Your Company Needs to Review Your Ransomware Prevention

In a recent letter addressed to corporate executives and business leaders, the White House emphasized that bolstering the nation’s resilience against cyberattacks is a main priority for President Joe Biden’s administration. Specifically, as ransomware attacks continue to rise in both cost and frequency throughout the country, the federal government is urging businesses to take this evolving cyber threat seriously.

These attacks—which entail a cybercriminal deploying malicious software to compromise a business’s network or sensitive data and demand a large payment be made before restoring this technology or information—have quickly become a growing concern across industry lines. In fact, the latest research provides that ransomware attacks have increased by nearly 150% in the past year alone, with the median ransom payment demand totaling $178,000 and the average overall loss from such an attack exceeding $1 million.

“There are options out there for businesses needing risk management guidance and insurance solutions,” Autumn Insurance & Benefits CEO and President Curt Rager said. “It’s still a little muddy regarding what your policies will and will not protect and we are here to help guide you through your company’s own particular policies and needs.”

According to SCS Magazine, one of the top cybersecurity voices in the world, “Although much has been written about the attacks and the resulting fallout, the core question remains: Why does this keep happening? We just had another big ransomware attack against Kaseya and up to 1,500 of their customers over the July 4th weekend. Overall, there were 304.6 million global ransomware attacks in 2020, an increase of 62 percent over 2019. Victim organizations now pay nearly $221,000 on average in ransomware payments.”

The advice from Autumn Insurance, based on our current level of knowledge in this ever-changing issue, includes:

Maintain updated security software. To help safeguard workplace technology from ransomware threats, businesses should equip their systems and devices with adequate security software—such as antivirus programs, firmware protection and firewalls. Further, this software must be regularly updated to remain effective. That being said, businesses should also consider utilizing centralized patch management systems to keep security software on a consistent update schedule.

Ensure an effective incident response plan. All businesses should have cyber incident response plans in place. These plans outline proper response protocols and offer steps for minimizing potential damages during cyberattacks. Businesses should make sure to include several ransomware attack scenarios within their response plans and routinely test these scenarios with their cybersecurity teams. Based on test results, businesses should revise their response plans accordingly.

Review workplace cybersecurity protocols. Apart from testing their response plans, businesses should also regularly assess whether their existing workplace cybersecurity policies, procedures and software are sufficient in protecting against current risks—such as ransomware threats. In particular, businesses should consider using a third-party penetration tester to review their ransomware defense tactics and overall cybersecurity capabilities. Businesses should work with their trusted cybersecurity teams and IT experts to make workplace adjustments as needed (e.g., updating policies or purchasing new security software).

Keep critical networks separated. To keep ransomware attacks from fully disrupting their operations, businesses should attempt to segment their various workplace networks (e.g., sales, production and corporate) from one another rather than having a unified network. Access to each network should be restricted to those who use them to conduct their job tasks. Networks should only allow internet access as needed. That way, businesses can avoid becoming completely compromised by single-network ransomware attacks and continue performing critical functions.

For additional risk management guidance and insurance solutions call Autumn Insurance & Benefits today at 248-478-1177.

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