Ransomware creates a nightmare scenario for every business it targets. It results in lost access to critical systems and data, prolonged downtime, lost productivity, and lost profits. And as ransomware continues to become more sophisticated, the level of risk small and mid-sized businesses face increases.
The impact to business continuity, productivity, and reputation alone are a grave cause for concern, but the financial damage is where the real danger lies. Ransomware demands routinely cost hundreds – sometimes even thousands – of dollars, in addition to the funds your business is losing as a result of the sudden halt in day-to-day operations.
Most technology experts advise strongly against paying ransomware demands. Aside from the high cost, paying does not guarantee that you will receive the promised access to your data. And the more businesses cave to these demands, the more money cyber criminals are able to make, encouraging them to keep targeting businesses and keep raising their price.
Often, the real concern isn’t whether or not you should pay the ransom, but rather whether your business will be able to recover from the damage caused by the infection. Losing access to critical files and applications for any length of time is problematic, to say the least, and it’s estimated that less than half of all ransomware victims are able to fully recover after an attack.
There are several reasons for this grim statistic. A business that pays for the decryption key and receives it run the risk of their data being corrupted during the decryption process, rendering the data useless. The loss of necessary files can result in missed deadlines or lost sales, and keep even the most basic tasks from being completed for days, or even weeks. News of compromised client data can push consumers into taking their business elsewhere and keep new customers from doing business with you. All of these factors lead to significant financial losses for your business.
Even with a recovery plan in place, the time and effort required to restore data from backups, clean all traces of the infection from your systems and network, and get your operations up and running again still results in downtime. Whether the “clean up” takes a few hours, or a few days, that’s still a long period of time where your business has little to no access to your systems and data. The client needs to go unaddressed, productivity nosedives, and your business’ reputation suffers.
The best case scenario when dealing with a ransomware attack? Your business has a rock-solid business continuity plan in place that allows your staff to carry on as usual with minimal to no downtime, and security monitoring in place that can detect an infection the moment it happens, allowing the infection to be contained before it has the chance to spread and cause significant damage.
The faster you and your IT support provider can spot, quarantine, and remove a ransomware infection, the better your business’ chances of bouncing back will be. Ransomware that runs its course unchecked has devastating consequences. Having a plan in place to stop that from happening is essential for the future of your business.
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