Ransomware Readiness: How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks?

Date: 17 May 2022

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Being fully prepared to totally prevent a ransomware attack may be akin to a modern-day cybersecurity fairytale. Even with the best technology investments and human resources to manage your cyber infrastructure, it may not be possible to avoid being attacked altogether. 

But it is possible to be ready for a ransomware attack such that the damage it causes to your business remains within control. 

In this blog, we discuss some basics of ransomware readiness that can help you go a long way in mitigating the massive repercussions such attacks can have for your business reputation, operations and profitability.  

We’ll be looking at three critical aspects of Ransomware Readiness in this article: 

  1. Ransomware Readiness Assessment 
  2. Ransomware Readiness Checklist  
  3. Ransomware Tabletop Exercises

Once you’ve garnered a basic understanding of these three components, you can leverage their combined power and accelerate your journey to greater cyber resilience in the face of the number one cybersecurity threat today - ransomware attacks

1. Ransomware Readiness Assessment: A Ransomware Readiness Assessment is a high-level review of your organisational preparedness. It’s a great place to start from as you heighten your focus on ransomware readiness.

At Cyber Management Alliance, we’ve conducted this assessment for organisations across sectors like Finance, Healthcare, Pharma, Banking, Government Bodies etc.

As a process, we follow a three-phase approach. In the first phase, it’s all about fact finding. The second phase pertains to the actual assessment in which our experts speak to a technically competent stakeholder from the client’s end. And in the third phase, we produce an executive report that condenses our analysis on the ransomware readiness of your business.

The report will give you expert insights into how fit for purpose your current plans and processes are. It will evaluate if your technology investments are up to scratch or not and it will highlight any gaps you may need to plug in your overall ransomware war chest.

The whole idea is that after this assessment your organisation should be better positioned to deal with ransomware attacks and your overall cybersecurity posture should emerge as more mature. 

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2. Ransomware Readiness Checklist: In a world where big names like Colonial Pipeline and Kia Motors are not safe from ransomware attacks, the chances of smaller businesses with less armour in their arsenal surviving them seamlessly are minimal.

That’s why we’ve created this brief, 9-point Ransomware Readiness Checklist. It enlists the 9 main steps that any business can take to bolster its capability to prevent and respond to an attack.

The Ransomware Readiness Assessment checklist is easy to understand even by non-technical audiences, ensuring that everyone from the Incident Response teams to the management can be on board with the 9 crucial steps. If as a business, you are able to tick off all the 9 steps mentioned in this checklist, you are definitely better positioned to prevent and/or deal with a ransomware attack. 

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3. Ransomware Tabletop Exercises: While knowing where you stand in terms of ransomware readiness is important, you are not truly prepared unless you have a good ransomware incident response plan and staff members who are very conversant with this response plan.

The goal should be to make the key IT and Incident Response Team members so familiar with this ransomware incident response plan that it becomes a part of their muscle memory. This means that when an attack does happen, the first responders should be able to take the right steps almost as a reflex action.

The definitive way of achieving this is through ransomware tabletop exercises. In these ransomware tabletop exercise samples, we create a simulated attack environment. Every participant is forced to think the way they would in times of an actual ransomware attack. 

Apart from enforcing the ransomware response workflow and ransomware response checklist, they will also have to demonstrate proof of their knowledge of the cyber crisis incident response plan. The tabletop exercise is also a good opportunity for the business to test if its ransomware response plan holds water at all and to evaluate the gaps that need to be filled.

Conducting disaster recovery testing and tabletop exercises are fast becoming regulatory requirements for different geographies and industries primarily because they’re a key component in any ransomware readiness strategy.      

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