Ransomware attacks are becoming more and more common and are a serious risk to your business. If you don’t protect yourself, your business could be sent back to a 1950s pen & paper system in a 2020s world.
What is a ransomware attack?
Ransomware attacks are where a hacker gains access to your servers, PCs, laptops etc. and encrypts all of your data. Without a key from the hackers, you cannot access your data, and they demand a ransom for this.
You may have heard of the “Wannacry” attack, which brought parts of the NHS to a standstill, forcing them to cancel 19,000 appointments. This was just one example of a growing number of attacks that are bringing businesses to a halt all over the world
What could a ransomware attack do to your business?
In the short term, you would be propelled back to the pre-computer age without your emails, contacts, Microsoft Office documents etc. If your data back-ups are synched, you may find even cloud backups are now encrypted. You would be forced to find any information you happen to have on file, digging out business cards, printed contracts and anything else you happen to have written down or printed out. You could get your machines wiped and start again but without any of your historical files. How much of the digital data you rely on is also available to you in hard copy?
What about paying the ransom? Well, apart from the fact that their demands are often more than businesses can afford, there have been cases of companies paying the ransom but the data remaining encrypted. Whether you get your data back or not, if you pay, you are seen as a “mark” and can guarantee that you will be targeted again.
The cost to your business
A ransomware attack could cost you in multiple ways. While you cannot work, you cannot earn, and you would lose your revenue. It could mean that you cannot meet your contractual obligations, costing you those contracts and your reputation. Depending on what you do and the impact on your customers, they could even take you to court.
Even if you do manage to carry on based on your paperwork, running a business like this is labour intensive, and you are likely to need to pay your staff overtime or bring in extra staff or freelancers to help.
These are significant costs that could destroy your business! A ransomware attack cost the courier TNT £221m in 2017, and it took them months and months to get their operations back on track. They were lucky, they were big enough, and their parent company had enough funds to get them back on track (eventually). Last year, Travelex went into administration after a ransomware attack in 2019 meant that they lost all of their customer data
And don’t think it is just the big boys making the headlines going out of business or losing a lot of money. Small businesses are also being hit every day. So you need to do everything you can to protect your business from a ransomware attack