There are many challenges with building a company. As a business owner, you are overcoming one obstacle after another. There’s scaling and cash-flow, hiring and firing, competition, bidding and selling, keeping clients happy and delivering projects on time.
The one challenge that you don’t hear of very often however, is your cybersecurity.
Keeping your computer equipment, network and data safe is mission critical, yet it’s overlooked by most businesses.
But it’s not your fault. We need to do a better job of explaining the upside of protecting yourself and the downside of not.
The problem is, it’s an uncomfortable topic. A topic you likely don’t want to hear about. That is, until you have been hit by a ransomware attack.
Then, suddenly when you are forced to choose one of two horrible options, you see the value.
When you are hit with a ransomware attack, and you aren’t protected. Your options are: pay the ransom or lose all your data.
Either option is potentially devastating to your business.
Ransomware Response for The Unprepared: The Lesser Of Two Evils
Because if you pay the ransom … you are dealing with criminals who would sooner take your untraceable money and laugh at you than they would actually give you access to your data back.
And the reason not paying the ransom and choosing to lose all your data is a painful decision is … think of what your data is. Let’s unpack that a little bit.
Your data is all your contracts; bids; proposals; blueprints; processes; CAD drawings; contact information for employees, vendors, and clients; client and prospect lists; accounts receivable and payable; your business license; legal agreements; the list goes on and on.
Basically, your data is your business. If you lose your data, you lose your business.
Painful Cybersecurity Statistics
And the statistics bear this out. Around 60% of companies hit with cyberattacks go out-of-business within 3 years. And that’s a tragedy created from something they were oblivious to.
But I understand it. There’s a false sense of security we all have with computers, and networks, and techy stuff. But that’s not wise in business.
Businesses need to understand the risks and protect themselves against hackers. Because there is no security unless you protect yourself.
You may think you are safe, but according to Crowdstrike, Russian hackers can infiltrate a business network within 18 minutes. North Korean hackers need just under two and a half hours. While Chinese hackers take about 4 hours on average.
In other words, if they want to get into your network and computers they can – easily.
But businesses aren’t taking this threat seriously. According to Fortune, “most businesses don’t really know if they’re prepared for a cyberattack. Actually, 75% of all businesses don’t even have a formal cyberattack response plan.”
You have to have … no, you must … must have a cyberattack response plan! And that includes a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan.
This will ensure your data is protected, and you are able to quickly restore your network and data in the event of a cyberattack, ransomware attack, or any other disaster or unforeseen event that takes out some major portion of your network, equipment, and/or data.
Tips To Protect Yourself from Ransomware and Cyberattacks
In addition to speaking with a Managed Service Provider like us at Attain Technology, here are four tips that will help keep you protected and safe from hackers:
1. Strong passwords and MFA
I’ve discussed the need for strong passwords many times before. Hackers hate strong passwords because they aren’t easy to crack.
If you have a password made up of 9 characters using upper and lower case letters as well as symbols and numbers, it will take a hacker 3 weeks to crack it. But if you add just one more character, the time it takes to crack it jumps up to 5 years. And if you add just one more character and use eleven (11) characters, it would take a hacker 400 years to crack your password.
Adding two characters to your password length takes it from 3 weeks to crack to 400 years.
In addition to strong passwords, make sure you use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to confirm your intent to log into your network and services. MFA comes in the form of text messages to your phone or emails with security codes, or special authentication apps on your phone. They are difficult to hack and replicate, making your password even more hacker proof.
2. Cybersecurity Training for Employees
Hackers take over your network by accessing it with a recognized account that has rights to access data. One of their favorite ways to acquire the credentials to log into these accounts is through phishing. Phishing is sending emails that look official and tricking your employees to enter their username and password into a form and submitting it.
If your employees are trained to spot these phishing attempts, they won’t be fooled into giving hackers the means to access your network.
3. Secure Your Network
Secure your networks including your Wi-Fi network. Make sure it is secure, encrypted and hidden. Then password protect access to your firewall and routers with ridiculously complex 11 – 14 character passwords, then use multi-factor authentication to ensure it’s protected.
4. Backup Your Data
Having good backups that can restore your data in the event of a cyberattack is invaluable. Then, if you get hit with ransomware, you can laugh at the hackers, shut them out, restore your data and get back to business.
But remember, you must have good backups and they have to be able to be restored quickly. If you are down and out of business for a week while your data is restored, while not fatal to your business, a cyberattack is still very destructive.
The Time to Protect Yourself from Ransomware and Hackers is Now!
I wouldn’t be doing you any favors by telling you that it’s OK to wait and see what happens and then consider adding cybersecurity to your budget next year.
You could be knee deep in a cyberattack before then trying to figure out how you are going to come up with $400,000 to get access to your data back!
Talk about stressful!
Just get your peace of mind right now and work with us and let us protect you with the leading Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery solution on the market.
It’s not what you would call an inexpensive, “no-brainer” of a purchase, but you will be protected and it’s a fraction of the cost of just one ransomware attack.
And just to prove that statement, I want to leave you with a totally true, yet unreal statistic:
Think of the Global illicit drug trade. The entirety of it. All the dealers, smugglers, cartels and countries complicit in developing and delivering a wide variety of illicit drugs to the drug users of the world.
That represents a market of $400 Billion per year. A massive figure.
The hackers in Russia, China and North Korea raked in over $600 Billion in 2018 according to Cybersecurity Ventures. Many in the industry expect the number in 2020 to be higher. Much higher.
So much money – extorted from businesses in the United States, Canada and Europe.
My suggestion … don’t be a victim and never, ever pay a ransom!