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The Cost of Downtime and the Effects of Ransomware on Small Business

It pains me to say that you need to know the cost of downtime from ransomware and it’s effects on small business now because it shouldn’t be a thing. But unfortunately it is, and it cripples businesses hit with ransomware.

In 2021, a business falls victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds.

Many people find it hard to believe that their business could be a target.  They think their business is too small or not big enough to catch the eye of a hacker.

This is just not the case.

The bad guys go after the most vulnerable, the low hanging fruit, the businesses with little or no cybersecurity in place – they are an easy target and the bad guys like an easy job.

Why is this so important?

Ransomware is on the Rise

Ransomware attacks have risen since the start of 2020.

  • In 2017 ransomware attacks topped 184 million
  • In 2018 ransomware attacks topped 187.9 million
  • In 2020 ransomware attacks grew by 715%

That is about half of the businesses in the world being hit by ransomware attacks every year. And ransomware attacks are 2.5 times more damaging to a business than any other form of cybersecurity incident.

Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks are more damaging and cause more downtime because small businesses keep taking the bait. The bait comes in the form of phishing emails, poor user practices and lack of cybersecurity training.

Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are the most popular form of a ransomware attack. And there is a simple reason, the emails are designed to look like they come from someone you know. So it is easy to fall prey by clicking a link in an email when you think it is from someone you know.

I remember an incident in 1999 where a hacker sent an email to a web design firm with the subject line “I love you” eight people in the company opened it almost immediately and one clicked the link.

Fortunately, after the employee clicked the link they felt like something was wrong and phoned IT.

Good thing, the link in the email was a worm that was set to systematically delete every image file, jpgs and gifs, from all computers the initial email was mapped too.

Can you imagine how devasting that would be to a web design firm that literally stores thousands of images for its clients.

This incident took place1999! Think of how good the bad guys have become with their messages since then?

They are exceptional at enticing people to open emails and click links. It’s the reason 54% of all ransomware attacks are sent through emails.

Poor User Practices

Most companies have new employee training but when it comes to training employees on the devices they are assigned to, the ball is often dropped.

Leaving your employees with no knowledge of:

  • Ongoing updates they need to perform on their devices to ensure they are protected
  • Standard connectivity practices and protocols for different locations, office or in the field
  • No understanding of the problem with public Wi-Fi connections
  • No procedure for reporting device problems
  • No best practices for setting up passwords

Poor user practices are the reason for 27% of all ransomware attacks.

Lack of Cybersecurity Training

Lack of cybersecurity training includes poor user practices, but in general, goes more in depth with best practices and protocols for your employees to beware of in their day-to-day activities on their devices, email, and internet connections.

Ongoing cybersecurity awareness training for your employees is one of the best ways to stop an incident before it happens and spreads throughout your company.

26% of ransomware attacks are due to lack of cybersecurity training.

The True Costs of Downtime – Ransomware Attacks Cost Your Business

It is not easy to restore your data after a ransomware attack. Small businesses reported that the downtime to restore their data in some cases cost upwards of $274,200.

You may be thinking that number is high but consider your network, backups and devices. Most business owners think they have their devices and data organized, secured and backed up. But do you really?

How many times have you checked a backup only to discover the data you were expecting isn’t there, and nothing has been backed up for months?

And, after an attack, it is not usually just your data that’s been harmed by the bad guys, it’s also your network and computers and devices as well.

You are left with having to replace lost devices, repair networks and restore backups if you have them.

Think about the downtime you will incur while you repair, replace and restore all you have lost. How long will it take? And what will your employees do while you fix this nightmare?

Not only are you losing money with the downtime the attack has caused but you are also paying employees to sit around and wait while you try to get it all repaired.

And to top it off, whether you pay the ransom or not you will still have downtime, paying does not solve the problem:

  • 98% of those who pay the ransom receive a decryption tool from the hacker which means they still have downtime because they must figure out how to run the tool to hopefully recover their data.
  • 4% who pay the ransom never recover their data even after paying.
  • 34% of businesses take more than a week to recover and some take months to fully recover.

So what’s the answer?

How to Stay Protected and Safe – Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR)

The best way to stay safe and be protected is to have a business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place.

Companies who have business continuity and disaster recovery in place experience:

  • Reduced downtime during an emergency or security incident
  • Minimal disruption due to the ability to restore key information quickly
  • Assistance maintaining regulatory compliance
  • Assistance determining the lessons learned after the incident

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan

Generally, a solid business continuity and disaster recovery plan solution should cover these six areas to ensure protection:

  1. Fast Failback: Instead of being down for hours you can be up and restored in as long as it takes to shut down and reboot a server. You are up and running while the technician moves files from the server(s).
  2. Ransomware Detection: Monitors in real-time, the presence of ransomware, stops the processes and isolates infected devices.
  3. Rapid Rollback: As the term applies, your device is brought back to the last point in time it was protected, very quickly, keeping you from suffering downtime on your device.
  4. Two-Factor Authentication: Two-factor authentication is one of the simplest solutions to keep your data from being compromised in a ransomware attack.
  5. Instant Virtualization: Sleep easy knowing your data can be rapidly restored after an attack or outage minimizing your downtime.
  6. Secure Cloud Backup: A secure cloud allows you to have peace of mind that your data is secure offsite, compliant and allows for secure disaster recovery.

Four out of five businesses with a business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place recover from ransomware within 24 hours.

Remember, it’s not a matter of if you get attacked, it’s a matter of when.  So don’t be caught off guard by a ransomware attack and lose our data, network, devices, and thousands of dollars in downtime and ransomware.

A solid Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan ensures you will stay safe, connected, and have minimal downtime when an incident occurs.

Resources from the Article

:: Most Cyberattacks Are Kept Quiet

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