Ransomware Is Surging: Protect Your Business 

Ransomware has evolved into a significant menace for businesses across Nevada and worldwide, with its threat only amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic four years ago. The pandemic not only disrupted economies and daily life but also created fertile ground for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities in remote work setups and strained IT infrastructures. As businesses adapted to remote operations, often hastily and without robust cybersecurity measures in place, the opportunities for ransomware attacks multiplied exponentially. 

In this fertile ground, cybercriminals have managed to stay one step ahead of tech teams for the past four years. The rise of AI has only exacerbated the situation, giving cybercriminals an edge in devising new strategies. They increasingly use AI to create sophisticated scripts that trick employees into divulging information, enabling infiltration even into the strongest company defenses.  

In 2020 alone, the global tally of ransomware attacks reached a staggering 304 million, affecting more than 65% of businesses worldwide, as reported by Statista. These figures, however alarming, likely represent only a fraction of the actual incidents, with many attacks going unreported or unnoticed by the broader public. Nevada’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), in particular, have found themselves disproportionately targeted, yet their struggles often remain invisible in mainstream media coverage.  

The Fallacy of Targeting Only Large Enterprises  

One of the gravest misconceptions among SMBs is the belief that cybercriminals only target large enterprises with deep pockets. Consequently, many SMBs still rely on rudimentary backup solutions and lack comprehensive cybersecurity strategies. While basic data backups are essential, they are insufficient in the face of increasingly sophisticated ransomware attacks.  

The truth is that hackers are counting on smaller businesses to have fewer security measures in place, making it easier for them to infiltrate systems. While it’s good to have data backups, it’s high time you take security a step further.  

Implementing the 3-2-1 Backup Strategy  

The industry-recommended 3-2-1 backup strategy exemplifies a proactive approach to data protection. This strategy advises maintaining three copies of essential data: two onsite but on different mediums and one offsite. By diversifying the storage locations and types of backup, businesses can mitigate the risk of complete data loss in the event of a ransomware attack or other disasters.  

  1. Three Copies of Data: Having at least two additional copies of your data, in addition to your original data, ensures that in the event of a disaster, you will always have additional copies. The first backup copy is usually kept in the same location as the original, often on the same server. 
  1. Two Different Mediums: Storing additional copies of your valuable data on the same server or location won’t be helpful in the event of a breach. Keep two copies of your data on different types of storage mediums. These include internal hard drives and removable storage like an external hard drive or a USB drive. If this isn’t practical for your business, keep copies on two internal hard disks in separate storage locations.  
  1. One Off-Site Copy: Keep one copy of your data off-site, far from the rest. This helps safeguard against worst-case scenarios.  

The Importance of Layered Security  

Beyond backups, the concept of layered security emerges as a cornerstone of effective cyber defense. While traditional antivirus software and firewalls provide initial protection, they are inadequate against the multifaceted threats posed by modern cybercriminals. Layered security, therefore, advocates for the implementation of multiple security measures at various levels of the IT infrastructure. This approach ensures that if one layer is breached, others remain intact to detect, respond, and mitigate potential damage swiftly.  

The seven layers of layered security include:  

Information Security Policies 

Establishing policies that control access and usage of sensitive data. These policies are crucial for maintaining the security and integrity of IT resources. By raising information security awareness within the organization, businesses can demonstrate to their clients and partners that they are committed to protecting data.  

Physical Security 

Implementing measures such as surveillance, restricted access to physical IT infrastructure, and other deterrents to prevent unauthorized entry. Physical security protects the physical hardware and helps monitor employees who have access to sensitive systems.  

Network Security 

Protecting networks from unauthorized access through robust firewall configurations and intrusion detection systems. Effective network security measures are essential because once hackers gain access to a network, they can exploit vulnerabilities to access computers and servers.  

Vulnerability Scanning 

Regularly scanning for and addressing vulnerabilities in software and configurations. Vulnerability scans help detect missed patches and improper configurations, which can open the door for cybercriminals.  

Identity and Access Management (IAM) 

Managing and restricting access to critical systems based on user roles and privileges. With technological advancements, acquiring passwords and hacking into networks is easier than ever. IAM makes unauthorized access difficult by restricting access to essential data and applications.  

Proactive Protection and Reactive Backup 

Employing technologies and practices that proactively identify and mitigate threats, coupled with reliable backup and recovery strategies. Proactive protection aims to detect and fix security risks before they lead to significant breaches, while reactive backup ensures quick recovery after an attack.  

Continual Monitoring and Testing 

Regularly monitoring the effectiveness of security measures through testing and simulation of potential cyber threats. Continual monitoring and testing help identify gaps in the security posture and ensure that backup and disaster recovery strategies are effective.  

Partner w/ iTernal Networks for Enhanced Cybersecurity  

In conclusion, while ransomware poses a formidable threat to businesses worldwide. The adoption of strategies such as the 3-2-1 backup method and layered security can significantly reduce the risk of critical data being lost. By acknowledging the evolving threat landscape and seeking expert guidance when needed, businesses can protect their data, operations, and reputation from the devastating impact of cyberattacks.  

Partnering with our expert iTernal Networks team ensures that businesses are not only prepared but are also equipped to handle future cybersecurity challenges. Reach out today to ensure your business is protected and prepared for whatever cyber threats come your way. 

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