In today’s clickable culture, anyone with an email address, an inbox, or a social media account is a target for cybercrime. Most organizations or individuals aren’t even aware of the bull’s-eye on their back for hackers, cyber thieves and extortionists until it’s already too late to respond or recover. But why is it that small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) seem to be the primary targets of these attacks, specifically when it comes to ransomware? The answer is simple; it’s because they typically lack sophisticated computer defenses, thus making them very vulnerable. If this represents most of your clients, you know all too well how being a victim of ransomware could mean the end of the road for their business, and it’s your goal to protect them.
Today, ransomware is reaching a new level of maturity and is showing no signs of slowing down. So how has the threat of ransomware evolved throughout the years, where is it heading in 2017 and why should SMBs beware?
The reason for ransomware’s popularity boils down to one thing: economics. With the average ransom averaging around $679, it’s generating huge revenue for criminals and it should be expected that these attacks will intensify in volume and sophistication. We’ve already seen the unrelenting commitment of cybercriminals to create new malware variants, and with ransomware creation kits, or ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS), it’s now easier than ever to create your own ransomware. This has lead to an evolution and advancement of new ransomware families, many of which have the potential to threaten your clients’ businesses.
Just how worrisome are these threats? Your clients may not be completely aware of them, so as their MSP you need to keep them educated. On the prospect side, the rise in ransomware presents yet another opportunity to pitch your managed IT services as their protective solution. To help you get these conversations started, we’ve already gathered data from Trend Micro’s Security Predictions for 2017 report.
See the chart below:
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We can see from the chart that there’s a 25 percent predicted growth in the number of new ransomware families for 2017. That translates to an average of 15 new families discovered each month! An increase in ransomware means that there are more threats to look out for, especially as cybercriminals continue to target more victims and platforms.
So what should your clients know about this rise in ransomware, and how could an attack potentially impact their business? Here are some talking points you can go over with clients and prospects to educate them on the current threat landscape and establish a need for your managed services!
Downtime and Financial Costs
To deal with an infection like ransomware, you may be forced to shut down your IT systems. This leads to that dreaded word we all hate: downtime. As a result of unplanned downtime, your company could experience loss of revenue, productivity and associated recovery costs. Also, if some of your customers are affected, you could be hit with some hefty legal bills. However, it’s not only the financial losses you have to worry about, but also the longer-term consequences such as reputational damage.
What would happen if you lost access to your most essential data? Would you still be able to operate normally? Loss of data due to files being encrypted and/or stolen can have a huge impact on your business. If some of that data were company records or personally identifiable information (PII), the cybercriminals behind the attack may threaten to publish it online in an attempt to extort money from you. And even if you do pay the ransom to decrypt the files, there is still a risk that data may be corrupted in the decryption process.
Loss of Life
Do you have any clients in the healthcare vertical?
In the case of a hospital or other medical organization, patients’ lives may be put at risk as essential medical equipment may be affected. Similarly, patient records including medical history may also be inaccessible, leading to delays in treatment or even incorrect medication being administered.
As an SMB, you don’t always have the time, bandwidth or resources to stay up-to-date on the latest security processes and implement the proper defenses to keep your network protected. The easiest and most beneficial solution for you is to partner with an MSP and fully leverage our services and expertise. Together, we can minimize your business’ risk and develop a plan that focuses on resiliency, not only prevention. The best approach to IT security is a multi-layered approach, and we can provide that for you.
Firstly, our remote monitoring and management (RMM) solution will keep an eye on the health of your systems, and because it’s integrated with endpoint protection software, our team will work behind the scenes to detect, isolate and remediate the threats that reach your network.
Secondly, our backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution will ensure that you have reliable and recent backups. Should your business get hit with ransomware, our solution is your best method for recovering. It not only ensures that you have a safe copy of your essential data, but that it can also be restored to a known and undamaged state with as little downtime or data loss as possible.
Lastly, we can be the expert you can turn to in case of a ransomware attack. We can give you the steps you need to take so as to minimize interruption to your business, and also provide you and your employees with training and education to prevent future attacks. The key to protecting your business is to take preventative measures now. When you work with us, you can rest easy knowing that your network is secure, your data is protected and that we’re available 24x7x365 for any and all of your support needs.
Continuum Partners: In continuing our commitment to help you accelerate sales through ongoing marketing support, every week we will be uploading customizable PowerPoint templates with relevant charts and data that you can use in your own decks. And because it's white-labeled, you'll be able to add your own logo and branding to stand out against the crowd! Just keep checking back on the Partner Support Portal for files to download!
Prepare yourself for 2017!
By Gretchen Hoffman
By Paula Griffin