Ransomware and The Small Business

When you are a small business you are usually put in a position where everything is scary but you don’t really have the money or manpower to manage everything. If you spread yourself (or your team) too thin, you might be doing more harm than good to your business.

Such is the case with online security for small businesses. It’s a very delicate subject and experts claim that every business, big or small, should at least have some form of security protocols against malware.

Especially ransomware.

But a lot of small business owners think they should not worry about any attack whatsoever. After all, why would cyberhackers care about a small business in downtown Beaumont when they have bigger businesses to target. Right?

Well, current statistics and future speculations point all point to the reality that small businesses should care about ransomware. Dismissing it like the boogeyman will not help your organization.

But what is ransomware and why should your small business worry about it?

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that locks up your devices or encrypts your data. The only way to get control of your devices or data again is for you to pay a certain amount of money to the hackers. This “ransom” can be anywhere from tens of thousands to millions depending on the attacker. As soon as you pay the ransom, the hackers will give you a decryption code that will give you access to everything that got locked up.

How Do You Get Hit With Ransomware?

The majority of all recent ransomware attacks on both small and large businesses can be traced back to a phishing email or a malicious attachment. Most of the time, what happens is an employee gets an email that contains the malware masquerading as a regular email. As soon as the employee clicks on the link or downloads the file, the attack has begun.

Most ransomware attacks don’t happen overnight. A lot of attacks are slow and calculated. From identifying the right devices to lock and/or looking for the right files to encrypt, the process can take days or weeks. There are cases when ongoing attacks lasted for months.

According to experts in the cyber-security field, ransomware attacks are growing year after year. With 2020 recording a staggering 1 attack every 11 seconds. The cost of ransomware attacks is expected to be around $20 billion for the whole year. No industry or business is safe as attacks have been observed in small and large businesses all year.

However, one very alarming statistic from 2020 is the growing preference of hackers to small businesses. According to a survey conducted on senior executives, around 46% small business has had a run-in with ransomware or a security threat. Of the number that got hit, 7 out of 10 paid the ransom to get their data back.

Why Small Businesses?

In the past, one of the main driving forces behind cyberhacking can be likened to the story of Captain Ahab and Moby Dick. The bigger your target, the more relevant your victory will be – not to mention the payday.

But this has changed significantly over the years as a lot of hackers focused on the financial side of their craft. Instead of chasing their white whale, a lot of cyber hackers turned towards small businesses that were easier to attack and were more likely to pay the ransom.

The reason can be traced back to the reality that small businesses keep very little to no budget for cybersecurity. Without any security protocols in place, hackers can easily attack a small business and earn a payday. Smaller organizations are more likely to pay the ransom because they are forced to choose between paying or closing down the business. When it comes down to these two choices, it’s not hard to imagine how paying the ransom seems like the better choice. Sadly, around 60% of businesses that pay the ransom still end up closing down due to the financial damage done by the attack.

Another reason is that employees in smaller organizations are not aware of how these attacks start. As a result, they open links that are dubious at best and download attachments they don’t even recognize.

How Can You Stop Yourself From Becoming A Target?

Whenever business owners think of cybersecurity, they automatically think of getting a number of people who need to monitor their networks 24/7 starting at monitors ala Matrix. Well, ten years ago that would have been the case. In the past, in order to keep your whole network secure you needed to have an IT team. Most small businesses don’t have any space in their budget for an IT team. So what can you do?

Nowadays, any small business can secure its networks and devices without getting an in-premise team. By partnering up with Managed Services Providers or MSPs, smaller organizations can get the same level of protection for a fraction of the price. Some MSPs also recommend a number of tools you can use for your business that can help further strengthen your defense against attacks. One such tool is Microsoft 365. It’s a productivity suite meant to provide all the applications a business needs to operate properly. The good thing about Microsoft 365 is that it comes with its own security features that help reduce your chances of becoming a victim of a ransomware attack. The features include a filtering mechanism that searches for and automatically flags phishing links and malicious attachments and removes them from incoming emails, reducing the chances of human error.

Finding the Right IT Partner

Looking for the right IT partner can be quite challenging with the ever-increasing number of MSPs coming out of the woodwork. Good thing you can always start with IT teams that have been serving businesses in Nederland, Port Arthur, Beaumont, and East Texas. You can start with Discovery IT.

Discovery IT is the go-to team for all IT support needs for businesses since 1988. They have provided small organizations with custom IT solutions to suit their needs. Call Discovery IT today and schedule a consultation on how they can help protect your business from a ransomware attack.

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