Of all the cybersecurity threats out there, one consistently strikes a nerve: ransomware. Maybe it’s because being held for ransom is so personal, or perhaps it’s the fact that you’re totally frozen out of your critical systems and data when it happens to you.

Whatever the reasons, companies and government agencies need to be particularly wary of these attacks. After all, they both house sensitive personal and financial data for many people. Organizations can stay ahead of ransomware with three tactics that help deter threats and minimize damage from successful attacks.

  1. Find, secure and backup your sensitive data. The only way to protect your most sensitive data is to know exactly where it is stored and ensure it is adequately secured and properly (and frequently) archived in the event of an emergency.
  1. Make and test a plan. If you don’t have a plan in place specifically for ransomware, there’s just no way you can thwart an attack. You say you haven’t tested your plan against multiple scenarios? Well, any plan that hasn’t been thoroughly tested and tweaked isn’t a plan at all.
  1. Don’t pay the ransom – until you have no other choice. This one is tough, no doubt. There is no correct answer as to whether or not you should pay a ransom as this is a business or personal decision and we’re not making a value judgment; we’re just looking for the best way to get your data back. By definition, the people holding you for ransom are criminals and they aren’t trustworthy. On the other hand, there are some situations where the cost of trying to retrieve your data and get IT back up and running will exceed the cost of the ransom. In these cases, paying the ransom may be the most cost-effective way to get your business back up and running. Keep in mind, however, that paying the ransom is no guarantee of getting your sensitive files back.

While there’s no way to promise that you won’t be the victim of ransomware, following these three recommendations will give you enough control so that an attack doesn’t create an unrecoverable crisis.

Keep up with our latest ransomware advice via the DataGravity newsletter.