How to Prevent and Mitigate Ransomware Attacks

In this post we reveal which security best practices and technologies your organisation can adopt to help prevent and mitigate the rising wave of ransomware attacks.

As organisations continue adopting new hybrid work strategies that push their networks beyond the traditional IT perimeter, the gaps left behind in their security systems as a result have created many new vulnerabilities for ransomware attackers to exploit.

In a recent report, Jeremy Fleming, Director of GCHQ, revealed that ransomware attacks doubled in volume throughout 2021, and are expected to continue rising unless affirmative action is taken. As a result, sharpening ransomware defences is now a top priority for business leaders in the hybrid era.

But how can organisations build an effective ransomware prevention plan that strengthens those vulnerabilities, and what role does Identity-first Zero Trust security play in keeping their sensitive data secure? To help answer these questions, here are some key strategies you can adopt to prevent ransomware and other cyberthreats from infiltrating your IT network.

Increase employee risk awareness

Of all the ways to prevent ransomware attacks, educating your workforce on the risks involved is always the best place to start. By holding regular training exercises that adequately explain what a ransomware attack is, how it works, and which common ransomware protection best practices users can adopt, organisations can significantly reduce their risk surface.

Always be prepared for the worst

With ransomware-as-a-service campaigns expected to increase the volume of ransomware attacks even further in 2022, it makes sense for organisations to have a strong security response strategy in place for every possible scenario. As well as educating each individual employee on the risks involved, be sure that every team member has a clear strategy to follow, and that every decision maker is aware of what actions they must take in the event of a ransomware attack.

Invest in agile, digital security systems

When building your enterprise ransomware prevention strategy, it’s important to know that proactive prevention will always trump a reactive response. While traditional ransomware prevention best practices like patching old technologies may have sufficed in the past, the old ways are no longer enough. Instead, organisations must consider investing in newer,

more agile digital platforms that can proactively protect vulnerable IT systems from ransomware threats, both on-premises and in the cloud. 

Implement strong Zero Trust security 

Whenever our customers ask us “what is the best ransomware protection?” we always recommend implementing a strong, Identity-centric Zero Trust security architecture that protects their hybrid workforce, wherever they may be. By assuming risk in every user, device, network, and location unless verified by Identity, Zero Trust can stop ransomware attacks at their source and prevent bad actors from entering their network by force.

How Okta can help?

As the world’s #1 Identity and Access Management solution, Okta already helps more than 14,000 organisations across the globe secure digital trust and streamline their ransomware defences with its market leading identity solutions. Here are some of examples of how Okta can help keep your business safe from ransomware attacks: 

Neutralises ransomware threats with strong MFA

While ransomware attackers will often use compromised usernames and passwords to take control of their victims’ accounts or networks, Okta’s Multi-factor Authentication is one of the most effective measures to neutralise ransomware threats at their source. By requiring that every user verifies their identity through a series of seamless, passwordless authentication checks, MFA can reduce the risk of ransomware and other credential-based security breaches by 75%.2

Accelerates your Zero Trust security architecture

Though there is no silver bullet when it comes to achieving a Zero Trust security architecture, Okta’s Identity and Access Management platform is the core technology that many organisations use to accelerate their Zero Trust journeys. By providing out-the-box integrations for more than 7,000 business-critical apps, both on-premises and in the cloud, Okta allows organisations to rapidly deploy Identity-first Zero Trust security across every IT system.

Centralises access management across all your business apps

By implementing tools like Okta Single Sign-on, organisations can quickly close the IT network blinds spots that many ransomware criminals use when issuing their attacks.

Instead of separately managing account access for each individual user and IT system, SSO provides one secure, centralised, single source of truth for every account. As a result, IT and security teams can manage user access more efficiently and securely, allowing them to isolate and resolve any suspicious activities before they spread, while the user benefits from a simpler and faster experience every time they log on.


If you’d like more information on how to prevent ransomware attacks read our ebook: Ransomware Prevention: 5 Things IT Leaders Need to Know 

If you would like to know more about how Okta can help strengthen your organisation’s ransomware defence strategy, please reach out to one of our specialists or download your copy of Okta’s Ransomware Checklist here.