It only takes seconds for ransomware to block access to an entire network, but the vast majority of businesses remain locked out of crucial files and systems for a week or more, with the impact causing severe financial and reputational damage.
Data gathered from over a thousand businesses which have been victims of ransomware within the last year suggests that 85 percent of those infected by the malicious file encrypting software had their systems forced offline for at least a week, while a third of cases resulted in data being inaccessible for a month or more.
Worryingly, 15 percent of those targeted with ransomware found that their data was completely unrecoverable.
That's particularly dangerous because the effects of a ransomware attack are almost instant. Sixty-eight percent of businesses surveyed said that their networks went from functional to encrypted and useless in mere minutes, while almost a quarter revealed that the lockdown occurred in just a few seconds, bringing operations screeching to a halt.
Ultimately, the report paints a picture of businesses still being massively underprepared for what's now a significant cyber threat -- and that needs to change, say the report's backers.
"It's critical that all organisations, no matter what size, acknowledge the increasing and evolving threat of ransomware as attacks become ever more frequent and instil a policy, that is regularly updated, to educate staff on what to do if the business comes under attack," says Nabeil Samara, chief digital officer at Timico.
"Protection and communication are key to the difference between success or failure and will save the business infinite costs in the long run."