3 Factors Small Businesses Need to consider to prevent ransomware attacks

Small business has been hit hard in 2020, from a pandemic causing unemployment to abnormal economic policies which confuse even the smartest of us.

So what are small and medium sized businesses in for?

Dear small and medium businesses. Understand that you are the backbone of our economy. But you are also susceptible to ransomware attacks and other emerging threats in 2020. You have been through the COVID19 lockdowns, and even had to let go some or most of your staff. In short, you’ve been through some of the worst possible times in modern history. We get it. Here is a pat on the back!

Small businesses have taken the brunt, and just when we thought that things could not get more complicated, along comes a threat that you’re unaware of and would like to keep out of sight and out of mind; ransomware.

But the biggest fear? It is yet to come!

Ransomware incidents have increased 7 times in 2020 as compared to last year. And these cybercriminals are increasingly targeting small businesses due to lack of security in place to prevent an attack. One ransomware incident, and your entire company can go out of business.

In fact as per SEC research, 60% of small businesses go bankrupt within 6 months of a cyberattack! That’s an alarming figure, and one we haven’t come across for a long time now.

Today, we’re sharing some insight with you on how small businesses are struggling and what you as an owner can do to mitigate risks and maximize your security against heart-less criminals.

1. You are most likely to be hit with a cyberattack

As a small business, your chances of being hit with a ransomware attack are much higher than a giant corporation. Reason? You need your data to survive! According to research at least 60% of all small businesses keep a record of email addresses, customer names and billing addresses in their database.

Your customers are everything for you and the last thing you want is aving their confidential data leaked on the dark web. And when that happens, your reputation gets tarnished, making customers and potential investors run away from conducting business with you. You are already struggling and with a huge blow to your business, you can eventually be knocked out of operations.

Sorry, but it’s a brutal truth you need to hear.

2. Just having an updated operating system and antivirus programs won’t help you

It is a rule of thumb to keep updating your antivirus and operating systems, closing vulnerabilities and reducing your chances of getting compromised. But this is half the truth and often a marketing tactic by leading antivirus companies to lure you into buying their subscriptions. In fact, if keeping software updates kept everyone safe, no company would ever report a ransomware attack. But you know that’s not what’s going on!

Mind you, we aren’t against updating your antivirus subscriptions. They are important, but end to end security protection alone isn’t enough for your small business. Understanding that there is a problem is often considered half the solution.

Here’s a shocking status enough to keep you disturbed for several weeks:

Most small businesses (around 77%) suffering from ransomware attacks already had updated protection for their devices and systems.

3. You need a cybersecurity plan

Prevention is always better than cure. In the case of cybersecurity, prevention is in fact seen as a cure, and often the first step in stopping your business from hemorrhaging cash. 

Just one small Kentucky business with a network of 8 computers had no option but to pay a ransom amount of a whopping $150,000, down from the original $400,000 after negotiations.

But it doesn’t end there. What comes after is far more devastating for the company. These include clean up costs, software upgrades and labor costs that further suck away any cash resources available with small businesses. While large firms end up paying more than small businesses, they usually still have cash in their coffers and may recover after sometime. Small businesses that are unable to get back up and running after such a massive attack face a different dynamic as compared to large businesses flush with cash.

You might be driving with a clean record for 10 straight years, and all it takes is one accident to total your car. There is no difference when it comes to a ransomware attack. One unverified click and your business is held hostage.

Since small businesses don’t have enough financial resources, they naturally don’t invest or even pay any attention to cyber security. 

You need a comprehensive cybersecurity plan, one that takes into account your business needs. Firms like BeforeCrypt are well equipped to create a Ransomware Preparedness Assessment Plan for you. Here’s what the plan should cover:

  • Business auditing – Let an independent, third-party cybersecurity firm audit your business for security loopholes and recommendations. This includes software penetration testing, and getting a detailed report on vulnerabilities.
  • Data security – A cybersecurity plan helps you in securing your data. This custom plan will study your data and provide approaches on storing it safely, such as backup drives, cloud storage, encrypted data, and more.
  • Staff training – It is understandable for small businesses not having enough time, resources and expertise to teach their employees on playing safe. Let an independent contractor take this job and educate your employees in terms of cyber security training.

Final Thoughts

Nobody is safe from cyberattacks these days, not even hospitals. But investing in keeping your workplace safe and secure from these attacks is far more economical than paying a ransom, and dealing with cleanup costs afterwards.

BeforeCrypt is a cybersecurity company specializing in data recovery and cybersecurity consultancies to companies small and large worldwide. Even with a free decryptor tool, you’d need help from an expert to get your files back. That’s where we’d come in to help you.