Protected Trust’s Exchange, Managed Security and I.T. clients were not affected by this incident, and are protected from future attacks like this.

If you tune into the news whatsoever, you’ve likely seen a lot of news about the WannaCry Ransomware over the past week. This not-at-all-surprising malware attack began sweeping the globe late last week, and estimates indicated that over 50,000 computers in more than 150 countries were infected by the end of the day on Friday. While some heroics from a 22-year-old security researcher slowed the virus down over the weekend, it’s by no means finished doing damage. As of Monday morning, more than 200,000 systems around the world are believed to have been infected.

This is an unprecedented attack, but it goes to show just how big the potential for future danger from ransomware attacks is. This attack exploited an already-known vulnerability in the Windows operating system that Microsoft fixed in an update over a month ago. While this attack was at a larger scale than previous ones, it demonstrated just how easy and effective these criminal activities can be executed at a much larger scale, and how important keeping your software and hardware up to date is.

One thing is constant throughout the history of the personal computer. There are always going to be software vulnerabilities that are eventually fixed. However, in between the time the vulnerability is discovered, software makers can fix the issue, and users actually install the update (and not just hit “skip” or “ignore” when prompted to update) there is a window for criminals to utterly incapacitate your business. Imagine what would happen if you lost access to all of your company’s data, what your next month would look like. This hasn’t and won’t change.

If you are responsible for the IT at your business you must ensure two major components of your company’s cyber defense, no matter what size your business is and where it’s located. The first is around the clock monitoring and updating of your company’s workstations, servers and network with the ability to respond immediately before the problem gets worse. The second is user training.  While some networks were deliberately targeted, others were infected by users infecting themselves by falling for simple email attacks.

If you think your business is safe just because it wasn’t the target of this recent round of ransomware you are feeling a false sense of security. A recent data breach report by Verizon opened with this sobering thought, “If you haven’t suffered a data breach you’ve either been incredibly well prepared, or very, very lucky. Are you incredibly well prepared?” Just because WannaCry targeted the absolute most vulnerable PCs out there, doesn’t mean that other vulnerabilities won’t be exploited. The fact of the matter is there is always an exploit, and if enough resources are put into it, a vast majority of networks can suffer the same fate as the other 200,000 computers around the world did this past week. It cost businesses $300 this time around. Nothing is stopping that number from climbing $3,000, $30,000 or even $3 million. What’s your business’s continued ability to function worth to you?

If you don’t have a team of experts monitoring and updating your systems continually, you are at risk. Even if your primary job function is IT, you still can use some help. What most people don’t know is that managed security services from a company like Protected Trust with an always-on network operations center can provide this security and peace of mind 24/7/365 at the fraction of the cost of a full-time employee.