What If Ransomware Was Just an Annoyance Rather Than a Crisis?

Imagine this: despite a strong firewall, your department is attacked by the latest ransomware that locks up all your employees’ devices right in the middle of the day, effectively stopping work.

Fifty minutes later, every device is back up and running, employees are back to work, your phone has gone blessedly silent, and the package of Tums you keep in your desk drawer lays undisturbed. And…you haven’t paid the ransom.

It’s possible. Here’s how.

It’s not just ransomware itself that’s a threat to businesses; it’s the increasing pace at which it evolves into ever more powerful superbugs that infect systems and evade detection.

The knee-jerk reaction from some in the security space: try to keep up with ransomware’s mutations by evolving prevention faster than the threat. But that game does not end in a winning proposition. While you may be able to defend your most valuable servers, it’s not uncommon for the attacker to find their way in through your endpoints. Faced with this reality, many companies are now just paying off ransoms with cryptocurrency, a short-sighted solution that doesn’t always work and that only makes you the target for more ransomware attacks.

Here’s a better approach: Adapt your preventative defenses, but work in parallel to deploy a ransomware-proof recovery plan for all of your vulnerable devices—including every endpoint.

What does a ransomware-proof recovery plan for endpoints look like? Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:

  1. Take stock of every endpoint device in your organization.
  2. Back up the data on every endpoint device. The more frequently you back it up, the less data you are at risk of losing in a ransomware attack. Backing up every 15 minutes is best practice.
  3. Back up your endpoint data in a solution independent of your cloud collaboration software. Ransomware can infect shared folders and, in some cases, spread it to other devices even faster.
  4. Confirm that your backup storage is not susceptible to ransomware attack.

With this recovery approach in place, any endpoint device locked by ransomware can be unlocked by wiping the device and fully restoring the user’s data from your backup stores. With practice and a well-documented process, users can be up and working in less than an hour after a ransomware attack.

Good prevention tactics will help reduce the cost and disruption caused by ransomware, but won’t eliminate your risks. Enacting a recovery plan that accounts for every endpoint is the most important next step you can take to limit ransomware’s impact on your organization.

Forrester Research Ransomware Protection: Five Best Practices

The ransomware threat is not going away. In fact, the ransomware epidemic is only growing. But it is possible to keep your business and your data safe. Read the Forrester report to learn how.

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