3 tips on how to not pay a ransom

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Ransomware is a growing threat to hospitals and health systems, as it affects targeted organizations in every aspect, from finances, efficiency, brand stability and even clinical care. As a result, CIOs and chief information security officers are increasingly investing in security systems that can thwart malicious attackers.

According to a report published on InformationWeek's Dark Reading, ransomware is usually introduced into a corporate network through a single employee who falls victim to phishing schemes or other deceptive tactics that trick an individual into clicking on a link that launches the software. From there, the ransomware "spreads like wildfire" through servers across the enterprise.

The healthcare sector has seen a growing number of ransomware attacks. For instance, in February, hackers shut down Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center's IT systems until the hospital agreed to pay a ransom of $17,000.

Such attacks have healthcare information executives wondering how they can prevent the introduction of ransomware and lower the risk once a breach has occurred. Here are three tips from Dark Reading.

1. Proactively assess the value of your data, and protect it accordingly. Understanding the value of your data is an essential component of protecting it from a ransomware attack. This requires that enterprises categorize information according to their relative value, sensitivity and risk, according to the report. Doing this enables you to create strong records management and information governance procedures that ensure the most important information is protected and archived.

2. Upgrade your backup system. Backing up data in a legacy system exposes the organization to increased risk, according to the report. Instead, backup and recovery solutions that offer the highest degree of protection are those that enable instant backups, storage of older versions of files, effective file recovery techniques and isolation of the backed-up data so ransomware cannot access it.

3. Continuously evolve your security model. Cybercriminals are constantly refining their techniques to access email and other servers. It is important to never become complacent when it comes to security, but rather to continuously seek opportunities to strengthen measures that prevent breaches.

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