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What Do You Mean I'm Not Safe from All Ransomware Attacks?!

Chances are that you are paying accordingly for your protection from all types of viruses, malware, and ransomware and are getting sound advice from your provider. So how is it that your IT provider cannot protect you from all attacks? After all, they should know everything shouldn’t they?

We aren’t going to sugar coat things here, the truth is, we don’t and we can’t. But, we can keep you as safe as possible. It’s unfortunate the way the ransomware industry, yes, industry, is growing and changing today. Recently, cybercrime has evolved into a full-blown industry; who would have thought that Ransomware as a Service would become a thing? Criminals are getting smarter and constantly learning ways to get past what used to be viewed as everything-proof security. The ones creating malware these days are just as brilliant as your security solution experts; they have simply chosen the dark side of IT. It’s definitely a scary thought, which is exactly why you need to equip yourself with as much security and protection as is available to you.

Try to think of it this way: your IT provider in many ways is to your network system what your doctor is to you. You visit your doctor when you are ill and come up with a solution for how you will recover; what kind of treatment you will be needing. Most people also have regular checkups with their physician even when they feel healthy just to ensure that everything is going smoothly. Your doctor offers many preventative solutions as well, such as vitamins, diet, exercise, and vaccinations. Your doctor is the expert, and yet even when following directions, you still occasionally catch something. There are two aspects that your doctor cannot control that can cause you to become ill: the environment and your actions. We all know that you have minimal control over the environment. More importantly, your doctor can make recommendations over and over, yet without proper execution you are at a higher risk for the flu, a cold, a hereditary illness, etc.

Think of your IT provider in the same way. Your systems are monitored, updates are constantly implemented, and they protect you to the best of their abilities. Your IT providers are the experts, but sometimes there are attacks that have evolved; brilliant culprits who have figured out how to get past even the most up-to-date security settings. And without proper security training, your staff may be your biggest risk factor for allowing these infections to occur. Undoubtedly, a solution to fight and prevent these attacks will be found quickly in most cases. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t vulnerable. Just like your body’s vulnerability to new illnesses, there is always something out there that will present as a threat to your system.

If your IT provider doesn’t have all the answers, then what are you to do? The reality is that nobody truly has all of the answers and probably never will. The best strategy is to plan for the worst and have steps in place to limit the negative impact. We can stay up to date in every way possible, follow every IT security blog, and do everything in our power to stay ahead of the game on the latest attacks. The problem is that much like real-life illnesses, ransomware is changing and evolving rapidly. When new ones begin to attack, there may not be a set solution for neither prevention nor destruction, other than wiping your system and restoring from a backup. However, below is WAMS’s prescription on the many ways that you can prevent yourself from future attacks.

  • Stay updated. Work with an IT provider that keeps you in the know on the latest updates regarding major attacks and security breaches, whether this be through social media, blogs, or even emails that send a warning any time there is a culprit on the rise or a security issue coming forward.
  • Work with an IT provider that you know you can trust. Why is this so important? Your provider will make recommendations based on your system’s needs. You need to feel excellent about the recommendations you receive from your provider, and more importantly, be 110% confident that it is in your best interest to implement those recommendations if you want your best chance at avoiding ransomware attacks.
  • Know that you are compliant with all necessary data security obligations. It is important to know that you are HIPAA, SEC, FERPA, FTC, and ITAR compliant in your security and data storage. You also may be subject to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards as well.
  • Have redundant backups in place. We truly cannot stress enough to you just how important this is. If you do not have a redundant backup system in place and you are hit with ransomware, you cannot retrieve your data unless you pay for the decryption key. The number one problem with ransomware is that no matter how hard even the most brilliant of IT providers try, decrypting ransomware without a key is completely unheard of. We’d like to wave our magic wands and rid you of these nasty infections, but that’s not an industry possibility… yet.
  • Email security. Use a solution that provides protection from multiple types of attacks. We’d suggest one specifically designed to provide security, archiving, continuity, malicious URL defense, attachment sandboxing, data leak prevention, and email encryption.
  • Mandatory security training for your staff. It’s impossible to predict all threats that can affect your network, but it is important to provide your team with security training and put together policies that will keep your network safe.

We can’t stress enough to you that this “prescription” is a list of steps for your best shot at protecting yourself and avoiding future hits. Never underestimate the power that you give criminals when you do not take the necessary precautions and allow yourself to be vulnerable. It is vital that you are just as careful about the health of your network as you are about your own health. Let your IT provider be your network doctor, and allow them to keep your system healthy.


WAMS has been providing law firms with comprehensive, high-quality IT/computer consulting and support solutions since 1974. Our legacy of superior quality and service continues today as we design, install, and maintain a vast network of both onsite and cloud-based computer systems specifically tailored for each unique client. Click here for more information.

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