What To Do After A Data Breach?
All organizations face the risk of a data breach because of a cyberattack or another type of security incident. Recovering from such an incident could be complicated, no matter how big or small your company is, especially if sensitive data is exposed.
How To Respond To A Data Breach?
If your business is the victim of a data breach and you are wondering how to react efficiently, consider the following steps to help minimize the impact.
Contain The Security Breach
Some people might be tempted to delete as many files as possible after a data breach occurs, but preserving evidence is crucial to assess how the breach occurred to prevent it from happening again.
Firstly, try to determine which servers, applications, and/or devices have been compromised and contain them as quickly as possible to ensure that the attack does not spread and damage more assets.
To stop an attack from spreading within your network, you should disconnect the affected servers and take your network offline as quickly as possible.
Change the credentials for all your critical accounts and servers.
If your IT staff is not specialized in digital forensics you may want to hire a specialist to conduct the investigation.
Assess the Security Breach
You need to determine the root cause of the breach within your system to help prevent the same kind of attack from happening again.
If you have discovered that you are a victim of a broader attack that targeted multiple organizations, follow updates from authorities charged with monitoring the situation and report accordingly.
You need to identify who has access to the servers that were compromised, which network connections were active when the breach occurred and how was the attack initiated.
You may be able to pinpoint how the attack vector penetrated your system by checking your firewall logs, your antivirus program, the email service, or your Intrusion Detection System.
You also need to find out who may have been affected by the breach, including employees, customers, and third-party vendors.
Assess how severe the data breach was by identifying what information was targeted, such as mailing addresses, specific accounts, credit/debit card numbers, etc.
Data Breach Notification Plan
Communicate with your staff and let them know what happened. Define clear authorizations for team members to report on the issue both internally and externally. Remaining on the same page with your team is paramount while your business is recovering from a security incident.
You may need to consult with your legal team to figure out the best way to avoid a legal hassle.
If you don’t have a cybersecurity plan in place or an IT security team to handle such situations, StratusPointIT professionals can help you defend against and recover from IT security incidents.
Notify your cyber insurance provider.
When a cyber event occurs, your insurance company may have experts who will walk you through the proper response steps. Contact your insurer as quickly as possible to limit the consequences of such an attack and for planning the next steps.
Notify your customers.
Communication is key to maintaining a positive, professional relationship with your customers. Provide them with means to specifically ask questions related to the breach.
Your employees should be aware of your organization’s policies regarding data breaches. Also, consider restricting your employees’ access to sensitive data based on their job roles and regularly train them about how to prepare for a data breach and how to avoid one.
The FBI has provided additional tips that can help businesses protect themselves against cyber incidents.
Never download attachments or click links within emails received from senders you do not recognize.
Do not provide usernames, passwords, social security numbers, financial data, or other personal information in response to an email or phone call.
Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
Your organization must evaluate the technologies in place and invest in more up-to-date solutions to ensure best protection.
Make sure you review and update information security policies, business continuity plans, and data breach response plans.
Also, conduct frequent security checks to help reduce the likelihood of a similar incident occurring again in the future and educate your staff about data breach protocols.
A data breach can be undoubtedly stressful, but if you take the necessary steps, it can make your business better prepared next time a similar incident occurs.