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The Ransomware Threat to Disaster Recovery in Los Angeles
If you don't have disaster recovery in your Los Angeles business, then this article is for you. Have you heard of the word "ransomware"? If not, let me begin by telling you about what happened to a Los Angeles hospital just last month.
A Ransomware Attack
The Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center became a victim of a cyber-attack called ransomware. The hospital has released a statement saying "patient care has not been affected" and that the cyber-attack seemed "random" and did not specifically target their patient records. But despite of the nature of the attack, it had a significant effect on their daily operations: they needed to revert to paper patient registration and medical records; their network was down for more than one week; and patients needing urgent care were transferred to other hospitals.
The result? The hospital had no other choice but to pay the hackers $17,000 to regain access to their data as well as to regain control over hospital operations.
The Threat to Disaster Recovery in Los Angeles is Real
Ransomware has been called one of the greatest threats to private cybersecurity today. And if you Google "ransomware", you will notice that another hospital is dealing with a ransomware attack. The threat is very real; in fact, the FBI is investigating a growing number of ransomware cases.
What Is It?
Let us take a step back and talk a bit about what ransomware is. Simply put, it is software that is secretly loaded onto a victim’s computer hard drive -- typically through an infected email or website. The software encrypts the files on the drive, and the victim is notified that he or she must pay a ransom to receive an encryption key and regain access.
On Monday, The Washington Post reported that in 2014, during a nine-month period, the FBI received more than 1,800 ransomware complaints, and they estimated that the victims lost $23.7 million. In 2015, both of these figures had increased, with more than 2,000 complaints, and with $24.1 million paid as ransom.
Here are a few tips that will help you keep ransomware from wrecking your day:
- Back up your data.
- Use the Cryptolocker prevention kit.
- Patch or update your software.
- Use a reputable security suite.
- Do not open files/links in spam emails or suspicious looking emails.
Our 4-Step Defense Plan Against Ransomware
While the tips above can help keep you from becoming a ransomware victim, your best defense is entrusting your safety to those who know what they are doing. And that's us. Here's how we can enhance your security:
- To ensure that your business is secure and will continue to operate even after a massive ransomware hit, you have to deploy a state of the art backup and disaster recovery plan. (This short whitepaper, The Disaster Recovery Maturity Framework, can also help you build a disaster recovery plan for your Los Angeles business).
- Our 30-minute, incremental forever, block-level backups will protect your open databases such as your accounting programs. Meaning, your server backup can be run and you won't have to worry about missing open files.
- Our Dependable SafeSTORE (DSS), which we designed ourselves, will create and send an encrypted copy of your files to our secure collocation facilities. In other words, our server backup in Los Angeles will have a secure copy of your data if you experience a ransomware attack.
- We'll protect your email too. With our exchange backup in Los Angeles, your exchange data will remain intact and protected.
Although, the amount that The Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid isn't that big (especially for a hospital of its size), the impact on its operations as well as the inconvenience it caused, was significant and probably cost it much more. And that is what you want to avoid, especially if you are a small business.
Ransomware is a serious matter and should not be taken for granted. Call our DCG Technical Solutions, Inc. office at (213) 261-3998 if you want to know more about ransomware, or if you want to talk about cloud backup, disaster recovery for Los Angeles businesses and other solutions to protect yourself from this cyber-threat.
About Brent Whitfield
Brent Whitfield is CEO of DCG Technical Solutions, Inc., which provides IT Support in the Los Angeles area since 1993. DCG exists to help our clients choose, implement, and manage IT and cloud solutions that are cost effective and reliable. DCG's pro-active approach to IT is ideally suited for companies who depend on reliable IT infrastructure, but don't want to spend a lot of money to keep it that way. DCG was recognized among the Top 10 Fastest Growing MSPs in North America by MSP Mentor. Brent has been featured in Fast Company, CNBC, Network Computing, Reuters, and Yahoo Business.