Steps to Boost Resilience for Your Business | #ransomware | #cybercrime

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With cybercriminals becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attacks, ransomware readiness has never been more critical for business.

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In today’s interconnected digital world, the ransomware threat looms large, with cybercriminals becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attacks. These financially motivated crimes often leave attack victims facing the difficult decision of paying ransom to retrieve data or refusing to pay and risk losing their data.

Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of if but when your business could become a target. Ransomware attacks are now projected to happen every two seconds, and by 2031, they could cost victims $265 billion.

Even with strong prevention measures, no organization is completely immune to ransomware attacks. However, being prepared for potential threats can mitigate how your organization can be impacted amid this growing and evolving threat landscape.

How poor ransomware readiness affects your business

In addition to the immediate financial impact, ransomware attacks can impact other areas of the business, including:

  • Loss of market share
  • Loss of staff productivity and inability to achieve performance targets
  • An increased rate of attacks in the future
  • Data loss
  • Negative impacts on reputation, including loss of consumer and stakeholder confidence in the safety of their data
  • Incident response costs
  • Loss of business-critical data and systems
  • Regulatory fines and penalties

Several areas can be evaluated when preparing an effective response to reduce business impacts, including governance, processes and procedures for information protection, and technical and human safeguards.

What is effective IT governance?

IT governance is crucial in safeguarding organizations against the ever-growing ransomware threat. It helps ensure an organization can respond swiftly and effectively to a ransomware event to minimize downtime and mitigate potential damages.

Effective governance encompasses oversight, guidance and the establishment of policies and procedures to address ransomware challenges. Any preemptive measures can be identified by evaluating the risks of ransomware threats. In addition, having a formal strategy in the event of a ransomware incident will enable an organization to minimize the impact on critical processes and prevent interruptions that could disrupt the normal flow of business operations.

Establishing processes to protect vital information

Having processes and procedures for information protection enhances an organization’s resilience and enables it to mitigate the likelihood and impact of a ransomware event proactively. They are pivotal in evaluating and setting management objectives to safeguard sensitive information. They should encompass critical components such as data inventory, identity management, and account inventory and reconciliation, among others.

Authorized assets should only be able to attach to and access systems and data within the environment to fortify the organization’s security posture. Implementing adequate data inventory and management practices also supports data backup and recovery operations, preventing potential data loss in a ransomware incident.

Strengthening your technical safeguards

Technical safeguards play an essential role in strengthening an organization’s defenses against the impact of a ransomware event by leveraging various technologies. These include, but are not limited to, asset inventory systems, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and patch management solutions.

The implementation of these technical safeguards assists in minimizing unauthorized network activity, thereby reducing the attack surface and enhancing the organization’s overall cybersecurity posture. They also support sophisticated analysis, which could offer valuable insights for preventing future potentially malicious activities based on past events.

Organizations can significantly reduce the impact of ransomware by enabling early detection and identification of malicious activities through tactics like event logging for security breach identification, prevention of infection via antivirus/antimalware, and deploying endpoint detection and response technology.

Building human safeguards

Human safeguards are essential in addressing the human factor of ransomware risks, mainly because humans are considered the weakest link in information security. These safeguards involve implementing controls such as user training and awareness programs. This empowers employees with the knowledge to understand how ransomware attacks occur, fostering a heightened sense of vigilance and awareness.

The impact of ransomware can be significantly minimized through practical training, as employees become better equipped to recognize and respond to potential threats. Human safeguards also extend to the collaborative role of enterprises with law enforcement, emphasizing the importance of a united front in combating ransomware and enhancing overall cybersecurity resilience.

As the battle against ransomware continues, organizations must determine how to increase their readiness and become more resilient to future attacks. RKL’s team of IS assurance and advisory professionals can help your organization navigate the complexities of cybersecurity. Contact RKL advisor to get started on protecting your workplace.


Michael T. McAllister, CPA.CITP, CISA, is the leader of RKL’s IS Assurance Practice. He serves clients in a variety of industries through information technology internal audits; IT governance, revaluation, and design; and QA/IV&V (Quality Assurance, Independent Verification and Validation) engagements. McAllister also provides SOC services for various types of entities, ranging from national service bureaus, financial institutional support entities, and data hosting services.

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