The Colonial Pipeline hack serves as a stark reminder that cybersecurity preparedness is not optional

The cyber attack against the computer systems that control the Colonial Pipeline gasoline distribution system serve as a stark reminder. Businesses need to increase their level of cybersecurity preparedness.  The Colonial Pipeline system was disabled by a ransomware attack, apparently beginning on May 7, 2021. We are hearing that Colonial Pipeline paid about $5 million to recover their system’s data.  The effects of this attack were widespread on the East Coast of the United States. Gas stations experienced distribution problems and customers started panic buying.

It may only take one area of weakness to take down business operations

This incident demonstrates that even for large businesses, cybersecurity preparedness is a challenging business risk. It only takes one area of weakness for an attack to take down business operations with devastating effect.  Small businesses are not exempt from this risk!  Chortek has helped much smaller businesses in Southeastern Wisconsin recover from such attacks.

Examples of cybersecurity preparedness services with Chortek clients

In one case, Chortek helped a manufacturing company deploy additional cybersecurity preparedness measures. The year before working with us, the company lost $700,000 in revenue and productivity during a ransomware incident.

In another incident, a Chortek client was able to recover from a ransomware attack within 2 hours. The company didn’t have to pay any ransom because they had deployed cybersecurity preparedness measures prior to the attack.

How can you keep from being the next Colonial Pipeline hack? Have a good data backup solution.

The most important cybersecurity preparedness measure is to have a good data backup solution in place. A proper backup solution can significantly reduce your ransomware risks. This backup solution can protect all business data stored on servers and cloud vendors. Don’t forget that most cloud vendors do not back up your business data or have adequate recovery times or recovery points.

Another highly effective tool in reducing ransomware business risk is to use “multi-factor authentication” (MFA) in every system where it is available.  Chortek has blogged about multi-factor authentication in the past.  We can easily apply MFA to cloud solutions such as Exchange Online from Microsoft 365. This is a feature which Chortek enables by default for our managed IT customers.

MFA can also be applied to every workstation and server in a network. Doing so greatly reduces the risk of hacking due to stolen usernames/passwords. Once enabled on workstations and servers, hackers who have stolen a username and password of a valid network user are still not able to log in. They will not be able to receive the “token” alert on their smartphone which allows login to the system.

If you have any concerns about the cybersecurity preparedness of your business network, please let us know. We will be happy to provide an initial consultation at no cost or obligation. Simply fill out the contact form below.

Contact us for a free initial cybersecurity consultation