How would your business respond to a ransomware attack?

July 07 2021 By David Cannon

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is one of the fastest-growing malware hazards of the 21st century. It threatens businesses and public institutions all over the world.  

Certain virulent and fast-evolving species of malware software infect computers and mobile devices – often spreading across networks and other devices.   

Once it compromises a system, it quietly encrypts every data file it finds before displaying a ransom note demanding a payment, while locking you out of all your systems.

Payment can range from tens of thousands to multi-millions; you may well have seen in the News recently that some businesses have paid huge ransoms.  It affects everyone, from large corporations to small enterprises, and payment is usually paid in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. In return for payment, a decryption key is provided by the hacker/criminal to unlock the victim’s system.

Ransomware is now a major risk to all SME businesses in the UK. The same criminal gangs who target large corporates are now targeting smaller businesses, who are seen as easier targets with less sophisticated systems in place. The frequency of these attacks on SME businesses is increasing all the time, especially with some staff working remotely.  Working remotely can isolate staff increasing the human error element, by clicking a phishing email or being more susceptible to a social engineer scam for example.  Whereas in the office staff are able to voice concerns over anything suspicious, with an immediate response or reassurance from a colleague.

Ask yourself one question...  

How would your business respond to a ransomware attack?

As a business leader, if you are unable to answer this question, then you should seriously consider reviewing the risk. With staff working remotely, the risk has intensified and is now considered one of the biggest risks to businesses of any size – the single largest threat to UK business as a whole.

What are the risks?

The main risks of suffering a ransomware attack are still human error, such as clicking a phishing email or having weak passwords, or inadequate IT, such as poor firewalls, outdated antivirus software, lack of multi-factor authentication (MFA) and/or unpatched vulnerabilities in software.  This can be mitigated by actively managing systems, educating your people and making them aware of the cyber risks, thereby reducing the chance of human error.  IT professionals also suggest you update offline or have cloud-based backups and test your systems, including any business continuity plans.  Crisis management is also vital to control the response of a cyber event. Various cyber organisations employ ethical hackers to test your vulnerabilities through penetration testing.  This can help identify any weaknesses in your systems.

What cyber insurance offers...

Imagine, you receive a call from your IT team, your business has suffered a ransomware attack.  After the initial panic, your options are dependent on whether you have a cyber insurance policy in place.  If you haven’t, then the ransomware attack could cost you financially and significantly damage your reputation.

Think of a cyber insurance policy as part of your business continuity plan (BCP).  The speed and way you respond to a cyber incident can be a vital tool in the restoration of both data and being proactive to avoid any reputational damage. You have instant access to experts who will manage the incident on your behalf.   

A cyber policy will: 

  • Save you time by looking after your GDPR exposure, providing PR, Media and Legal support and manage the crisis using expert IT forensics and crisis management.
  • Save you money including any loss in revenue, with an average cyber claim costing between £30,000 and £40,000, and new SME claims data showing a large number of six-figure claims.  Without this cover, these costs would have to be funded by you or your business.
  • Vitally, it will protect your reputation by being proactive, responding to any data breach, protecting your GDPR obligations and restoring your systems as quickly as possible, reducing any effect on your business, your clients and customers.

If you are unsure whether you have cyber protection or would like to chat to someone about getting the cover you need, speak to one of our experts today at or visit