No business leader wants to experience a data breach, and being adequately prepared is the only way to prevent it. Whether a data breach happens at the hands of a third party, such as a web hosting company, or due to an insider threat, it’s imperative that you have a robust backup and disaster recovery plan to protect you when things go wrong.
The good news is that if you have a comprehensive and up-to-date plan, there are steps you can take to mitigate the damaging after-effects of a breach. A solid business continuity plan with all the necessary response protocols will help you get back on your feet and minimize the long-term consequences. But if your plan is outdated or, worse still, non-existent, you might be in trouble.
Here’s a broad overview of how you should respond to a data breach:
Isolate all compromised systems
A lot of data breaches occur due to malicious software, which is typically designed to spread across networks and compromise multiple devices. For example, ransomware spreads to different computers on the network to command greater ransoms. But even breaches that don’t involve malware can spread; if a hacker gains access to one device, they might be able to find a way to access an entire network.
The first step you need to take right after a potential data breach is to isolate systems that may have been compromised. This will prevent the further spread of malware and block off unauthorized access to additional company resources. So if a computer in your business reports a malware infection, it should immediately be disconnected from the internet and the corporate network to prevent further damage.
Find out what was stolen
Not all cyberattacks involve data breaches, but theft of digital assets is still among cybercriminals' most common motivations. Often, business leaders first learn about data breaches when their sensitive information ends up on the dark web market, which is why it’s always a good idea to monitor them. However, the situation might be much worse — perhaps a lot more data was compromised than previously assumed.
After isolating any compromised systems, find out which data, if any, was stolen in the attack before alerting the relevant parties. For example, if your payment card details were stolen, you’ll want to alert your bank. If customer login details were stolen, inform them right away, so they can immediately update their passwords. Bigger data breaches may also require you to alert the authorities and a local media outlet.
Prepare for more
One of the worst things about data breaches is that victims often don’t find out about them until months after they’ve happened, typically long after the damage has been done. If you think your data has been compromised, you’ll need to be on high alert for some time. Hackers aren’t likely to stop at a single attack, and will likely use your stolen assets to carry out further attacks against you and your customers.
In social engineering attacks, scammers might purport to offer information about the breach or perhaps even some compensation, but they actually intend to steal more valuable details or encourage victims to send payments to fraudulent accounts. Once sensitive information has been stolen from your company, it could very well be used to launch further attacks, hence the need to keep your employees on high alert with ongoing training and support.
Netcom Solutions brings 13 years of expertise to businesses in Miramar, Coral Gables, Miami, and surrounding areas to provide managed services and IT guidance that drive business growth. Call us today to schedule your first consultation.
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