Being the victim of a ransomware attack is stressful and worrying for any business, and the likelihood you may encounter one has increased significantly in recent years.
So knowing how to minimise the impact on your business is vital, no matter how well you are protected against attacks.
You’ve probably heard plenty about ransomware recently, what with the NHS attack and an increase in ransomware targeting small businesses. A ransomware attack involves malicious software locking down your computer’s files, and then demanding a ransom for returning them to you.
The key to minimising the impact of a ransomware attack is acting quickly and decisively, so it’s essential that all of your staff know exactly what to do.
Whether you’re preparing for a potential attack, or you’re suffering from one right now, here are the steps you should take to minimise the impact on your small business.
Contact a Professional
The first thing you should always do is contact a security professional. Ransomware attacks can be complex, and acting without the advice of a professional could potentially cause more harm than good.
A professional will be able to advise you on the best course of action to take, and will be able to help you effectively navigate all of the other steps in this article.
Using a professional will help to minimise any damage to your business’ revenues or reputation, as well as ensuring that you will be able to address any legal requirements as a result of your ransomware attack. Whether this professional is your IT security supplier, or the company who manages your general infrastructure, they may be able to offer sound advice for minimising the effect of a breach.
Follow Your Breach Response Plan
If you’ve planned effectively, you’ll have a data breach response plan ready to go. This will be able to guide how you and your staff protect customer data and handle any potential loss of sensitive information.
If everyone in your organisation follows the steps laid out in your data breach response plan, you’ll all be working efficiently towards the same goal.
Time is key in handling a ransomware attack, and if any of your team are unsure of their responsibilities, you’ll waste valuable time responding.
If you don’t have a data breach response plan in place, a professional will be able to help you follow best practices and make the best of the situation. We’ve even put together a free guide on formulating your own plan which you can download here.
Quickly Identify the Breach Location
As we’ve just mentioned above, time is key. It’s vital that you quickly identify the breach location to stop the attack spreading further.
Your professional will be able to help you identify where the ransomware attack came from, and contain it to limit the damage.
Once you are confident that this has been done, you can much more carefully consider the best way to move forward.
Containing a ransomware attack quickly can be the difference between huge damage to your business’ data, and a recoverable loss of data.
Weigh Up the Options
You should weigh up the cost of losing data and how this will impact your business. Remember, even if you were to pay the ransom, there’s no guarantee that your data will be restored.
Your professional will be able to help you weigh up the options available, and may suggest that you contact law enforcement.
When you’ve fallen victim to a ransomware attack, you’ll have to think about damage limitation and how you can best work to recover data where possible.
Think carefully about the options available and act in the best interests of your business and customers.
Once you are fully aware of the nature of the attack, and have decided how you’ll respond, contacting all affected stakeholders is a must.
In order to best limit the damage to your business’ reputation, you’ll want to be open with customer about what’s happened, and how you’ll go about remedying the situation. You have a legal responsibility to inform them, even if their personal data has not been stolen.
Other stakeholders such as staff, suppliers and law enforcement should also be made aware.
It’s important to be decisive and act to restore the confidence of your stakeholders.
Follow Your Recovery Plan
As well as having a response plan, your business should also have a comprehensive recovery plan in place.
Once you have worked with your security professional to contain and bring the attack to an end, you should follow your recovery plan closely to resume regular business operation.
This will include measures you should implement to ensure your business doesn’t fall victim to a similar attack in the future.
Following a recovery plan is an important part of regaining your customers’ trust after a ransomware attack. You’ll have to take concrete steps towards reassuring them, and displaying how your business has learnt from the breach.
A ransomware attack is stressful for any business. You may be unsure of how to respond, but following the steps in this article with the help of a security professional should ensure that your business gets back to usual operation as soon as possible.
You should act quickly to minimise the financial and reputational damage to your small business. If you do, your business should be able to make a full recovery from what’s an increasing threat to small businesses everywhere.
At YTL, with our sister company Biscuit, we can work with you to build and maintain a strategy for keeping your systems safe and secure. If you’d like to find out more, just get in touch.