How to keep your organization safe in 2022
Author: John Firth
VP of Products & Strategy, FSi Strategies
What is Ransomware?
One of the biggest challenges for IT staff is the vulnerability that ransomware presents to an organization. Ransomware is a type of malicious software or malware that infects a computer or network, and then restricts user access until a ransom is paid to unlock it.
In a typical scenario, a user clicks a link or an email that would silently infect the user’s machine. From there, it will scan the network and begin encrypting files and folders preventing any user from accessing them. In worst cases, the ransomware will infect and encrypt local backups, which forces IT staff to restore from older off-site backups, and in some cases losing the data forever.
There are many ways to prevent ransomware as well as steps that can increase your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). FSi Strategies has developed Managed IT Solutions to deploy these advanced measures in its Optimize and Protect Managed IT Solution.
Stop it at the Source
Utilizing Microsoft 365, our team activates advanced Microsoft 365 features such as: Safe Links and Safe Attachments. These features can scan email, documents, and Microsoft Teams chat, ensuring that hidden malicious software or links are quarantined thus protecting you and your team. You can also give your team the ability to report suspicious content with the “Report as Phishing” feature via Microsoft Outlook.
How Can the Cloud Help?
Moving your files to a cloud document repository such as, Microsoft SharePoint or OneDrive, allows for rapid restoration of files up to 30 days. You can achieve added-protection by backing up your files to another source, and with Optimize and Protect we give our clients just that with indefinite backups of cloud data stored in Microsoft SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams. Giving our team and yours the ability to go back in time past the standard 30-day window and restore items that may have been lost.
Furthermore, you can add protection to your files using labels. Classify the files to be locked to only internal staff, specific departments or groups, or even implement user level classifications to limit the users to only certain staff members. This prevents unauthorized access to sensitive information and can prevent attackers, former employees, or unauthorized staff from accessing the data. Alerting can also be configured to notify our team of Microsoft Experts, allowing them to reach out to the correct person in the organization to notify them of the attempted breach.
Protect and Remediate
Anti-malware software installed onto a user’s machine can usually detect ransomware threats and stop it from further spreading depending on the software and its scanning interval. In many cases, when the malware is found and removed, or the computer is disconnected from the network, the damage is already done. Using more advanced anti-malware and anti-virus software backed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) increases the scanning interval, deploys virus protection updates, and automatically remediates issues.
Microsoft 365 E5 offers Windows Defender one of the most advanced endpoint protection platforms in the world. Windows Defender extends security beyond just the typical AI driven anti-virus software and includes identity, device, application, and browser security, all while reporting its analytics to a centralized portal. At FSi Strategies, we’ve taken this a step further and integrated all alerting for M365 E5 directly into our own Optimize and Protect reporting and ticketing system, allowing our team of certified Microsoft professionals to jump into action.
Where Should You Start?
With today’s current landscape, it’s more important than ever to protect your organization against potential ransomware threats. According to FBI-CISA, there were over 2,084 ransomware complaints received by the IC3 in the first half of 2021 amounting to over $16.8 million in losses. We recommend educating your staff and conducting periodic trainings on ransomware and its harmful implications. Avoid clicking links or downloading software from unknown sources. Additionally, keep backups of all your files and databases on the cloud, as well as employ sophisticated systems to greatly reduce ransomware threats before they happen. If you would like us to help you establish a strategic plan to securely optimize your current environment, connect with us today to get started.
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Ask us about integrating your tools & platforms together – with architectural coherence and extensibility. Designing, implementing and supporting Modern Workplace technology is what FSi Strategies specializes in. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses implement modern security strategies in support of their missions. We invite you to discover how together, we can leverage the intelligent Cloud for the security and privacy needs of your business.