Home » How to Minimize the Cost of a Ransomware Attack
On average, a single ransomware case sets a company back $4.45 million — and that’s without the ransom.
The exact figure will vary from case to case, depending on how much of the system is compromised or which documents are encrypted in the incident.
Besides locking the files and rendering them useless, new types of ransomware can also steal documents. In the case of a data breach that involves sensitive user information, the final cost of the ransomware soars as well.
Another variable is the size of the company itself. Larger organizations have better security. However, they get targeted by ransomware groups that demand large sums in their ransom notes. The strength of the security determines whether the company can bounce back soon enough to avoid high costs.
If the company lost access to critical parts of the infrastructure, it might have to rebuild it from scratch.
Also, there is the cost of the ransom itself. While it’s not advisable, some companies pay the ransom to regain access to sensitive data.
How to reduce a possible cost of a ransomware attack and protect companies against this malware?
Maintain Regular Cybersecurity Hygiene
For the hackers to infect the system with ransomware, they require illicit access to the network or a vulnerability they can exploit. They can get initial access with a phishing email, stolen credentials, or by exploiting a critical bug within unpatched software.
Therefore, many costly ransomware cases can be prevented with regular cybersecurity hygiene. Start here:
● Update systems to their newer, safer versions as soon as it’s released
● Introduce phishing awareness training for employees
● Create backups of important data so that you don’t have to pay the ransom to restore files
That kind of continual security maintenance and data management on a daily basis is essential because it prevents the high cost of an attack down the line. It prevents the malware from entering the system.
Invest in Tools That Can Recognize Ransomware
Basic cybersecurity hygiene and essential security solutions such as anti-malware aren’t enough to prevent advanced ransomware attacks. New strains of malware will go undetected by traditional security tools.
In high-profile cases, where major companies get targeted with ransomware, the public often finds out that the incident was caused by ransomware groups — who have their own versions of the malware.
Advanced anti-ransomware solutions are based on the fact that regardless of the type, ransomware locks the documents.
Therefore, even undocumented strains of malware can be detected in the system because they display similar fingerprints and behavioral patterns.
By investing in proper security tools, organizations prevent the high cost of ransomware and subsequent data breach in the future.
Create an Incident Response Plan
Having an incident response plan can decrease the cost of the ransomware even after it already happens. Teams can follow the guidelines on the best practices and save what they can early.
When a ransomware attack hits, everyone should know their role and the best course of action. Otherwise, they might panic and restart or turn off their computers, risking the loss of all of their files.
Businesses that have been victimized in the past can learn from their mistakes and craft a response plan accordingly.
Organizations that haven’t yet suffered a threat still have time to form a ransomware playbook. It should explain who they should contact, which steps they need to take to mitigate the attack, what they can do to recover the data, and more.
As mentioned, the recovery stage is the most expensive when it comes to cyber-attacks. In the best-case scenario, when the company does have strong security, this stage will last no more than one to two weeks.
For other companies that lack strong security tools and protocols, it might take months to get everything back up and running. During that time, they can’t access the important structures, fall behind on work, and lose revenue.
There are also the companies that never recover after the ransomware attack.
Communicate Openly About the Attack
If the ransomware has already compromised files or locked parts of your network, you’re facing a possible data breach. Depending on the laws in your state and the extremity of the attack, you might be legally obliged to notify users of the attack.
The difference between businesses that handle the attack (data breach) well is based on how they communicate the attack to the public. To retain the trust of your customers amid the attack:
● Share what happened on your social media or website
● Notify the users that have been affected early — especially if their sensitive data was compromised in the attack
● Explain what you’re doing to remedy the issue
This shows current and future clients that the company has integrity and puts its users first. And customers buy from businesses they trust. Companies that hide the attack compromise future revenue.
Eighty percent of minimizing the cost of a ransomware attack happens in the pre-planning stage.
Preventive measures such as adding security solutions that can block the ransomware, creating backups of important files, and introducing phishing awareness training decrease the chance of a costly attack.
When the malware locks important files, a company has limited options on what it can do. They can hire experts to help them mitigate threats, try to isolate parts of the network, and be transparent with the public.
The bottom line is: The cost of ransomware is always high — whether you look at damaged reputation, lost revenue, accumulated lawsuit fees, investigation and improvement of security, or disrupted work.
Be ready because it’s not a question of if it will happen to your business, but when.