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More than half of small businesses mistakenly believe they are too small to be targeted with ransomware—and this common misconception means many companies are unprepared when an attack occurs, according to the results of a new Ponemon Institute survey.

The lack of preparation often results in serious financial and productivity losses because ransomware—which is designed to encrypt critical business files until a ransom is paid to cybercriminals—can easily bring business to a screeching halt.

The Ponemon Institute, which surveyed 618 IT professionals at small and midsize businesses, also found that only 27% of respondents are confident that their current antivirus software implementation can protect them from ransomware. That's because cybercriminals change their tactics often, and it's difficult if not impossible for antivirus software makers to keep up.

Additionally, the report exposed a gap between the number of IT pros who believe ransomware is a serious threat and the number of small and midsize businesses that are actually ready to prevent a ransomware attack. See the figure below:

Perceptions about ransomware

In addition to having the right technology in place, employees need to become educated on the threat of ransomware in order to prevent these infections. About 55% of respondents say their organizations conduct training programs on what employees should be doing to protect data. But only 33% say their companies address the ransomware threat. Among the survey's key findings:

Perceptions about ransomware

The Ponemon Institute also found that a high-quality backup and disaster recovery system is the best way to get back in business following a ransomware attack—without having to pay a ransom. A large majority of respondents who have experienced a ransomware attack—68%—say it is “essential” or “very important” to have full and accurate backup as a defense for future ransomware incidents.

What to do when you're attacked with ransomware
If you have cloud backup and fall victim to a ransomware attack, getting your files back is a breeze. Just follow these four easy steps:

1. As soon as you’re aware of a ransomware attack on your computer, file server or network, immediately shut down any file-sharing activity.

2. Assess the extent of the infection and the damage. Your computer’s antivirus software can help you determine which digital files have been encrypted with ransomware and when they became infected.

3. Remove the virus by deleting all infected files.

4. Log into your cloud backup system and recover clean versions of the infected files from the point in time immediately prior to the attack. If you’re a Carbonite customer and would like help with this process, call our Customer Care Team at 1-877-222-5488 and a friendly representative will walk you through it. The Carbonite Customer Care Team is available seven days per week.

For more details—including tips on how to protect your business from ransomware—click on the image below to view our new infographic and download the full Ponemon Institute report today.

Ransomware Report

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