Ransomware is a type of malware that targets a company’s files and information systems, rendering them unusable until a “ransom” is paid. And unfortunately, in today’s high-tech world, it’s become an increasingly common form of cyberattack.

Ransomware attacks hit an all-time high at the end of 2020, with companies in all industries falling victim — but especially those in health care, manufacturing and public administration. In fact, recent headlines have told stories of entire pipelines being taken out of commission by hackers, a San Antonio, Texas-area school district whose email and phone systems were targeted and a Brazilian meat company that paid $11 million to regain access to its system. At BCH, we believe a comprehensive risk management approach should take into account all aspects of a business’ operations — and that includes the technological side of things. Here are a few important steps your company can take to keep your data and operations protected against such cyberattacks:

  • Employee Education: Your team members aren’t just your company’s greatest asset. They’re your first line of defense against ransomware attacks. Take time to ensure they understand potential red flags to watch out for, and that they have a grasp of smart online practices. What constitutes a suspicious email? When should they steer clear of downloading attachments? What should they do if they fear they’ve spotted an attempted hack? Such discussions might seem overly basic, but they can serve as a helpful reminder to all — both tech-savvy team members and those who like the analog life.
  • Ongoing Updates: Those notices that it’s time to update your company’s software might be frustrating, but the patches and enhancements they provide are worth it. Such measures are regularly aimed at offering protection against specific cybersecurity threats that have just recently entered the mix. Speak with your IT professional regarding the best way to tackle such safety measures. For some companies, that might be allowing for automatic updates. For others, it might mean asking team members to leave their computers on at the end of a workday so your computer specialists can make any necessary changes.
  • Incorporate Insurance Protection: Many business insurance plans include protections specifically against cyber risks. Depending on your plan, coverage could aid in everything from upgrading your existing systems, to payments in the event that your business falls victim to ransomware. If you aren’t sure what sort of coverage you have, now is a great time to look into it. Reach out to your risk advisor to talk through your existing protection, your available options and the best way to continue moving forward safely. Remember, every company operates differently, and its risk management and business insurance needs are just as unique.

Rest assured that you have a number of resources available. Our Cyber Risks Quick Sheet offers an overview of how ransomware attacks work, measures you can take to remain protected — and even what to do following an attack. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is another great resource. Of course, you can always turn to a trusted risk advisor, or visit our Risk Management Center, too. Feel free to contact BCH at any time to discuss your protections, and to lay out a plan to keep your business on firmer footing in the future. Our team is glad to help!