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How to Identify Gaps in Your IT and Achieve a Ransomware-Free Future

Among the many undesirable after-effects of the ongoing global pandemic is the rise in ransomware frequency. Certain agencies estimate that there was an increase of 150% in ransomware attacks in 2020. Though ransomware threats and attacks have been around for a while now, operators are constantly coming up with new ways and tactics to hack into your system and compromise sensitive data. Earlier, it might have been sufficient to just back up your data but these days, certain strains of ransomware are targeting backup files too. The way out of this threatening scenario is to update your businesses’ data protection strategy.

By and large, there are 6 main areas where security lapses occur, allowing ransomware to enter and wreak havoc. Here is some insight into those gaps and a few tips on how to seal them.

1. Remote Access Gap

RDP, VPN, and other remote access technologies have proven to be less secure than on-premises technology. The solution here is to ensure that protocols are in place and that, access management policies are strictly followed. Also, make sure that brute force attack protection is in place.

2. Access Management

It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep out malicious applications and users, using traditional password credentials or usernames. It has been observed that most organizations do not have strong password protocols and also users are given excessive permission. To take care of this problem, ensure multi-factor authentication, privileged access management, and zero trust initiatives.

3. Network Segmentation Gaps

Segmenting your networks can help contain malware because malware has been known to conceal itself in networks for weeks or even years before it is detected. If your network is not segmented, you run the risk of malware spreading quickly through your entire network. The answer to this problem lies in separating critical systems from the broader internet and less business-critical networks so as to restrict the number of files that can be exfiltrated or encrypted by ransomware.

4. Backup Gaps

There is no guarantee that backups will work. The only way to ensure that it does is to test frequently and add an air-gapped copy to your backup plan. Problems arise when organizations don’t isolate backups from the network and use poor backup implementation. Make sure that your business data centers have failover capabilities to minimize prolonged downtime.

5. Patch Management Gaps

Patching needs to be made a priority because missed patches and updates are one of the foremost causes of downtime and security events. Ransomware has been observed to target old vulnerabilities. Many organizations, however, only patch the most essential and current vulnerabilities because patching is a time-consuming process. Mobile device patching is often overlooked despite the fact that an increasing number of employees are using personal devices for business purposes. The answer lies in making a patching schedule and sticking to it. However, keep in mind not to only patch according to the schedule. Gain an overview of the vulnerabilities regularly and patch as per requirement using management services or automation.

In the event of a breach, you must have a response plan in place as this can help reduce potential damage and enable a quick return to normal operations. A good place to begin is by establishing response teams who will be responsible for guiding your business’s actions should your systems be compromised. Your business must create a checklist of action items that should be prioritized during an attack to ensure no time is wasted. This plan will vary depending on the severity of the attack and the size of your business. Once the plan has been developed, carry out a mock attack to ensure that each employee understands their roles and can execute them effectively. Response plans must be updated at least once per year, or whenever new technology is implemented at your business.

The cyber threat landscapes rapid and ongoing evolution has made it very difficult for businesses to accurately determine the strength of their security posture. Additionally, new technologies can make identifying network vulnerabilities very challenging for security teams. With that in mind, SPARK services are an excellent resource for businesses looking to access their cybersecurity risk.

Ransomware attacks can no longer be wished away. Your best bet lies in being prepared. At SPARK Services, we ensure that your organization stays protected against the threat of ransomware attacks. Contact us and let us help you keep your data secure and backed up in the cloud.