. PRACTICE DISASTER RECOVERY.

You probably have a business continuity plan, detailing what needs to happen when things go wrong and data is compromised or lost. But do you and your employees know exactly what to do? And can you do it quickly?

Instead of hoping your plan will work in an emergency, put it to the test. Giving workers mock scenarios and forcing them to restore systems and recover data from a disaster recovery backup is the truest measure of an effective strategy. When problems occur during the practice run, change your tactics and rewrite the plan.

Fending off security challenges requires solid preparation and regular maintenance. But you don’t have to do it alone. Partnering with an organization experienced in end-to-end security services means you won’t have to worry about the potential of ransomware attacks. Have a plan in place to identify, detect, and protect against cybersecurity threats so that you’ll never need to respond and recover.