June 4, 2019 | Categories: Uncategorized |

Ransomware attacks can be crippling to an organization and put vital information, confidential data, reputations and even lives at risk. The bigger the impact of a potential attack, the more appealing it is to a hacker because they can demand more of a ransom to release the data.

Good preparation is the best way to lessen the impact of a potential ransomware attack. Protecting data through endpoint security, diversifying your storage solutions and educating your team are great steps to take to help reduce risk and keep data safe.

But no matter how much you prepare, there’s still the chance that your organization may fall victim to a ransomware attack. In such a case, an Incident Response Plan (IRP) will be your key to getting through the worst of it and making sure your organization recovers.

Developing an IRP

Even with so many security options available, there is no foolproof way to avoid a ransomware attack. There are simply too many potential vulnerabilities, from human error to custom-designed ransomware that’s tailor-made to cause you trouble.

The first step toward ransomware prevention then is to develop an effective IRP. The IRP is there so that your team isn’t worrying over procedures in the already-difficult situation surrounding a ransomware attack. With an IRP in place, your team can respond to an attack quickly and effectively.

IRPs should be detailed, covering everything from specific vulnerabilities, to initial reactions, to internal and external crisis communication, to specific recovery strategies. The IRP should cover each stage of the process in enough detail that you feel confident it will help your team.

Consider including a list of roles and responsibilities, a business continuity plan, the resources and tools you’ll need to help you recover, and a list of critical data recovery processes. A thorough and competent IRP requires a lot of thought and expertise. If your organization doesn’t have an IT security specialist on staff, look for a trusted third party that can help you develop and implement a successful plan.

Test Your IRP with a Tabletop Exercise

One way to test the effectiveness of your IRP is through a tabletop exercise. Think of a tabletop exercise like a test run to make sure that all the key players have experience with your plan and know what to do in case of a ransomware attack. Tabletop exercises can also help identify holes in a plan so that you aren’t left vulnerable in case of a real attack.

A good tabletop exercise should simulate a large breach, incorporating everyone who might be involved in a real-life scenario including IT professionals, legal teams, and corporate communications specialists, to name a few. In a real ransomware attack, it’s unlikely that the hacker will be courteous enough to fall within the parameters of your IRP, so a tabletop exercise should also push the limits of your team’s comfort with the procedures.

Protect Your Company with MRK Technologies

Partnering with a supplier who knows the ins and outs of tabletop exercises can test how your organization would respond to an attack in real time while offering advice for ways the situation could be handled better. Regardless of who manages your tabletop exercise, you don’t want your team’s first experience with your IRP to occur during an emergency.

MRK specializes in laying the groundwork and strategy for an IRP, testing it with your employees, and advising on endpoint security. Contact us today to discuss your organization’s specific needs.