Posted by: Tyler Bower

Hardly a news day goes by without stories of new ransomware attacks. In 2020, there were an estimated 304 million ransomware attacks worldwide — an increase of 62% from the prior year — at an estimated cost to businesses of $20 billion. For business owners, it’s no longer a matter of considering if security threats will arise, but rather when. While there may be no bulletproof way to prevent a ransomware attack, there are steps you can take to mitigate the danger. Moving your Sage ERP to a hosted private cloud is one of the best steps. Here we look at the roots of the ransomware risk and how Hosted ERP can reduce that risk.

Complexity creates risk

Modern IT infrastructures are more complex and sophisticated than ever. For cybercriminals, this complexity represents opportunity in the form of more entry points. Cybercriminals can launch thousands of digital attacks designed to compromise your operations at every turn, only one of which needs to connect to cause severe disruption. The wider the range of possible targets, the easier it is for cybercriminals to find undetected vulnerabilities. It also makes successful penetration more likely and reduces the risk of early detection and thwart.

Ransomware attacks come in many forms, but many are launched as email phishing schemes. Someone in your organization clicks on a link in an email that looks legit but isn’t, letting in the bad guys. Other approaches include exploiting software vulnerabilities and remote desktop protocols (RDPs). In fact, during Q1 of 2021, RDP breaches were responsible for the most ransomware attacks — despite reliable tools for securing RDP access.

Enormous resources required

Preventing a ransomware attack requires a comprehensive approach that is continually bolstered, updated, and adjusted. Prevention and protection involve user education (such as no USB sticks and what not to click on), current antivirus software, updated operating system, a robust firewall and endpoint protection, rigorous backup routines, a proven disaster recovery plan, trustworthy and tested VPNs, and much more.

Many companies have a false sense of security that they won’t be the target of a ransomware attack because they are smaller. In reality, perpetrators love to attack small businesses — they comprise between one-half and three-quarters of the victims of ransomware. Yet, according to a recent Keeper Security SMB Cyberthreat Study, 66% of senior decision-makers at small businesses still believe they’re unlikely to be targeted by online criminals. Similarly, 6 in 10 have no digital defense plan in place whatsoever.

Keep in mind that it’s no longer that single bad actor who knows a lot about computers that perpetrates these attacks. Instead, now there is a whole underworld web of “cartels” launching increasingly sophisticated, increasingly frequent, and increasingly bold attacks. Defending against these attacks requires an equally sophisticated defense.

A secure defense may be outside your capabilities

Complex technology infrastructures requiring continual monitoring and updating help fuel the risk of a ransomware attack. Even organizations with robust in-house IT departments are pressed to have the resources necessary to remain out in front of the essential security tasks and protocols. Protecting your business from ransomware requires resources and expertise that go far beyond the capabilities of most companies.

That’s why the best ransomware defense is to partner with a trusted technology provider and even consider moving your most valuable business data — including Sage ERP — to a hosted environment accessed through a reputable and secure Private Cloud Services Provider (CSP).

Private CSPs are prepared

There is general consensus surrounding actions companies can take to reduce the threat of falling victim to a ransomware attack. Four of the top suggestions are:

1. Continually update the operating system
2. Use a next-generation antivirus application — and keep it current
3. Implement backup and disaster and recovery strategies
4. Continual monitoring of your network environment

By engaging a Private Cloud Services Provider to host your Sage ERP, you’ve effectively taken all four of those steps at once. Private CSPs, like Cloud at Work, host your Sage ERP in state-of-the-art data centers where redundancy, security, and availability are maintained at the highest level. Cloud at Work’s data centers, for example, are geo diverse, provide 24/7 support and monitoring, perform hourly snapshots and daily backups (stored on separate networks), and offer disaster recovery time guarantees. What’s more, because we specialize in Sage ERP, we can be that one call with your questions and concerns surrounding your mission-critical business application.

Effective cybersecurity requires time, vigilance, education, expertise, and tools beyond that available in-house for the vast majority of companies. By partnering with a Hosted ERP provider like Cloud at Work, you gain access to world-class cybersecurity resources and expertise.

It’s a dangerous world out there, and while there are no completely safe harbors, it’s your responsibility to take every step possible to ensure your company is defending itself against ransomware attacks. We’re ready to help.