Have you heard of ransomware? If you haven’t and you’re a small business owner, it’s best that you get yourself acquainted. According to recent reports, around 70 percent of ransomware attacks in 2018 were targeted towards small business owners, and on average they were asked to fork over $116,000 in ransom money. These numbers are alarming, especially if you (like many others) associate data breaches with wealthy large corporations that should, in theory, be more attractive to hackers.

But the fact of the matter is that smaller businesses tend to not have the security in place to protect their data, and thus are easier targets. This is why it’s important that they talk to consultants who can help them secure their network and/or cloud-stored data. You can get expert software consulting from IWI Group who can assess your digital infrastructure and find any inefficiencies and possible security issues. They’ll let you know if the software you’re using to run your business may have any issues and whether or not it should be replaced with a more advanced business solution.

How Does It Work?

The basic principle behind ransomware is that hackers will attack a business’ digital infrastructure by encrypting their data so that it becomes locked and inaccessible by the owners. The attacker(s) will then ask for money in exchange for decrypting or unlocking the data. If a company doesn’t frequently back up their data, they could completely lose access to information on a number of things like their inventory, customer accounts, and details, orders, invoices, etc.

For a small business, having their data locked and inaccessible can be put their whole operation to a screeching halt. This can cause a chain effect that ends up costing them money and customers – not to mention the amount paid in ransom.

What Can You Do?

When it comes to protecting your business from ransomware, the key is prevention.

  • Never click or open links and/or attachments in suspicious emails or text messages
  • Use an antivirus program, encryption tools, and when necessary, a firewall
  • Regularly create backups of your stored data that way you can restore compromised data easily after removing the threat
  • Duplicate data with redundant storage devices like internal drives
  • Schedule regular testing of your business’ software with a firewall tester online to ensure that it’s properly protected – you can even hire a professional hacker who will do these tests for you
  • Create multiple accounts with different levels of access to company information
  • Set security controls on both cloud and dedicated servers to control who has access to moving data

Of course, a number of small business owners might not be very tech-savvy, and if you’re one of them, all this stuff can easily go over your head. In these cases, it’s essential to hire an expert like an ERP consultant who can go over your business software and determine how to make improvements. The time and money investment will definitely be worth it, especially if it means avoiding having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars just because you weren’t prepared.