How to protect your small business from the threat of nasty viruses and cryptolockers

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Dear small business owner. Are you sitting comfortably? We sincerely hope so, as the story we’re about to tell may send shivers down your spine. You’ve been warned.

It involves a fellow small business owner. A tradie. A real tradie. Only a politician would ever choose to hang with a #faketradie.

We digress.

Now, like many people, when our small business friend received an email which appeared to be from his energy provider, he opened it, along with the attachment. But this was not a bill from his energy provider. It was a cryptolocker. Unfortunately, being a salt of the earth small business type doesn’t grant immunity from viruses and cryptolockers. The world is unfair like that.

For those of you not familiar with the evil that is cryptolockers, they are essentially viruses that kidnap your files, encrypting them and holding them to Bitcoin ransom. With Bitcoin being virtually untraceable, it allows hackers a cloak of anonymity.

So here he was, our poor tradie, his original files deleted, the others renamed .encrypted and locked away, lest he offer up some Bitcoins, which he was not prepared to do. Rightly so.

Now, had he been operating in a small office without a File Sharing System that could roll back client data to a time pre-infection, our tradie’s IT set up could have landed in the proverbial. We know, because we’ve seen it happen. And it happens more than you’d like to think.

Horror stories abound of innocent employees opening what they believe to be legitimate emails, only to unleash a virus. Before you know it that virus has spread across the file server and encrypted every single file the business relied on.

In fact, over 10,000 Australians were targeted in one single scam this year. Those who opened the fake bill had their computers infected with vicious malware and were prompted to pay $880 to regain access to their files.

In the UK, there were reports of workers opening emails, only to have their desktop screen plastered with a message, allegedly from the British Police, advising that the police were aware of then accessing child porn from the PC. With payment the only option to remove the message, many innocent people paid to avert tarnished reputations and shameful looks from their colleagues.

Depending on the sophistication of the virus, IT staff should be able to recover files from a backup. But, if the backups aren’t stored offsite on a separate server, or tested frequently, they may offer little, if anything, in the way of recovery.

Conversely, businesses who invest in Business File Sharing technologies significantly reduce the impact of local infections as they can roll back data to its pre-infection status. While your staff may lose any unsaved work, this is a preferable outcome to losing the work in its entirety.

Of course with small business budgets being tight, we understand you may be tempted by some of the free cloud servers that are ‘floating’ around. However, what they can’t deliver on is security with a distinct risk your staff’s work could be compromised (iCloud leak anyone?). As part of their service, your Business File Sharing service manager will frequently test backups and continually upgrade server security.

Thankfully there are Business File Sharing services out there that offer great service for a small monthly fee (ooh, that’s us). And when you consider that against the cost of losing your team’s work, we know which provides better value for your small business. And so does our tradie friend!

Interested? Still have questions?

Get in touch with the BaseHost team

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