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5 Ways to Protect your Architectural Firm from Ransomware

#1: Use the Newest Version of all Software and Operating Systems


Make sure you have the latest updates and patches. This includes the latest versions of Revit, AutoCAD, SketchUp, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Inkscape, Deltek, Ajera, and Bluebeam. 


Updates and patches often close security vulnerabilities. Older, unsupported versions of Microsoft Windows are especially vulnerable. 


Many people tend to click on a “Remind Me Later” button if it’s offered when updating an app or platform. Discourage your team from doing so or at least not delaying the process too long. You may want to consider making it a company policy to run updates on a weekly basis. 


#2: Train Your Employees on Security Practices


No downloading free software or free music. No free screensavers and no free games! Look at links before clicking on them – always be weary! 


Educating employees may seem like a no-brainer but remember it only takes ONE person to slip up and compromise the whole company. Each person on your staff must realize that it’s not all about them – others are affected too.


#3: Back Up Every Day & Back Up Employee Devices


Even if you paid a ransom to the attackers, there is no guarantee the attackers will hand over the decryption key! Restoring from backups is more reliable and less expensive. 


Keep several copies of your company’s data on at least two devices or storage media. Keep at least one copy off-site, there are cloud backup services available. Sophisticated attackers enter a primary environment from an endpoint and head straight for your backups - where 80 percent of data is now stored. 


#4: Remote Desktop Protocol


Check security levels of any remote desktop access services. Ensure two-factor authentication is enabled and look into encryption capabilities. If you must use remote desktops, make sure people can’t access it using fake credentials. (Do penetration testing.) 


#5 Identify Where Your Data is Located


Does everyone have access to the file share that all your data is located on? Separate it and segment it. 


Other Methods to Prevent Ransomware Attacks


•    Clear inventories of your digital assets and their locations. 

•    Configure your firewall to prevent ransomware attacks.

•    Filter emails to prevent spam - endpoint security software will help but is no longer enough in dealing with email monitoring – you need a multi-pronged approach. 

•    Understand what techniques are being used. Emotet and Trickbot infections can signal the coming of Ryuk, typically started about one to two weeks before the delivery of the ransomware. Perform a full compromise assessment at any sign of intrusion.

Do you need help enacting any of these measures or have other IT needs?



Ashe Cosgrove is a full-service IT consulting company. We work with architectural firms of all sizes. We know architects.


          Call us at (707) 241-4866                      

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