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What Is Ransomware and How Can Managed IT Services Help Prevent It?

Ransomware is the number one risk for businesses in New York. Managed IT services can help you prevent it. In this article we’re going to cover the risks of ransomware to your business. We’ll also explain how we’ve helped our customers prevent it. 

Ransomware is a type of malware which encrypts data on your device. After the data is encrypted, a ransom will be demanded (normally in cryptocurrency). If the ransom is not paid, the data is either perpetually blocked or leaked online. However, you have no guarantee that paying the ransom will actually result in the data being unencrypted.  

What Are The Risks Of Ransomware?  

Being unable to access your data can make it nearly impossible to run your business. Past ransomware attacks have seen even large businesses put out of action for days at a time. Hospitals have even been forced to cancel surgeries after being unable to access patient records.  

Additionally, there is the risk of customer or corporate data being leaked online. This can damage your organization’s reputation, reveal trade secrets, or compromise your customers. These data breaches can even result in regulatory fines if you did not adequately secure your customers’ data.  

If your data is leaked as a result of a cyberattack, it signals to other hackers that your cybersecurity is subpar. You may then find your business suffers an increased number of attacks in the following weeks as a result. 

How Do Ransomware Attacks Happen?  

Like most cybersecurity breaches, the cause is often human error. Phishing emails are a major risk factor, with unsuspecting recipients tricked into downloading malware. 

Another common method for delivery is via automated hacking tools. Some of these are Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) tools, providing technical support and advice to hackers in exchange for a share of the ransom payment. These tools scan the internet for networks that are left unsecured. They then attempt to brute force the password and deploy malware over the open connection. 

One of the unfortunate results of hackers using automated tools is that even very small businesses can see their IT compromised. There’s no targeting and the attacks are purely based on which systems were vulnerable. 

How Can Managed IT Services Help You Prevent Ransomware?  

There is no single solution which can prevent ransomware, but through a combination of technologies, we have successfully protected our clients from ransomware.  

  • Ransomware Protection Software
    By comparing software on your machine to lists of known threats, this software aids in the detecting and blocking ransomware. Because the modern ransomware protection is based in the cloud, it syncs its list of known ransomware numerous times a day. This means you’re even protected against the most recently discovered ransomware.
  • Network Monitoring and AI-Driven Detection
    Protecting against known ransomware will only get you so far. With thousands of new threats detected every week, you need a more proactive solution. AI-driven ransomware protection safeguards your network from new and as-yet unknown threats.While each new piece of ransomware is unique, the methods they use to access to your systems are often the same. Carden IT Services can detect and block new ransomware by utilising AI-driven tools to detect suspicious behaviour. All suspicious activity is flagged to our cybersecurity team who will then follow it up and investigate.  
  • Application Whitelisting
    You’re probably familiar with the concept of a software blacklist. A blacklist is a list of software which is blocked from running on your computer. But the problem is, you need to already be aware of a piece of malware in order to blacklist it.Whitelisting works in reverse. Applications you use daily are added to the whitelist. Every other piece of software is blocked by default. Users can request a new software be unblocked if it’s needed, but by default all new programmes will be blocked. This reduces the chances of an employee unwittingly installing ransomware. 

Hopefully you now understand little more about what ransomware is, the risks to your business, and how partnering with a managed IT service provider can help. If your business is at risk of ransomware, you should speak to our cybersecurity team.

Author: Jeremy Huson

Jeremy Huson is the founder and director of Carden IT Services LLC. He has nearly two decades of experience managing businesses’ IT networks and his areas of expertise are IT consultation and cybersecurity.