Document management software is a technology even the smallest businesses can afford, but the global ransomware crisis is what will make this technology’s security features priceless in 2017 and beyond.
Enterprise-grade document management technologies can subsume information and data to protected repositories unassailable to ransomware hackers, and that would just be the beginning of the solution’s benefits.
So, what exactly is ransomware, you ask?
A ransomware attack occurs when a message pops up on a computer and tells the user his or her files have been locked, and will only be given back if a certain lump sum of money is paid.
But giving the ransomware attackers what they ask for is no guarantee they’ll unlock victims’ files. In many cases, the ransomware attackers may use the data procured in these attacks for other illicit purposes, subjecting victims and the business they work for to an array of potential threats.
To understand how document management software can stave off ransomware attacks, let’s first look at the impact ransomware is having in businesses.
Horrifying Examples of How Ransomware Can Ruin Your Business
Although all businesses without securely housed data and information interchange protocols are susceptible to ransomware, the healthcare industry has been hit hardest by data breaches in the form of ransomware attacks.
Ransomware accounted for nearly 75% of healthcare malware attacks in 2016, and the trend is only on the rise in 2017. The following example illustrates how devastating this can be for hospital and healthcare clinics’ reputations, licensure, and breach fines.
- Emory Healthcare’s Orthopedic, Spine, and Brain Health Center (EHC) suffered a data breach at the hands of ransomware earlier in 2017 this year. This ransomware-driven breach affected a staggering 80,000 patients.
- Vanderbilt University’s Medical Center suffered a ransomware attack in December 2016 that compromised patients’ social security numbers
- Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center suffered a cataclysmic ransomware attack resulting in a loss of $17,000
The healthcare industry is more susceptible to ransomware attacks than ever, and it’s by far the biggest problem affecting HIPAA compliance and protected health information (PHI).
How Document Management Software Can Resolve Ransomware in Healthcare
In addition to implementing a system that meets all the technical and security safeguards of HIPAA compliance, ensuring throughput continuity of records into the solution will safeguard the information from ransomware attacks.
Although the encrypted web portal of a document management software tool won’t combat ransomware directly, it will prevent data breach in electronic data interchange.
A Ransomware Underreporting Issue—Another Attack Vector
The United States Justice Department reports that 4,000 ransomware attacks occur across a number of industries each day, but the incidents are underreported—less than 10 organizations have officially reported ransomware activity to law enforcement.
Given that businesses are the foremost target of ransomware attacks, we can infer that underreporting of ransomware attacks isn’t attributable to consumers suffering ransomware attacks on their individual devices (when individuals suffer ransomware attacks, they aren’t subjected to compliance strictures mandating them to notify law enforcement authorities).
Ransomware underreporting can have long-term consequences for organizations, and could potentially bring their leadership under fire for failing to comply with breach notification procedures in each of their respective industries.
Most clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities also underreport these issues because they sometimes aren’t aware that a ransomware attack ever occurred.
This only adds fuel to the fire of ransomware attackers striving to ream as much as they can out of healthcare attacks before the industry learns to prevent them, and attackers prey on their next industry-specific target.
However, Symantec reports that web based infection attempts can be prevented through intelligence networks
Integration of Disparate Technologies Further Fuels the Ransomware Fire
The modern security demands across industries have forced organizations to interweave older legacy systems with newfangled technologies.
Although this is a cost-effective method for galvanizing change, it poses ransomware security issues for companies.
The more systems needed to execute the entirety of organizational functions, the more opportunities there are for files, documents, and other unstructured content to be susceptible to breach.
Using document management software as the main software and repository for an organization’s information lets companies integrate with other software from the inside out, not from the outside in. This closes the chasm for ransomware attackers striving to gain leverage for their ransom claims.
More Background on the Ransomware Epidemic
Forbes reported this week that ransomware is posing a global threat, the most recent one occurring on June 27, 2017.
The industries most targeted include large power companies, national banks, and transportation services.
After thousands of infection attempts have passed, the global crisis has security experts, consultants, and technology companies scouring data for solutions to the issue.
Most experts aren’t even in agreement on which strain of ransomware is responsible for which set of attacks, although consensus is that there are 10 major strains of ransomware affecting the global marketplace:
To make matters even worse, the hackers are more sophisticated than ever, and their backdoor traps furtively put small business owners unequipped to handle such attacks in a vice grip.
Cloud Document Management Software Prevents Ransomware from the Get-Go
One of the benefits of cloud technology is its ease of updating. Storing all documents in a document management software cloud means it will be regularly updated by the licensed provider of the service, and involve little if any downtime for end users.
If a business has high fidelity to its document management software processes, it will be able to stave off ransomware attacks from the get-go.
If all an organization’s files are stored securely in the cloud and are password protected (as is the case with most document management software vendors’ solutions), then ransomware attacks are futile.
The coders of these attacks won’t be able to coerce you into paying a lump sum to have your files returned because they won’t be able to lock your files on your desktop.
Although ransomware attacks may still appear on a desktop or Mac computer, 100% throughput of files into document management software prevents these files from being accessed.
The Bleak Future of Ransomware with Document Management Software
Although many CSOs have claimed that wireless functionality and accessibility have freed up room for ransomware threats, end user behavior and document management software can adjoin to sidestep the issues associated with the some of the benefits wireless technology has given us.