How to Avoid Your Business "Pipeline" Being Shut Down by Ransomware
Now, we understand this was a targeted Ransomware attack. What that means is there was computer code that is in their system which allowed the hackers to possess their files, and encrypt those files, making potentially every saved file unusable.
How would your business do in this circumstance?
Have you ever worked on a file for a long while, forgot to save it, and lost it? Remember what that felt like? Now multiply that feeling knowing it affects potentially EVERY file in your business. Yikes! You walk in a grab your coffee ready to tackle a new day, and suddenly, you can't access the contract that is needed to be sent to your most important client. Then, you can't access the database of clients, aren't able to send out invoices. Can't access the files that you need to run your business. When this happens, people flip out and are extremely scared and stressed.
These problems seem more noticeable when there are gas lines with people waiting for an hour and getting in fights because there was a breach. What we sometimes forget, is we are all connected. We all use computers, and so, we are all vulnerable.
You may say, "I am just a dentist, I won't be targeted." Until you are. You know, in this case, you have client records with the information you would not want to be exposed in the world, and it would be hard to run your practice if you lost all your patient records. Maybe you are in construction - Would it matter if you couldn't invoice or the plans your team has worked on for months were suddenly locked out and you had a deadline for next week where this work could not be recreated?
We are constantly working with clients to help them secure their networks, and often we are seen as the bad guys.
We don't like having to do 2 Factor Authentication any more than you do, but it is necessary if you want to keep your systems safe. We wish we lived in a world that didn't need firewalls and intrusion detection. Unfortunately, we don't. Network security for your business is no different than making sure your doors are locked when you leave. You could say the 10 seconds to have to lock the door is annoying, and we suppose it is... but after a few times, you get used to it, because you know it is for the greater good. Then it isn't that big of a deal.
Our goal is to help your team get to the point where they follow security rules without feeling like it is a burden. We work to ensure your team has good password rules, use 2FA (Two Factor Authentication), understand the risks when opening attachments in emails, setting the network security to ensure no unwanted visitors are on the network. We even help to ensure there are no rogue employees who are not compromising your data.
It starts to feel like a lot. We understand. You just want to run your business and not have to think about all this. What we try and help people understand is there will be no business to run if some of the basic rules of network security and business continuity are not followed.
For example, we suggest daily offsite backups. If you had a ransomware situation, maybe you do lose part of a day, but you keep all the rest of the history. Losing a few hours of data is certainly better than losing it all. This is something you don't even have to do. You hire us and we make sure the backups are set up at the intervals you need and we test to be sure data can be restored.
We make sure anything to do with key accounts (like banking), has stricter rules associated with it than using a graphics design program. You don't have to eat the elephant in one bite. We help you understand what NEEDS to be done ASAP and what should be done over time. We will also help you with ways to avoid steps that are unnecessary.
We are driven by a passion to make your team efficient. What this means, is we look for ways to help you avoid doing unnecessary geek stuff. With that being said, we really would like to highlight this pipeline ransomware issue to help businesses understand hacking attacks can completely stop your business, even if you are not in the computer business.
What is Next for Colonial?
Odds are, there will be a demand for money, in BTC and they will have to decide if they want to pay it or not. What they are paying for is the key to decrypt their files (or in regular English, the ability to be able to access their files again). Colonial is a major enterprise, they undoubtedly had some sort of protection in place, but the hackers made it through. Now they have a business decision to make. Do we pay and have access or restore from what we have in the system? If they restore, they could lose thousands of files. If the price is high enough, that could be acceptable to them.
We have seen ransomware hit big and small companies. There is always a calculation to be made about paying for the decryption keys. This is one of those situations in life where prevention is way better than cures. Prevention could be as cheap as $15 or $20 per user per month where the "cure" could cost thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars (in Colonial's case, probably multi-millions, plus lost staff time, brand reputation issues, etc).
For a company of 40 people, this kind of protection will cost less than $1,000 per month. If it prevents this issue just once, it will pay for years worth of the service. We don't want people to assume this is going to be some massive cost. Compared to doing nothing, this is one of the cheapest things you can do for your business (like buying quality locks for the doors).
We would love to help you look at your network and work with your team to keep your business pipeline going. Contact us, we specialize in managed IT Services in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Phoenix.