Ransomware is a particularly sinister threat to your computer systems & data, which has developed over the past few years. It’s a category of computer virus that once on your system, does a number of things you don’t want it to. Firstly, it starts to encrypt your data files – especially the common formats such as from Word, Excel and PDF – so you can’t access them. Then you receive a ransom email demanding money in return for the encryption key to regain access to your documents. All the time, it’s encrypting more of your data making it unavailable to you. In simple terms, it’s a computerised blackmail scheme you need to protect your business against.

Prevention is the best defence, so talk to your IT Supplier to ensure you have effective defences in place. These should entail a combination of deploying Anti-virus software, having a robust IT Systems’ Firewall in place, and using strong IT security policies and practises. That said, this will only minimise the likelihood you become victim of a Ransomware attack. The best of all these measures might still be bypassed, and a Ransomware strike at the heart of your business.

Recovery from an attack is more difficult. You may choose to concede defeat and pay the ransom, but you run the risk that your blackmailer may choose to make further demands rather than resolve the situation as initially promised.

The only effective solution to a Ransomware attack is to have an effective IT Backup & Recovery Plan in operation. This entails taking regular backups of all your systems and data and holding these in a secure location where it’s ready to be called on should you need to recover from a disaster scenario such as a Ransomware attack. Effective plans will categorise your systems & data with critical ones being backed up more frequently and recoverable very quickly, while less important ones may be backed up less frequently and may take longer to recover. Keyhouse recommend you contact your IT Supplier to ensure you have a fit for purpose Backup and Recovery Plan in operation. Should you suffer a Ransomware attack, this will allow you restore your systems to what they were before the attack and get you back up and running without delay.

Written by Ciaran Mac Giolla Riogh, Technical Support Manager, Keyhouse.