Ever since major ransomware attacks against critical infrastructure started making headlines in 2021, the sums hackers demand have only gotten higher. However, the true cost of ransomware includes many factors beyond the ransom itself and includes downtime costs, reputational damage and the cost of new security implementations to name just a few.

In previous years, ransomware attackers may have been content with a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, but the landscape is changing and seven-figure sums are becoming the norm. Additionally, a newly industrialized ransomware-as-a-service economy has popped up to support the attackers, providing them with tools and technologies that help them reach their goals.

The unfortunate reality is that ransomware victims who choose to pay often lose more than money. In many cases they end up committing serious resources to ransomware recovery projects that can cost more than the original ransom itself!

Paying the Ransom is Only the Beginning

Organizations that pay ransom demands do not absolve themselves of the difficulties associated with ransomware attacks. Many find themselves in a position similar to Lincoln College, a rural private college which made recent headlines following a cyberattack in December 2021. The college paid to get its data decrypted and immediately ran into bigger problems rebuilding its systems after the fact. Absent a major investment of at least $50 million, recent news articles are reporting that the college may be forced to shut its doors for good in May 2022.

According to IBM, the average cost of a ransomware breach was $4.62 million in 2021 but this figure does not include the cost of the actual ransom itself. It is a combined cost that includes many different factors that play in ransomware recovery. A new report claims that the ransomware payment represents only 15% of the total cost of an attack.

The true cost of ransomware involves many factors. We’ve collected data on three of the most important ones below:

Prevention is Much Easier Than Recovery

Ransomware protection is critical to business continuity in today’s threat landscape. Organizations can’t continue to simply pay ransom demands and hope to escape the repercussions that inevitably follow. The true cost of ransomware goes way beyond the ransom itself and recovering from an attack is an incredibly difficult and costly process.

Preventing ransomware attacks using best-in-class data exfiltration protection is a much more efficient way to guarantee business uptime, control your reputation, and give yourself room to make intelligent investments. Speak to a data exfiltration expert about prevention-based solutions for your organization today.