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In May 2017, ransomware shut down computer systems in more than 150 countries around the world. Known as WannaCry, the malware held hospital and business data ransom and was the most pervasive and invasive ransomware attack to date. A white-hat hacker saved the day by discovering a kill switch, but it is certain that WannaCry won’t be the last malware attack we see, even if it is not on a global scale. Here are some important lessons your company can learn from global malware attacks like WannaCry.

System Updates Increase Security

There is no perfect plan to guard against all potential attacks, but installing vendor patches as soon as they are released is extremely important. Installing patches often falls by the wayside as tech teams always seem to have more pressing matters on their plates, but running outdated systems with outdated security protocols puts an entire network at risk.

A globally managed update system is absolutely critical for streamlining the process and seeing it through. Tech managers should have the ability to issue patches and fixes to multiple computers at once, and installing patches should be classified as a mission-critical task rather than a throwaway task.

Establish Accountability For IT Staff

If your organization is the victim of a malware attack that could have been prevented by IT if they had been more proactive, they should be held accountable. In the WannaCry attack, patches were readily available on the market that would have prevented the attack from succeeding.  You pay your IT staff good money to keep systems safe, so when the cause of the attack is understood, discipline should be handed down if the breach was the result of neglect.

Never Underestimate The Importance of Backups

Backups stored off primary systems can be a data lifesaver in the event of an attack.  While vendor patches are useful, your own backups of your own systems and data give you more dependability and control. Vendors don’t always move quickly, which means systems can be vulnerable to real-time attacks.  When it comes to ransomware, backups give you security. The pressure to pay off hackers to get your information back is far less because you’ve got everything that the hacker is holding hostage.

Train Your End-Users

Malware spreads because well-meaning employees who aren’t technically savvy click on things they don’t know are malware. When you consider how sophisticated malware emails have become, even savvy employees can be tricked by a spoofed email or an official-looking message. Training employees to verify email sources is critical for preventing a malware attack.

One of the most effective ways to train people is to run tests and drills. Send out messages designed to look like a malware email and make the alert when someone clicks on a link as scary as possible. Nothing will cultivate future caution like thinking they’ve unleashed a cyber attack. Make sure to track who clicks the links so that they can be worked with one-on-one to help them understand where they went wrong.

If you are worried about keeping your data safe, the award-winning team at Talon can help you find the tech talent you need to ensure your systems stay secure. Contact us today to learn more about the ways our talent network can help you keep malware at bay.

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