What to do in case of a ransomware attack (and how to prevent one from occurring again)

What to do in case of a ransomware attack (and how to prevent one from occurring again)

A ransomware attack can be a real nightmare for any business. Not only can it cause your data to be locked or lost, but it can also disrupt your business operations and cause significant downtime and loss of revenue. In some cases, a ransomware attack can even lead to legal action being taken against your company.

The best way to deal with a ransomware attack is to prevent it from happening in the first place. However, there’s always a chance that an attack can slip through the cracks. That’s why it’s important to know what to do in case your business experiences one. Here are five steps that you and your IT staff should take immediately.

1. Identify affected systems and immediately isolate them

The first thing you need to do is determine which systems have been affected by the ransomware attack, then isolate them from the rest of your network immediately. If it’s just one or two computers that have been affected, you may simply disconnect them from the network and deal with them individually. However, if the attack has spread more widely, you may need to temporarily take the network offline.

It’s crucial to act quickly at this stage to prevent the ransomware from spreading further and causing more damage.

2. If you can’t disconnect the affected systems from the network, power them down

This will prevent the ransomware from infecting any other devices on the network. It’s important to note, however, that you may lose any unsaved data on the affected systems when you power them down. You may also lose potential evidence of the attack that could be used to track down the perpetrators or at least help you understand how the attack occurred. Still, it’s better to lose those pieces of data than to have the ransomware spread throughout your network.

3. Prioritize critical systems that need restoration and recovery

Only after isolating the affected systems can you begin working on restoring them. You’ll need to prioritize which systems are most critical to your business and start with those. These include systems that contain customer data, financial data, or other sensitive information. You’ll also want to prioritize systems that are essential to your business operations, such as email servers and eCommerce platforms. Once you’ve restored the critical systems, you can start working on restoring the nonessential ones.

In some cases, you may be able to remove the ransomware and continue working as usual. However, in other cases, you may need to fully restore the system from backups.

4. Develop and document an initial understanding of the attack

You can do this as you’re working on restoring the affected systems. It's crucial to understand and keep a record of how the attack occurred so that you can take steps to prevent it from happening again. This includes identifying the vulnerabilities that were exploited, the initial point of entry for the ransomware, and how it spread throughout your network. You can also take this opportunity to review your current security measures and identify the areas that you need to improve or fortify.

5. Engage relevant internal and external stakeholders

After you’ve taken the initial steps to contain the attack and mitigate the damage, you’ll need to notify the relevant stakeholders. This includes your employees, customers, partners, and suppliers. Inform them of the attack and what you have done and are doing to resolve the issue. Let them know any steps they need to take to protect themselves, such as changing their passwords.

You may also need to engage external stakeholders, such as law enforcement and/or a ransomware removal service. This will depend on the extent of the damage and your ability to resolve the issue internally.

Related reading: 5 Signs of ransomware you should look out for

By following these steps, you can minimize the damage caused by a ransomware attack and help ensure that your business is able to recover quickly.

The best way to prevent a ransomware attack, however, is to take proactive steps to protect your systems and data. This includes having the right cybersecurity tools and measures in place and ensuring that all of your employees are trained in cybersecurity best practices. Our specialists at outsourceIT can help you develop and implement a comprehensive cybersecurity plan to keep your network and data safe. Contact us today to learn more.

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