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Surviving Ransomware: How MicroAge Got Client Back in Business

Being faced with a vicious attack on your network, and the uncertainty of even surviving ransomware, is every IT director’s worst nightmare.

At one 2,000-employee equipment manufacturer, no one saw it coming.

Related: [Blog] 7 Best Practices to Protect Against Ransomware.

On a Saturday, a ransomware virus appeared on all of the company’s desktop and laptop computers. They subsequently spent Monday trying to figure out what had happened and attempting to resolve it. But they knew they needed help.

Already on the lookout for a single IT vendor, the CIO and IT director gave MicroAge’s David Duncan the chance to show what he and MicroAge are capable of.

“A ransomware virus locks you out of your computer with the promise that you’ll be allowed back in once you pay a ransom,” David explains.

This particular one happened to be the CryptoLocker virus, which is still a threat three years after it first appeared in 2013.

The client had hundreds of computers, and no one who knew how to remove such a virus — as well as no interest in paying the ransom.

For this company, surviving ransomware came down to the tricky and time-consuming process of removing the virus and reinstalling all of the software.

“In one of their locations, they had just a handful of computers,” David explains. “We were able to get a service provider to that location by 1 p.m. the same day.”

It was a great start, but David quickly realized that the client would have to make a budget determination. It was possible to send similarly qualified service providers to all 30 locations, but it would be very expensive.

The alternative was more cost effective. All locations sent their computers to the company’s headquarters and David arranged for several technical resources to be on-site at HQ to remove the virus and reimage the software — one machine at a time.

Fortunately, the company had adequate backups in place, but because of the severity of the CryptoLocker virus and the sheer size of the company, it took four business days to get them up and running.

Related: [Blog] Backups and Their Role in Your Security Strategy.

The client was pleased with David’s ability to jump in and work to solve the problem — and will be calling on David for future IT needs.

Now, if you’re thinking about what it would cost your company to be down for a week, you might be wondering how you can prevent the CryptoLocker virus. “Sophos offers a product called Intercept X which features their anti-ransomware CryptoGuard technology,” David says. “Intercept X provides an anti-exploit zero-day defense, immediately detecting malicious data encryption.”

“Ultimately,” David says, “ransomware viruses target employees who innocently open files or attachments. It’s imperative that IT staff continually educate their users to attempt to minimize the threats.”

Whether you need help surviving ransomware, or any other virus or malware, you need an IT partner who can help you remediate the issue. Or if you’re looking for preventive measures, MicroAge can help with that too. You can reach David Duncan at 480-366-2179 or david.duncan@microage.com.

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