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Protecting Remote Work Environments from Rising Ransomware Threats

By: Dataprise

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Due to recent global events, organizations have needed to pivot to remote work policies – leading to a surge of cyber-attacks. Among the most significant threats to remote work environments is ransomware, a type of malware that infects a computer system and demands payment to restore access to data or files. Ransomware attacks can be particularly devastating for organizations, as they can result in the loss of sensitive data, disruption of business operations, and costly recovery efforts. But have no fear! With proper protection measures, remote work environments can be safeguarded against ransomware threats. We chatted with our experts and uncovered some best practices for protecting your remote work environment from rising ransomware threats.

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Strong Passwords and Multifactor Authentication

When bad actors are looking to breach environments and deploy ransomware, they target weak passwords. Password health is critical, and your organization should ensure that all employees create strong, complex passwords, and consider implementing multi-factor authentication.

Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring another form of verification after the password is entered. This could be fingerprint authentication, facial recognition, an additional PIN, or even require something the employee has, such as a smartphone. Today, MFA is relied on to ensure compliance with various regulations and data protection laws.

Updated Systems and Software

Outdated software and systems are often more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Regularly update all software and systems to ensure they have the latest security patches and features. Outdated software and systems are more likely to have security vulnerabilities that can be easily exploited.

When software is updated, patches and fixes address known security issues, making it more difficult for attackers to exploit. Additionally, updated software may include new security features that can help protect against emerging threats.

Employee Training

The Verizon DBIR attributes human error as a leading cause of ransomware attacks. Phishing attacks continue to grow in sophistication, impersonating real people in an attempt to trick you. Organizations are advised to host regular training with their employees to ensure they are properly educated.

With phishing attacks, we recommend utilizing the SLAM method:

  • Sender: Check the sender’s email address
  • Links: Hover and check any links before clicking
  • Attachments: Don’t open attachments from someone you don’t know or attachments that you weren’t expecting
  • Message: Check the content of the message and keep an eye out for bad grammar or misspellings

Data Backups

With employees working remotely and having access to company data at the tip of their fingers, backing up data has never been more critical. By regularly backing up all data, organizations are creating a plan to mitigate disasters associated with ransomware. When ransomware strikes, organizations are put in a position of paying a fee for their stolen data. By working with an MSP to back up your data to an offsite location, organizations take a massive step in the right direction to protect themselves.

Develop and test an incident response plan

Okay, I want you to stop and ask yourself – “Does my organization have an incident response plan?” Having an incident response plan helps your organization’s cyber team detect, respond to, and recover from a security incident.  

This is a critical first step to cybersecurity resilience, so our experts have designed a before, during, and after checklist. This checklist is designed to help your organization start an internal conversation and if haven’t already, establish a plan for success.

Ransomware attacks pose a significant threat to all organizations, but remote work environments are especially vulnerable. With more accessible endpoints, hackers have a chance to exploit various avenues. If you aren’t already, implement strong passwords, keep software and systems up to date, provide cybersecurity training, back up all data, and develop /test your incident response plan. Staying vigilant is the best course of action to protect your organization against rising ransomware attacks.

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