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How to Build Your Ransomware Response Plan

Ransomware/Malware / April 14 , 2023

3 Key Takeaways

  • Businesses must develop a ransomware response plan to manage the potentially catastrophic logistical and financial consequences of a ransomware attack.
  • Taking such proactive steps as employee training, using antivirus and endpoint protection, segmenting data backups and networks, controlling access permissions, and simulating cyber incidents can help prevent ransomware events.
  • A strong incident response plan for ransomware attacks includes detailed instructions and contingency plans for internal and external communication, impact analysis, damage containment, malware eradication, and operational recovery.

Ransomware is among the biggest threats to businesses globally. It’s also a major cause of Cyber Insurance claims and lost business income for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Our study at NetDiligence of Cyber claims for 2022 ranked ransomware incidents as SMEs’ leading cause of loss. The average event cost SMEs $455,000 in total, while costs of business interruption averaged $643,000. For larger enterprises, the financial consequences can be greater, running into millions of dollars.

A ransomware response plan is essential for managing these events’ potentially catastrophic consequences. Ransomware attacks are impossible to predict, difficult to prevent, and constantly evolving. But an effective incident response plan for ransomware can help you mitigate or even avert some of the worst damage they can do.

Creating a Thorough Ransomware Prevention Checklist

Before discussing a good ransomware response plan, let’s survey what businesses can do to help prevent ransomware attacks in the first place.

These attacks often exploit human error or vulnerabilities. So the answer to the question “How do you prevent ransomware attacks?” starts with a well-informed workforce. People who follow best cybersecurity practices are less likely to accidentally let ransomware infect operating systems and data.

Businessman at desk with laptop computer raises hand in frustration as monitor displays ransomware attack message. Employee training should include regular instruction in best practices for:

  • Identifying suspicious emails, such as phishing emails.
  • Storing corporate and personal data securely.
  • Applying software updates and patches promptly.
  • Setting and maintaining strong, secure passwords.
  • Running and maintaining cybersecurity solutions.

In addition, organizations can improve IT environment security by using:

  • Antivirus and endpoint protection
    Anti-malware solutions help block bad payloads and flag malicious behavior in real time to avoid infected systems and data.
  • Segmented data backups
    Segment backups on separate networks and offline. Use a cloud backup service, and periodically back up vital data using devices disconnected from the main corporate networks.
  • Segmented network
    When you use a segmented network, you isolate critical groups of users, applications, and systems. Such segmentation prevents ransomware’s spread. Also, disable network sharing where possible.
  • Controlled access permissions
    Grant users admin-access only on an as-needed basis, use multifactor authentication, and disable remote desktop protocols.

Getting ahead of the ransomware risk should also include mock breach exercises. These simulated ransomware attacks should train participants to make good decisions about system restoration, negotiation and payment, legal ramifications, public relations, law enforcement involvement, and breach notification.

NetDiligence clients benefit from a ransomware simulation game hosted on our eRiskHub to prepare for a possible ransomware incident.

Developing Your Ransomware Incident Response Plan

Businessman holds tablet computer, overlaid with graphics indicating network cyber security. Even the best preparation can’t necessarily avert an attack. But a ransomware response plan can ensure you’re ready to take appropriate remediation measures.

When ransomware attacks strike, businesses must act swiftly and decisively. A triage must pinpoint the attack’s source and scope, as well as resources needed for recovery.

Incident response teams will need to make several key decisions, including:

  • How to coordinate an organization-wide response
  • Which outside experts to contact
  • Whether or not to contact law enforcement authorities
  • Whether or not to pay the ransom
  • How to notify affected users

To avoid a clumsy, off-the-cuff response, your ransomware incident response plan should include detailed instructions and contingency plans for:

  • Communication
    When an attack occurs, normal channels of communication may not be available. Prepare contact information for internal and external incident response teams in advance. Store it on a separate network, or offline. Also include instructions on when and how to contact a breach coach lawyer, a forensics investigation professional, a public relations partner, and other experts needed for incident recovery.
  • Impact Analysis
    An effective ransomware recovery plan sets procedures for analyzing the event’s impact on business continuity and information. Include manual and automated mechanisms to detect the attack’s source and scope, and ways to determine which machines, networks, and applications have been affected.
  • Containment, Eradication, and Recovery
    With an effective impact analysis, response teams can make informed decisions to contain the event. Appropriate actions may include taking certain machines or networks offline, identifying and eliminating malware, or disabling breached accounts.

Work With NetDiligence in Your Incident Response Planning

Businesswoman sits at desk with laptop computer, talking on phone to cybersecurity professional about ransomware response plan. A well-prepared, readily accessible ransomware response plan can make all the difference in a business’s ability to recover. This is especially important for SMEs as they are all too often targeted for ransomware attacks.

At NetDiligence, we’ve taken our 20+ years of cyber-readiness expertise and our network of industry experts and made it easier than ever to get a breach response plan.

With Breach Plan Connect® from NetDiligence, you’ll have a practical, step-by-step response plan for ransomware, business email compromise, and more.

Take out the expense guesswork with our response playbooks and checklists to help guide your organization’s response in real-time. What’s more, Breach Plan Connect also comes with a free mobile app to access your plan 24/7, even if cyber criminals have locked down your company’s internal infrastructure.

Don’t let your organization become another nightmare news headline.

Start your 30-day free trial of Breach Plan Connect today and get a plan today!

Not sure how to develop an incident response plan for YOUR organization? Complete the form below and download our free guide on how to develop your incident response plan today!


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