Mitigating Ransomware Attack Risks

BY IT GLUE | July 19, 2021

In recent years, digital trends have accelerated at an unprecedented level, bringing in a whirlwind of new opportunities. While it’s easy to be caught up in the excitement of it all, things can quickly turn sour if a security incident occurs. Ransomware is one of the worst nightmares for MSPs and IT teams everywhere. The impact of a ransomware attack is instant and the recovery period can be incredibly difficult if you are not adequately prepared. If recent events are any indication, it is not a matter of if, but rather when, a ransomware attack will happen.

MSPs are often targeted by cybercriminals since they can be used as gateways to deploy ransomware into the infrastructure of multiple companies at the same time. In case of an unexpected ransomware attack, simply employing preventive measures isn’t enough. You also need to focus on containing the threat and ensuring business continuity as quickly as possible.

Let’s discuss some of the strategies that can help you get back on track should you experience an unavoidable breach.

Mitigating the Impact of Ransomware

Business continuity is of critical importance no matter what line of business you are in. However, many organizations tend to prioritize other initiatives over IT investments. Sometimes, it can take a full-blown crisis for organizations to take business continuity seriously.

Here’s a list of best practices you need to incorporate to mitigate the effects of ransomware:

  • Use secure remote access tools: This is one of the best methods at the disposal of MSPs to mitigate the impact of ransomware. Always ensure that your remote access tools are as secure as possible. Enforce multifactor authentication (MFA) for all critical applications and consider using IP restrictions to access only secure networks. Also, keep your RMM software up to date since it can help you monitor your IT infrastructure effectively and contain threats before they turn into serious issues.
  • Restrict network access: Many ransomware attacks involve stolen credentials, which is something MSPs should be aware of. Know that your credentials could be compromised at any time and implement the necessary controls to mitigate the damage. For instance, adopt the principle of least privilege to ensure only the right people have access to critical information. Also, enforce strict password hygiene to prevent unauthorized entry and prevent lateral movement. Consider using a strong password manager and enforce MFAwherever possible.
  • Secure your endpoints: Phishing is still one of the most popular modes of delivery when it comes to deploying all types of malware including ransomware. All it takes is a naïve employee to click a phishing link to compromise an entire network. Secure the endpoints of your employees with measures like email security, web filtering, endpoint security and more.
  • Prioritize patch management: Patching is as critical as any other security measure. Many cybercriminals try to exploit vulnerabilities in an outdated software tool to gain entry into a network. You need to keep all your software up to date without fail. Manual patching is no longer an option when managing multiple networks. You need a strong patching engine to automate the patching process and secure your endpoints.
  • Set alerts: Mitigating a breach requires getting alerts before something gets out of hand. You need to configure your networks in order to receive proper alerts about unusual activity. This helps you stay ahead of security threats and proactively mitigate risks.
  • Create off-site data backup: When an IT infrastructure is compromised, it is more likely that the data backups are also compromised. Ransomware attacks take control of critical business data and encrypt it to hold for a ransom. This is why off-site data backup is crucial for a solid business continuity strategy. Try creating multiple copies and use strategies like 3-2-1 to ensure business continuity after a breach.
  • Implement BYOD policies: Company-issued devices are always preferable when it comes to security. However, in this age of remote and hybrid work environments, employees also tend to use their own devices for work. You need a strong policy regarding the use of personal devices. Enforcing network restriction and VPN usage could also curb the use of personal devices for work purposes.
  • Develop and test incident response plans: Do you have a plan in place if an unexpected breach occurs? If you don’t, you need to get on it right away. You need to have plans outlined for communication, containment, mitigation and remediation. Your key employees should be aware of this and start recovery procedures immediately.
  • Document and review the processes: Documentation plays a significant role when it comes to filling up the gap in your cybersecurity measures. With clearly documented processes, you know what actions need to be taken and how to incorporate them. To keep your documentation up to date, you need to regularly review it and make necessary modifications.

A Resilient Infrastructure

Cyberthreats can come from anywhere in today’s world. A proactive approach is a great way to not only prevent security threats but also contain unavoidable breaches. The stakes are higher than ever for MSPs in this digital world. Make sure you have a strong security foundation that can bounce back from any threat. The time to build a resilient IT infrastructure is now!

Resources

As an MSP, you manage a lot of sensitive client data and protecting this data is of paramount importance. You can use the following resources to mitigate the impact of an attack and secure your critical data:

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