Ransomware attack costs add up fast, can last for years, and leave a lasting impact on your operation.

Here's a look at three main ways a ransomware attack can wreak havoc on you.

The Initial Attack

Ransomware is installed and a ransom request is sent to obtain an encryption key to restore data; an expensive reminder to back up all data and pay the upfront costs associated with keeping it protected.

Ensuring systems are in place to keep things under lock-and-key is a crucial step in maintaining high security posture.

Training your employees regularly to be aware of the risks they present as part of the human element reduces your company’s risk of ransomware exposure.

Retaining the services of a Security Operations Center (SOC) to keep up-to-date with the latest best practices is another mitigation step to keep your data, your clients’ data, and vendor data tightly secured.

Legal Expenses

The ramifications of poor security posture run deep. Here are a few ways legal expenses can add up:

  1. Class-action lawsuits awarding damages to, or settling with, impacted customers / clients as compensation for their information being exposed and enduring their own increased costs as a result
  2. Battling regulatory and/or industry penalties for not staying secure and exposing particular data types (like healthcare and financial information) is especially costly
  3. Lawsuits from affected parties centered on loss of business continuity, dealing with incident response, and recovery expenses aren’t cheap

Reputation & Brand Credibility

The indirect impact of ransomware can often be the most expensive.

Imagine trying to generate new business while you are trying to calm upset existing customers fearing the worst. Your sales team is behind the eight ball in a big way and damage control is in full-swing. Will you be able to survive the hit and loss of trust? The downtime alone from systems being off-line is crippling enough, now you have to piece things back together.

The US Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency found in a recent study that 60% of small & medium businesses go out of business within 6 months of suffering a data breach.

Ransomware is a real threat to every industry and every business, regardless of size. Thinking you're too small to be targeted could lead to your demise if you are.

That doesn't give you much time to react, repair, and restore your path to success.

On average, remediation costs have soared in the last few years as well, now hovering around $2 million to get back on track.

Continued Impact

You'll also be hit with increased insurance costs. Higher premiums for the initial hit can also lead to higher premiums for a repeat occurrence, or even lead to being uninsurable.

Repeat attacks are a real threat. If hackers and cybercriminals know there's an opportunity, they'll return and test the waters again.

However they breached the wall the first time will be the starting point for round two. If you haven't shored up your defenses and systems and simply restored what was breached before, you'll be on the hook for another ransom attempt.

Some numbers to take to heart and heed the warning to be proactive instead of reactive from a recent survey focused on ransomware cybersecurity:

  • 28% of organizations attacked pay the ransom
  • 80% of those who paid the ransom were targeted and successfully breached a second time
  • 68% of those hit with a second attack were targeted within just one month of restoring systems and ransomed at a higher cost

Mitigation Preparation

The best way to deal with a ransomware attack is to avoid it. Ensure defense systems are in place and regularly tested and enhanced, train your employees with phishing simulation and phishing testing, back up your data, keep a healthy cyber-insurance policy, and keep your Incident Response Plan current.