Often when data breaches occur, business owners panic and have their IT department install the latest new software programs. The tendency is always to upgrade the technology and make it even more impenetrable. But one of the conspicuous things that most data breaches have in common is human error. In case after case, it wasn’t the technology that failed, it was a human being who let their guard down.
Could This Happen to Your Business?
In the Independence Blue Cross data breach last summer, the damage occurred because an employee uploaded member information to a public website. This included member names, birth dates and other information about their health condition. The breach affected about 17,000 people. Throughout the investigation, it was not made clear to the public whether this incident was an unfortunate accident or a disgruntled employee.
Unfortunately, every company must hire people to work for them and give them access to records and data. And if something happens and this employee becomes unhappy with the boss, this is one of the ways they can strike back. The innocent victims who get caught in the cross fire are the patients or customers. There’s not too much a business owner can do about this. On the other hand, a great number of data breaches occur because of employee negligence.
Imagine this scenario. You didn’t sleep well. You went by Starbucks and got a Latte on the way to work. You’re at your computer trying to sort through dozens of emails. One of them says something about an overdue invoice. That’s strange! you think. You always pay your bills on time, so how could this happen? So you click the attachment to see what the invoice is for and BOOM! You’ve downloaded a ransomware virus. Your computer freezes and the only thing you see is an ugly red scrolling message that says:
Your files have been locked by a Ransomware Virus! If you want to regain access to these files, send $3,000 in bitcoin to the following address. Once you pay the ransom, we will send you the encryption key so you can unlock your files.
You jump up and run to the IT department but it takes time to process what has happened. You’ve read about things like this happening but you just can’t believe it happened to you. Now what? Surely your IT department can fix this.
In most cases, the IT department can’t fix it. They need that decryption code to undo what’s been done. The only way they can help is if they’ve got a very recent copy of your data base. Even if this copy is only a few days old, you will still lose whatever work was done during those days.
The best case scenario is that your IT department has a copy they just made at 7 a.m. and it has almost all the work, records and data on it. They will completely reboot all your systems and then reinstall your data base from those copies. It will take a day or two but you can be back up and running before the end of the week.
Should You Pay The Ransom?
The other course of action would be to go buy $3,000 in bitcoins and send it to the address listed on the screen. Then wait to see if the cyber thieves will send the crypto-key as promised. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. They’re thieves after all and there’s really no honor among thieves anymore.
In many cases, if you have a good working relationship with a managed IT service provider in Philadelphia, you should contact them at once and ask them for options. These are professionals who know quite a bit more than the average person about data breaches. They can lay out all the options for you and help you make the right choice for your company.
No one’s immune to ransomware and malware. It only takes one careless (or angry) employee to put your company at risk. You’ve worked too hard to build your business to let some lazy cyber thief on the other side of the world take it down.
IT Support in Philadelphia
A great managed IT service company will make sure you have the latest and best cyber security. But they can also come out on a quarterly or even a monthly basis and train your employees. Even employees who have had this type of training sometimes get lax. Maybe you’re on the phone talking to someone and you mindlessly scroll through emails. Everyone does this. It’s not uncommon to click on a link in an unfamiliar email. It’s up to you to be ready for whatever cyber thieves might come up with.
Protect your IT infrastructure and your business with IT Support in Philadelphia from Partners Plus. We offer a full suite of managed IT services for all of Philadelphia and Delaware. We can put together a customized package of our services that will best fit your business and your budget. Give us a call to learn more about IT Support Philadelphia.
This is a constantly evolving challenge. Please feel free to reach out for more info or any feedback and we’ll help/update as needed.
Bill Hogan is the Owner and President of Partners Plus. He has over 37 years of experience in the tech industry, specifically IT network consulting for small and medium-sized businesses. Bill has spoken at seminars all over the country and published his latest book in 2018. Partners Plus has been selected by PHL17 as the best Computer and IT Support Company in the greater Philadelphia area.