Help, I’ve got a virus! What to do if your business is attacked


How would your business respond if you got a virus? Far too many businesses wait until they’ve already suffered a cyber attack to think about that question. By then, the damage is already done: when a virus hits your systems, every second counts.

Being small is no excuse not to have a plan. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of small businesses suffered a virus or malicious software infection in 2015. To add insult to injury, the same research shows that the cost of such a security breach averages between £75,000 – £311,000 for a small business.

So, here’s what you do if a device in your business has got a virus. Commit it to memory.

Help, I’ve got a virus

Don’t panic – act:

  • Detect it. Whether it’s pop-ups, slow or freezing hardware, or disabled antivirus: your employees should note any unusual behaviour on a device immediately. If you have an IT team, or an external IT partner, now is the time to contact them.
  • Isolate it. Wherever you find the virus, disconnect that hardware from your business’s network to avoid the malware spreading any further. The rest of your employees should then run anti-virus scans to make sure their devices aren’t infected.
  • Destroy it. Ensure your antivirus systems are up to date and then immediately run a full scan to find and delete the malware on the infected hardware. If the system doesn’t have antivirus software, or the malware in question has disabled it, download an antivirus installer through an uncorrupted system and transfer that to the quarantined hardware using a memory stick.
  • Document it. Have someone on your team take ongoing notes on the timeline of the attack. You can then share these details with stakeholders and, if necessary, with the police.

With these steps, you should be able to cleanse your network of malware and mitigate a disaster. But, if this doesn’t work, and you don’t have a qualified IT team to help you, it’s time to seek external help.

Think of the future

Strong business security is about far more than knowing what to do when something goes wrong. It’s about:

Most importantly, it’s about having the right support available to shore up your defences and to help you when something does go wrong.

Without support, your business walks a statistical tight rope, risking a disastrous security breach every day.

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