An image of an eye with locks coming out of it. The word "ransomware" is in front of the image.

Beware of malicious software like ransomware, which holds your data hostage.

When it comes to malware, there may be none more malicious and devious than ransomware. Ransomware effectively locks a computer and holds the contents for ransom, requiring the owner to pay a fee in order to regain access.

How Serious Is It?

Ransomware can do anything from permanently locking a computer to actually deleting all of your data if you try to get around the malware without paying the ransom. But before you reach for your credit card, there are important reasons to avoid paying the ransom, and far better ways to protect your company or recover your data.

What This Means for Businesses

If someone in your office wanders into unsavory internet territory and gets ransomware downloaded on your system, it can bring your entire organization to a grinding halt. Paying the ransom is worthless. There is no guarantee that the malware is not still in the system just waiting to spring up and take more of your money in the future. And you probably shouldn’t give account info to someone who is clearly a criminal. So what can you do to protect your company?

Prevention—The Best Policy

First of all, the best way to keep your business safe is to avoid ransomware at all costs. This means:

  1. Educating employees about what constitutes appropriate internet use on company devices.
  2. Keeping software, apps, and operating systems updated at all times so that the exploits hackers use are not available.
  3. Keeping firewalls and antivirus in place to protect your network.
  4. Keeping data backed up in the cloud, so that loss of a device does not stop workflow.
  5. Training staff to avoid clicking email links that they are not 100% certain about.

Stopping Ransomware Is a Team Effort

It takes everyone on the staff to recognize the dangers of the internet and avoid them. Another important thing that needs to be instilled is that if ransomware should somehow get on a machine, the employee should immediately report it rather than paying the ransom in an effort to brush things under the rug and avoid possible consequences.

What If It’s Too Late?

Don’t give up hope yet. A talented IT agency may be able to help recover your data—and an IT team will cost you far less than the ransom most hackers put in place.