How Ransomware Runs Your Business Into the Ground

Ransomware Runs Businesses Into The Ground

Besides being the reason behind 41 percent of cyber insurance claims in the first half of 2020 alone, the repercussions of a ransomware attack aren’t limited to just financial loss. In fact, a ransomware attack can grind your business to a halt and cause severe damage on multiple fronts.

Here’s how ransomware can literally choke the life out of your business’ present and future.

Loss or destruction of critical business data
Your company’s data is the proverbial thread that strings various facets of your business together. Should your data become inaccessible, go missing or be destroyed, the damage can be catastrophic. Once lost, fully recovering data and knowledge is a herculean task and getting things back to some state of normalcy is an enormous exercise in itself.

Norsk Hydro, a global aluminum producer, met with a similar fate when 22,000 of its computers across 170 different sites in 40 different countries were hit by a ransomware attack in early 2019. With no access to its data, its entire workforce of 35,000 employees had to resort to pen and paper. As per a BBC report in June 2019, the attack had already cost the company £45 million in damages.

Unplanned downtime
As of Q1 of 2020, the average downtime due to a ransomware attack is 16 days. The very thought of businesses not being able to progress for weeks on end is sure to give any owner sleepless nights. Unfortunately, this is the grim reality that numerous businesses, especially small and medium-sized ones, are grappling with.
Besides suffering $300 million in business interruption losses due to a ransomware attack, Danish transportation and logistics giant Maersk faced a 20 percent drop in shipping volume due to the downtime it experienced during a ten-day recovery effort.

Loss of productivity
Efficiency is key to any business’ success and is a proven way of keeping customers happy while keeping costs low. But do you know what happens when productivity takes a massive hit? Ask British pharmaceutical and CPG maker Reckitt Benckiser, which lost $140 million due to disrupted production and supply chains, courtesy the NotPetya ransomware.

Just goes to show you that time really is money!

Disruption of business in the post-attack period
Paying ransom to retrieve data access is one thing but making a full recovery after a ransomware attack is a different kettle of fish altogether. The downtime following an attack is so profound that it leaves businesses in shambles for weeks on end, making recuperation and recovery incredibly painstaking.

Erie County Medical Center (New York, USA) went through a six-week ordeal of manual operations and a recovery process costing $10 million after losing access to 6,000 computers due to a ransomware attack.

Damage to hostage systems, data and files
There’s no guarantee that you will recover your data in its original state even after paying ransom. Certain crucial servers, data, software, and files could be severely or permanently damaged by a ransomware attack and it goes without saying that retrieving them while running daily operations becomes a mammoth challenge.
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) lived through this ordeal when several of its centers had to be shut down during the WannaCry outbreak in 2017. Several medical and emergency services were impacted for days as the NHS fought its way back to normalcy.

Loss of reputation
The expression “once bitten, twice shy” is most appropriate when describing the behavior of customers and companies towards a business hit by a ransomware attack. Despite making a recovery, your business could receive a cold shoulder from the market until you rebuild your reputation – a task that could take years of hard work.


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