Ransomware: A Major Cyber Threat for Digital Entrepreneurs

If you’re trying to grow your online enterprise, you need to be aware of potential threats online. Hackers often target growing small businesses

A growing enterprise can be an ideal target from a hacker’s perspective. They often have a lot of valuable data. They also might lack a proper security budget as massive corporations have. 

Some growing enterprises fall victim to ransomware. Ransomware is a new form of cybercrime that often targets small businesses. Here’s a quick rundown on ransomware: what it is and how to avoid it. 

What Is Ransomware?

Ransomware is aptly named. It’s malware that steals your data and blocks your access to it. Then the hacker says you can get your data back… for a price.

When it happens, you get an on-screen message that says, “this system has been locked.” You then get contacted by someone asking for a sum of cash.

How Can Ransomware Hurt Small Businesses?

Exactly how negotiations go after that depends on your resources. Hostage negotiations are a matter of leverage. There are precautions you can take to limit ransomware leverage. We’ll address those shortly. 

The risk of ransomware also depends on the nature of your business. Does your enterprise host sensitive information like credit cards? A data breach can kill your credibility with clients. If any part of your brand’s reputation depends on client privacy, you need extra security measures.

What Can I Do To Protect My Enterprise From Ransomware?

A saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This especially applies to protecting your enterprise from ransomware. If hackers get access to your business’ information, your business is compromised. Here’s how you keep your most valuable asset protected. 

Educate Your Employees About Cybersecurity

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. A business enterprise is made of a lot of human and technological links. When it comes to security breaches, hackers target human factors first.

As an enterprise owner, you need to factor cyber security into your onboarding process. Your employees need to be literate in basic cyber security. They need to know how to choose effective passwords. You will need to educate them about common ransomware threats like phishing emails.

You will also need to create a plan for security maintenance. Employees also need Continuing Education every couple of years about cybersecurity. This will help to keep up-to-date with the latest threats.

Set All Devices to Update Automatically

Once you cover the human factor, the technological factors are pretty easy. One of the easiest ways to boost your cybersecurity is to set all your devices to update automatically. 

Software companies devote teams to finding what holes hackers can exploit and how to patch them. When they send updates to the software, it’s patching a hole before hackers find it. 

It’s easy to put off updating your devices because you want to find the right time. Don’t let that human factor leave you vulnerable; set things to automatically update.

Backup Important Files Offline

If things do go sideways, you will absolutely need things backed up. People holding your data for ransom lose their leverage when you have your data securely backed up. Keep your sensitive data in an encrypted cloud. 

You can also back up files on an external device, but that has limitations. People need physical access to an external device. If you’ve got a remote international team, you need the cloud.

Use a VPN

A VPN service should be a part of any enterprise’s overhead. While it can’t stop ransomware, it makes you way less vulnerable to cyber attacks. A VPN cloaks your IP address. It also encrypts all of your traffic and data.

A VPN is like an invisibility cloak for your enterprise. It masks all of your data. Ransomware hackers cannot see where data is coming from. They cannot see what’s being sent. Even if they could see it, it’s encrypted. A VPN makes your enterprise hard to target. 

An expanding enterprise utilizes a lot of different technological devices. You will want to invest in the fastest VPN. Your VPN provider can accommodate more devices as your enterprise expands. 

Bottom Line

A ransomware attack can decimate the growth of your enterprise. Don’t let hackers take what you’ve built away from you. Take proactive steps to protect your digital business. 

The first thing you want to focus on is your human resources. Do not let your employees go uneducated about cybersecurity. Make sure their knowledge stays up-to-date with continuing education. 

Next, invest in the proper tech resources. You need encrypted cloud storage and a VPN that can scale up as your business grows. 

The ransomware threats are real, but with a few basic precautions, it’s easy to stay safe. Let your business grow to its full potential.

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