We’ve talked about how ransomware works previously. It should be a concern for all small and medium-sized business owners. But what if you’ve already been infected? Should you just pay the ransomware demands or not?

There are a few different options if you’ve been locked out of your system by ransomware and don’t have a business continuity plan in place:

  1. Wipe everything and start over again, which isn’t usually a viable option.
  2. Try to recover the files yourself.
  3. Pay a security firm to help you figure it out.
  4. Pay the ransomware demand.

It should not come as a surprise that the FBI recommends not paying. Their concern is for the nation as a whole. When ransomware works and the perpetrators make money, they’ll keep up the attacks. So in an ideal world, nobody would pay the demands and ransomware would stop being an issue.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, we live in the real world. The FBI doesn’t run your business. They don’t have to deal with the delays that come as a result of ransomware. They don’t have to calm upset customers down. They don’t have to worry about how to make payroll when operations have come to a halt.

Ransomware has a real effect on your business!

If your business needs to recover quickly, pay the ransom. But by no means should you then consider the problem solved.

Even after you’ve paid and you’re back up and running, the ransomware software is still on your system. Nothing can stop the perpetrators from locking you out again and demanding more money. After all, they got money from you last time, so why not try for more money?

Once you’ve paid the ransom, immediately call an IT service provider in. Work with them to invest in a business continuity solution. That way, any future issues—including ransomware—will only have a limited effect. You’ll be able to recover your data and get everything back up and running quickly with a business continuity solution.

The less time you spend down, the better. Pay the ransom the first time if you need to, but then work with your IT provider so it doesn’t happen again.