A ransomware attack can be devastating for a small business. According to IBM’s 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the total average cost of a ransomware attack was $4.62 million, a 41% increase from the total average cost in 2020. The biggest costs associated with a ransomware attack are business disruptions, IT and security expenses and lost productivity. Unfortunately, a small business may not have the same resources as a large corporation to recover from an attack. This is why it is important for small businesses to take steps to reduce the likelihood and impact of a ransomware attack.
Why All Small Businesses Should Care About Ransomware
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands a ransom to decrypt them. Ransomware can have a devastating impact on any business, small businesses especially. If you are a business owner you should be aware of these risk:
- Business interruption: Ransomware can prevent you from accessing important files and applications, which can disrupt your business operations.
- IT and security expenses: You may also need to hire additional staff or outsource services to clean up the ransomware infection and secure your systems.
- Lost productivity: Employees may be unable to work while systems are down or files are encrypted. This can lead to lost productivity and revenue.
- Reputational damage: A ransomware attack can also damage your company’s reputation if customer data is compromised or if there is a prolonged interruption in service.
Should You Pay the Ransom?
There is no easy answer to this question. Cybersecurity professionals typically recommend not paying the ransom because there’s no guarantee that the hacker will release your files once you pay. You should weigh the costs and risks of paying the ransom against the costs and risks of not paying. Some factors to consider include:
- The size of your business: A large corporation may be able to weather a ransomware attack better than a small business.
- The type of files that were encrypted: If the encrypted files are not critical to your business operations, you may be able to live without them.
- The ransom amount: The attackers may demand a large sum of money that your business cannot afford to pay.
- The likelihood of success: There is no guarantee that the attackers will decrypt your files even if you pay the ransom.
- The risk of data loss: If you do not have backups of your encrypted files, you may lose them permanently.
How to Reduce the Impact and Likelihood of a Ransomware Attack
There are a few steps you can take to reduce the impact of a ransomware attack:
- Have an incident response plan: This should include who to contact, what to do and how to communicate with employees and customers.
- Train your employees: Employees should know what to do in the event of a ransomware attack. They should also know not to open attachments from unknown senders or click on links in suspicious emails.
- Backup your data: Regularly back up your data to a secure location. If a hacker infects your business network with ransomware, you can restore your files from the backup.
- Install security software: Install and maintain security software on all of your devices. This will help to protect your systems from malware.
- Update your software: Keep your software up-to-date with the latest security patches. This will help to close any vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit.
By taking these steps, you can reduce the likelihood and impact of a ransomware attack on your business. Visit our business ransomware page to learn more about recovering your business from a ransomware attack.