Thanks for clicking. The one thing you need to know to make $20,000 per week is this: Sometimes, just opening the wrong email or clicking a bad link can cost 20 Gs. And you’re the one who as to pay it. This week.

There was a time when it was cool to hear America Online say, “You’ve got mail!” Now, when you’ve got mail, it could come with a nasty piece of computer code called “ransomware” that’s capable of shutting down your entire business operation.

In case you’ve just emerged from two years in an underwater isolation chamber and don’t know about ransomware, it’s really just old-fashioned extortion dressed as software. It’s designed to encrypt mission-critical data on your servers and desktops and either delete it or give it back, depending on whether you pay a ransom.

If you get ransomware, you’re going to need money fast, a lot of money that you might not have. And you’ll need to convert all of that money to Bitcoin. You don’t know Bitcoin from a 80s arcade token and don’t really care to learn but you soon will because the crew that stole your data won’t take checks or credit cards to maybe give back your data. They want Bitcoin.

They fooled you, or someone on your staff. They sent an attachment or a link carefully disguised to look benign. They guessed you wouldn’t think twice about clicking and downloading their hidden malware. And they were right. So, now, you’re looking at a paywall between you and your vital data.

Are you screwed? Maybe not. Maybe you dodge a bullet with backups. If not, one thing is guaranteed. You won’t see your data again, unless you pay the ransom to release it from captivity. You might not see it again even if you do pay the ransom but you certainly won’t, if you don’t.

No one likes to admit it, maybe the FBI least of all, but paying ransom to liberate your data from cyber crooks might be the best of all your bad options. This assumes, of course, that you can raise the money. What shall it be? Cash out of pocket? A loan against assets? Unsecured credit?

What about someone else’s money? What about insurance company money, for example? Maybe you’ve heard tell. They call them “claims.” Contrary to popular myth, insurance companies do pay claims and some of them involve ransom for stolen data.

Some business owners and managers still don’t know they can buy insurance against cyber-extortion. Their brokers didn’t explain that it’s affordable, even for very small companies. No one warned them that ransomware is an epidemic, that it’s random and that it commonly turns up at small and medium-sized businesses in Florida.

Now, you know one thing necessary to make $20,000 per week. Proceed with caution.

For more information about how to protect your company, contact Beacon Insurance Partners, Inc. in Tampa, Florida.

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