Ransomware seems to be a cyber criminal’s weapon of choice nowadays. As much as I wish ransomware wasn't a threat to all businesses, it is, and you must protect yourself.

I have been the CEO of a tech company for over 35 years, and it’s been shocking to see the increase in ransomware and the damage it’s caused businesses.

According to a recent Palo Alto Networks report, 70% of the top cyber attacks used ransomware or email compromise as their attack tactic in the past 12 months.

The Targets Are Getting Smaller

Many small business owners I’ve spoken to say they don’t think cyber criminals will target them and will only go after major corporations. That just isn’t the case.

The data shows us that 82% of ransomware attacks in 2021 were against companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. 47% of businesses with fewer than 50 employees don't have any cybersecurity budget, which makes it difficult for them to recover from those attacks.

Cyber criminals see small businesses as easy targets because they often have poorer security measures than larger enterprises.

If an attack hits a small business, that business owner is usually not financially prepared to recover. Most small businesses lack cyber insurance, cannot recover on their own, and end up going out of business.

Of the businesses with cyber liability insurance (CLI), 48% purchase it after a cyber attack. Unfortunately, without CLI, business owners are responsible for the full cost of the cyber attack but at least their business survived… 

Pay Ransom or Suffer Even More Downtime?

Ransomware is malicious software hackers use to encrypt data on a computer, making it inaccessible to the owner. On the other end, the hacker demands money (usually in the form of bitcoin) to restore access to the computers, servers, and all the data stored on the devices.

This obviously puts business owners in a tough spot. Do they pay the ransom (if they can afford it) or risk all their sensitive information being leaked onto the dark web?

Either way, this can leave your business unable to operate or serve your customers for an unknown length of time. So, whether you pay the ransom or not, you're losing money to downtime.

Money Lost Now and Into the Future

According to a survey conducted by GetApp, 83% of ransomware victims lost revenue, and 62% lost clients. 

We all know that ransomware can cost you money, but it can also cost your business in other ways. The long-term consequences of ransomware are far-reaching and more costly than the ransom itself.

Reputational Damage

A ransomware attack can cause serious damage to your reputation as a business. Damage to your company’s brand can negatively impact your bottom line. Lost revenue can be recouped, but a hit to your business’s reputation is irreversible.

Loss of Customer Trust

One of the most damaging aspects of ransomware is a loss of customer trust. There are rules and regulations about reporting data breaches to those affected, and in a ransomware attack — it’s everyone you do business with. This can be detrimental to any business, particularly if they rely on long-term customer relationships.

According to a CNBC Momentive Small Business Survey, 55% of people in the U.S. would be less likely to continue doing business with breached companies.

Would you trust a company with your financial information after it suffered a data breach? Why wouldn’t you take your business elsewhere when you have proof that your sensitive data is not being handled with care?

Companies must invest in cybersecurity to have a better chance of maintaining customer trust in the long term.

No Business is Safe

No business is immune to ransomware attacks, but there are measures that you can take to protect your business and decrease your risk. Implementing strong cybersecurity precautions such as multi-factor authentication, regular backups, and staff training can go a long way toward preventing ransomware attacks.

Be sure your employees know how to spot the red flags of a phishing email so they won’t click on malicious links that could infect your business systems with ransomware.

However, as cyber criminals become more sophisticated, business owners need to consult with cybersecurity professionals to identify their most glaring vulnerabilities and create a security strategy that is going to protect them long term.

Interested in learning how One Step can help you lower your risk of a ransomware attack?

Learn if your business is at high risk of getting hit with ransomware and contact One Step Secure IT’s cybersecurity experts now.

Read: Learn how this organization responded to and overcame a ransomware attack.

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