Although hackers can use a growing list of cyber attacks to endanger businesses, one of the costliest and most common is ransomware. And, according to a new report from Beazley, the number of ransomware attacks has risen by 32% since August.

Ransomware relies on social engineering schemes or other common cyber attacks to install malware onto a network. Then, users are “locked out” until they pay a high ransom—usually in an anonymous cryptocurrency. These attacks are especially common because it’s easy for hackers to use automated programs to target multiple networks at once, and the high costs associated with business disruptions pushes many employers to quickly give in and pay the ransom.

Even a small attack can cost your business thousands of dollars. Keep these best practices in mind to secure your network and ensure your business stays up and running:

  • Perform an audit to see how long your business can afford to lose access to its network. Your unique circumstances will affect how long you have to respond to an attack, and discovering this time frame can help you develop the rest of your response plan.
  • Establish a program for software updates. With enough time, hackers can break through even the newest software. However, turning on automatic updates or establishing a program to ensure you have the newest software available will give you access to the latest security fixes from developers.
  • Keep physical backups of critical data. Many businesses take online data storage for granted and are helpless once a ransomware attack locks their critical information away. Make sure to store your most important data physically, such as on a USB or hard drive.

© 2018 Zywave, Inc.