Exposure to a ransomware attack can severely damage the reputation of an enterprise. The damage can be far deeper, since the inability to fight ransomware-related lawsuits can put the company out of business.
The remediation cost to recover from ransomware attacks has dramatically increased since last year. In fact, According to Sophos’ “The State of Ransomware 2021” report, the cost of ransomware remediation surged from an average of US$761,106 in 2020 to US$1.85 million in 2021. It shows that not having a robust infrastructure in place can cost the enterprise dearly.
However, bad actors coming after the company’s money or the cost to get the infrastructure up and running are not the only challenges CISOs have to deal with. After the effect of ransomware attack fades, the enterprise may have to deal with financial threats that emerge in the form of ransomware-lawsuit.
Since threat actors will continue to exploit weaknesses – both threaten the corporate IT systems as well as gain access to personal information, it is less-likely the data breach legal actions will go away anytime soon. With cases becoming more and more complex, plaintiffs are advancing their theories of causation and damages even though no harm has occurred to them or their customers. However, it is not necessary that a ransomware attack should always expose the enterprise to a potential lawsuit. CISOs should create strategies that minimize the risk of a ransomware attack, and if one occurs, immediately take the necessary steps to limit the damage.
Here are a few steps CISOs can take to protect their enterprise against ransomware-related legal actions:
Assessing the risk
The chances of a lawsuit largely depend on the type of ransomware attack that the enterprise has suffered. Additionally, there are many factors that can influence the lawsuit such as the size of the enterprise, the amount of information it has and the way it manages data. Therefore, it is imperative that CISOs have a risk assessment in place that lets them identify where the weak points are in the network permissions, backup systems and staff training and network monitoring and visibility. They should also involve their business partners in the assessment process to ensure that they have deployed strong security technologies and practices.
Implementing ransomware prevention best practices
One of the best ways for an enterprise to protect itself against a financially threatening lawsuit is to incorporate best practices that prevent them from becoming ransomware attack victims. They should adopt approaches including but not limited to conducting cybersecurity awareness activities, developing incident response plans, monitoring potential malware exposures, controlling and ranking user access privileges and deploying visibility tools.
Building a recovery plan
With the high probability of ransomware attacks happening anytime and anyplace, it is critical that enterprises properly prepare themselves. Having a disaster recovery plan in place can help the enterprise suffering from ransomware to quickly get back on track with minimal impact on its customers and business partners.
Practicing good security hygiene
To keep the cybersecurity posture of the enterprise intact, CISOs should follow security best practices. It also puts the enterprise in a good position to be recognized for its good efforts and less likely to be viewed as negligent.
CISOs should make it mandatory to access critical files with two-factor authentication. They should take steps that include setting backup drive files, encrypting data, read-only once write process and unmounting the drive the moment the backup is completed. With the ransomware attacks evolving, CISOs should continuously update their strategy to successfully defend their enterprise against disgruntled parties today and in the future.
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