A comprehensive ransomware prevention strategy should include device control, patch management and configuration management. Fast action, such as immediately taking an affected machine offline, can prevent a ransomware attack from moving through the network and affecting other systems. An effective ransomware prevention strategy should include the following: Device control Set controls about what kinds of devices can be loaded on a system. Those rules can address type, brand and even an individual USB drive. Effective device control automates the discovery and management of removable devices. It defines and enforces device use policies by group or individual user, with flexible exception policies. Patch management Patch management remains one of the most effective means of thwarting attacks, including ransomware. To protect against ransomware in particular, be sure to enable the downloading of software patches to your operating systems, Microsoft Office, Adobe applications, your browsers and browser plug-ins. Configuration management To ward off ransomware, set browser security to the highest possible level to reduce the chances that malicious content can be downloaded from a website. Also use the browsers Do not track feature to reduce the chance of encountering malvertising by limiting ad views. In addition, monitor outgoing traffic. Block known malicious URLs and watch for nonsense URLs that look suspicious. When in doubt, block first and ask questions later. Make no mistake, ransomware is the next big scourge to strike businesses. Its not a trivial threat, and one organisations are almost certain to encounter. By taking preventive measures now including rigorous data backups, thorough user training, and prevention strategies the risk of ransomware and other malicious attacks can be mitigated, without ransoming the organisations success. Eric Aarrestad is VP and GM for the unified endpoint management business unit at HEAT Software.
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