Most of our partners will no doubt be familiar with the kind of malware that made the news headlines earlier this month.  CryptoLocker came to prominence a couple of months ago after one security provider announced that a spate of fake emails containing the trojan had claimed some 12,000 victims in a week.  In November the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) used the story to warn bank customers and small businesses of the dangers of this malware variant that freezes unsuspecting users out of their computers unless they send a ransom payment in exchange for a decryption code.

CryptoLocker is simply a new twist on an old trick involving malware hidden in an email zip attachment that those of us involved with Internet security business have known about since the early 1990’s.  One thing it should do is give partners the chance to remind their small business customers of the threat and remind them how Cloud backup can protect them from falling victim to it.   Our AVG CloudCare cloud-based platform has been built by small business owners for small business owners with the express purpose of making data security as uncomplicated as possible.  AVG CloudCare with Online Backup gives them the choice of backing devices up locally or to the cloud. They also have the option to create a mirror image of large database files and email servers in the cloud. This means their data is always recoverable regardless of what happens to individual PCs or servers on the network.

I mentioned our recent study into Online Backup among smaller businesses – in particular their attitude to backing up mobile data – in one of my recent blogs.  Other data from the study showed that the vast majority (75 percent) of our sample base of 1,000 small businesses relied on traditional automated local backup. Tellingly 50% of SMB owners in the UK and 64% in the US said they are suspicious of the cloud.  Most (59% UK, 54% US) do not even enforce a backup policy.

The reemergence of malware like CryptoLocker shows that criminal gangs are banking on small businesses taking these kinds of chances with their data.  Having a Cloud-based security platform like AVG CloudCare can ensure that a trusted resource is always at hand to keep valuable and sensitive data secure.

But if you don’t want to retain the services of professionals there are still some basic preventative measures you can take.  One of these is to improve staff awareness of safe practice when it comes to digital devices and social media.  Other measures include:

  • Never open unknown links or suspicious attachments and make sure your operating system/ internet browsers are up-to-date
  • Set up a central Cloud-based drive where master copies of all important documents must be stored
  • Use a spam- and virus-filtered email service
  • Get reputable anti-virus software and ensure you update it frequently
  • Always back up your files locally and use an online back-up service to be perfectly safe

If you have any doubts about just how secure you are why not take a few minutes to find out by taking our small business IT security health check.