You’re somehow lucky if you just learned that your business experienced a data breach, as most of the time, it goes unnoticed for months or even years.
Whether a cybercriminal sneaked into your network and exploited consumer information or exposed your business’s sensitive information, you would certainly be thinking about what to do next.
What initial steps should you take to minimize the loss and whom should you contact if the crucial business information is leaked are some of the apparent questions that start spinning in your mind.
However, the answers to these questions may vary from business to business and the type of breach, but certain immediate actions are recommended in every scenario that we’ll discuss in this post.
Let’s have a quick look at some efficient ways to handle a breach and ensure minimum loss in terms of financial losses and brand reputation.
What is a Data Breach?
Before we understand how to handle a data breach, let’s first quickly realize what actually is a data breach.
A data breach is an incident where a business or individual compromises private and sensitive information to cybercriminals. These incidents expose personal information or corporate secrets, including consumer information, that are further exploited for diverse reasons.
Why Do Data Breaches Happen?
Most organizations that aren’t following stringent security measures may face a data breach at some point with more possibilities that they’ll be pretty costly for the enterprise.
It’s essential for organizations to get adequate security mechanisms in place to ensure their business’s sensitive data and consumer information remains secure.
A good read: Cybersecurity Best Practices for Businesses in 2021
Moreover, the lack of cyber-awareness among employees is another big contributing factor for the increasing number of cyberattacks. These numbers can be quickly decreased by minimizing human error through regular employee training sessions.
Since we’ve learned enough about a data breach, now let’s dig deeper into the aspects that we must consider after a data breach:
1. Secure Your Systems
Once a breach is detected, the initial step is to contain the breach and secure your systems ASAP.
Since the only thing worse than a data breach is multiple data breaches, you must secure your entire network to minimize the risk.
Depending on the nature of the attack, you must begin with system isolation that can prevent the breach further to affect other systems or individuals on that particular network.
Moreover, it’s critical that you disconnect breached accounts and, if possible, shut down the targeted departments until you can analyze the situation and take stringent measures to avoid further damage.
Also, having a robust security infrastructure with multiple layers of security can quickly help you locate the attack, which can be isolated efficiently.
Once you’re done with isolation, reformatting the affected areas and performing a restore is recommended once you blacklist the IP address that the attacker used to perform the breach.
2. Assess the Overall Damage
Once you’ve taken the immediate steps to minimize the loss, you must put your best foot forward to investigate the same and assess the damage caused by the breach.
It’s essential to understand the root cause of the attack, which would undoubtedly help minimize the chances of another similar attack in the future.
Moreover, it’s equally vital for you to investigate the network and the affected systems to mitigate the risk from any malware that still resides in the system.
Depending on the type of breach and your company’s size, it would be good to hire a forensic investigator that helps in finding the source of the breach.
3. Notify the Victims
Another crucial thing that you should do is notify the employees or even clients regarding the recent breach and ensure everyone else is notified.
While investigating the data breach, organizations are able to discover all those who were affected and those that could be.
Moreover, if there are third-party organizations that you think would be affected, make sure that you inform them as well, along with detailed information about the breach through an email or a phone call.
You must cite the exact time and date of the breach and ensure that you mention what was compromised and what next steps you’re about to take.
But many of you would wonder why we need to mention a breach if it isn’t causing severe damage or hardly affecting any of our employees/clients.
Organizations must take adequate measures to maintain integrity and reputation since a data breach isn’t something that one can hide for an extended period.
4. Investigate- How did it Happen?
Once you’re done with the steps mentioned above, it’s important to investigate the actual cause of the breach.
Start with auditing your system and device accesses and if you suspect the breach was a result of a human error, take adequate measures to minimize the same by organizing regular training sessions for employees.
Also, make sure that you evaluate the current technologies that your organization is leveraging to ensure you invest more in cutting-edge technology software systems for maximum protection.
Also, adding strong authentication and authorization layers to your overall security mechanism could be quite helpful in minimizing the chances of a breach.
5. Be Prepared for any other Similar Instance
After taking all the necessary steps after a breach, you must prepare your organization well for future security threats.
Since the possibility of another attack is relatively high once you’re already attacked, not preparing your business could surely leave your organization in dire straits.
Moreover, it’s strongly recommended to prepare a recovery plan and get new privacy policies to avoid any breaches in the future.
Investing in employee training is yet another great way to prepare for future attacks that can result from human error.
The increasing number of data breaches depicts the need for a robust authentication and security mechanism for organizations handling crucial information of consumers.
The aspects mentioned above can be quite helpful in managing the overall situation when a business witnesses a data breach.
It’s recommended that enterprises should consider stringent security measures to avoid any chance of sneaking into the company’s network.