Companies of all sizes are having to wise up to the challenge of cyberattacks, which have become particularly prominent in the last few years as digital technology becomes truly ubiquitous and businesses migrate onto online platforms. One serious and specific type of cyberattack that all organisations need to know about is ransomware.

As a concept, it is simple. Criminals gain illegal access to corporate or personal files and use them to threaten damage until the owner pays a ransom fee – hence the name. The worrying news is that it is on the rise. Europol recently carried out a survey that found ransomware attacks were now the most typical amongst the various cybercrimes. Ransomware attacks were witnessed on an unprecedented scale in 2017, leading to over $5m (£3.5m) of damage to companies across the world.

It is not just big businesses that are affected, with any enterprise that uses a computer at risk. With demands often high, the effects of an attack can be truly devastating. Research also shows that amongst those businesses that pay up the cash according to the criminal’s blackmail demands, around 17 per cent of victims never receive their files back.

Even where files are returned and no ransom is paid – the best imaginable outcome – businesses still pay out for downtime and the resources required to stop the attack in its tracks. This is before reputational damage is taken into account.

Worryingly, even small-time criminals can now buy software that facilitates ransomware attacks for people without specific IT skills on the dark web. This trend grew by over 2,500 per cent last year, according to official sources.

Businesses can fight back. Good firewall and antivirus software is the obvious first step, with a strong backup system also essential. This enables any impacted software or files to be recovered and allows the business to get itself back on track. Businesses must also understand their data storage locations and processes and have a clear disaster recovery plan in place to manage risks. Employees need to be trained and the business needs to understand how to move quickly and coherently in the event of an attack, with clear designation of responsibility, ownership and recovery processes.

These protection strategies require investment, of course, from the right software through to training, more robust hardware, and specialist consultancy to ensure a defence approach is robust and fit for purpose.

Century Business Finance offers ready business loans for all type of business investment, including cybersecurity measures. We lend from £25k to £500k for unsecured loans and £20k to £1m for secured business loans. Interest rates start at just 4.8 per cent and repayment terms are flexible from six months to five years.

You can also repay early and pay less interest on your loan, as we do not charge any early repayment fees, any upfront fees, or any hidden charges. Our loans are open and transparent, and we have a great reputation in our field.

Apply online in just five minutes – we don’t ask for meetings. Our team accepts nine out of ten applications and will make an instant lending decision so that the funds can be in your account the following day. Call us with any queries and we will be delighted to help.