Over the past month we saw how devastating a virus can be. WannaCry (aka WannaCrypt), a ransomware cryptoworm, targeted computers running on Microsoft Windows, this obviously had huge implications for many people. Here in the UK, in some places it made the NHS grind to a stop.
The ransomware was so effective across the internet and local networks because users had not updated in a timely manner. This is important as it shows how good housekeeping with basic security can mean the difference between running efficiently and being targeting by malware. What is more important to note is that almost of those targeted were running Windows 7 or in some cases older versions such as Windows XP. This shows that keeping up-to-date with the latest software is critical to ensuring the safety of your organisation’s systems. Though it may seem that it is an unnecessary expense to update operating systems every few years, however this recent attack has proved otherwise.
Luckily, and I mean it, an analyst was able to discover an easy kill-switch which severely dampened the effects of this ransomware. But that does not mean this episode is over, there are plenty more viruses out there that you could be vulnerable to and more so, reports are coming in to experts that WannaCry has been improved and is more of a threat than it was when it crippled the NHS.
Obviously, this is more of a general IT issue than a cloud issue but it is important to be aware that cloud services can be just as vulnerable too if the necessary housekeeping is not kept on top of. This means that you should either have an in-house IT specialist who can maintain cloud services effectively or find an agency that can do this for you. For some people, it would seem easier to go back to paper because at least then a hacker sat in their bedroom thousands of miles away cannot be as much as a threat to you. But the as technology progresses, we must strive to keep updated on the latest ways to protect ourselves, something which could have severely reduced the effectiveness of the WannaCry incident. Furthermore, as we grow and evolve cloud technology it will become more and more important to ensure that the security of these systems are a priority, not just for the IT specialists but for the management and those that decide how the budget will be spent. Yes, security is a cost, and yes sometimes it can seem unnecessary but if we have learnt anything from this attack it is that it is important.
This means that a culture change needs to occur as for some organisations, IT isn’t understood in the manner it should be and they might not hire the right people internally, this means that knowing who to contact externally, especially as not all cloud services are created equally is important. I now recommend that you take the time to sit down with management and discuss IT strategy and do the research on the support you need and whether you can accommodate that internally or have to look outwards. Never before has an organization’s security relied on “the nerds downstairs”.
If you want to upgrade your IT security today, visit http://www.pulsant.com/ for information on web security.
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