Experiencing a data breach can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be the reason why your business goes under. The key is to move swiftly to do these five things as soon as you realize your operation has experienced a data breach.
Secure Your Systems as Quickly as Possible
The very first thing you need to focus on is securing your systems as quickly as possible. That includes doing things like changing passwords and revoking access to any compromised accounts to prevent further unauthorized access.
Things can get more complicated if software needs to be patched or other programs have to be updated or modified. Asking your team can make it easier. Whether that’s talking to team leaders or speaking with an IT coordinator, having other knowledgeable people around you can be very helpful.
If you don’t have one already, you should form a recovery team with key members. Insights on forming a robust disaster recovery team include adding members like:
- Disaster recovery team leader
- IT deputy team leader
- Crisis communications coordinator
- IT coordinator
- Business continuity expert
- Operations coordinator
- Impact assessment and recovery representative
- IT applications expert
Uncover the Extent of the Data Breach
While you’re securing your systems or immediately after, you should determine the extent of the data breach. Start by determining what kind of breach occurred.
Common causes of data breaches include:
- Weak or stolen credentials
- Application vulnerabilities
- Social engineering
- Insider threats
Not only do you have to identify the source of the breach, but you should also identify exactly what type of data was stolen and how much of it was stolen. In some cases, you may also be able to identify the person responsible. When you know the extent of the data breach and have collected evidence, you may be able to report that person or notify the authorities.
You will want to restore operations as quickly as possible, but that doesn’t mean it should be the first thing on your to-do list. Tackle this step while tackling the first two or immediately after. That way you aren’t restoring normal day-to-day operations only to experience a data breach all over again.
Restoring your operations includes minimizing the disruption by getting back to work as usual, but it should be part of a larger response plan.
For example, you might want to isolate infected systems so you’re only using systems that haven’t been compromised. The process might include restoring backups and looking for ways to enhance cybersecurity protocols so it doesn’t happen again.
The more thorough you can be when getting back to work, the more safely you can operate without the fear of experiencing another breach.
Notify Important Parties
Although it may be tempting to do the work to recover from a breach and move on without telling a soul, it’s much more important to be transparent. That means notifying customers, vendors, partners, and anyone else whose information may have been compromised.
Being open and honest allows you to maintain a level of trust with those you work with, even if they are frustrated about what happened. You can lessen the frustration by sharing the steps you’re taking to mitigate the damage, as well as what you plan to do in the future to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
By sharing the right information with the right people and displaying confidence that you have it under control, you can ensure your business doesn’t take a hit because of a data breach.
Provide Support to Those Affected By the Breach
Good businesses notify important parties. Great businesses provide support to those affected by the breach. By supporting those who were affected, you can rebuild trust and potentially come out on the other side even stronger and more successful than you were before.
For example, you might foot the bill for credit monitoring services for employees or customers whose information was compromised. Identity theft protection may also be offered as a way to provide support to those who were affected.
At the very least, you should consider creating a hotline or website that provides the most up-to-date information with options for additional support so the affected parties can get the help they need when they need it.
Cybercrime is on the rise, which means you aren’t alone if you experience a data breach. What matters is how you respond. With the tips on this list, not only can you get back up and running safely, but you can build trust and enhance your business in the process.