By 2025, the cost of cyber breaches is expected to be $10.5 trillion annually. What’s more, this figure is expected to grow immensely beyond 2025. That’s because many organizations are developing digital infrastructure, thus creating more surfaces for corporate attacks.
Think about this for a moment. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we started living more of our lives in the digital realm. Students shifted to learning online, and office workers transitioned to remote work.
Even as we go back to our normal routines, we’re spending more time online than ever before. As a result, businesses are expanding their offerings to digital platforms. Doing so allows these businesses to reach today’s customers more easily. Unfortunately, venturing into digital platforms also exposes businesses to more cyber attacks. After all, hackers thrive online.
In the US for instance, cyber attacks in the third quarter of 2021 were more than those of the previous year. When an organization falls victim to a cyber attack, it takes them almost a year to contain the impact.
Let’s talk about the 10 things you should do after a data breach
That being said, what should you do when your company or organization suffers a data breach? Well, here are the 10 steps you can take after a data breach. They will help you contain the impact and prevent further damage.
1. Remain Calm
A data breach can evoke stress and panic in your organization, with valid reason. It’s even more stressful if the breach is a result of ransomware. Even so, you should remain calm, since knee-jerk reactions may cause further losses. While restoring normalcy in your business is important, it’s also important to approach any type of breach strategically. Take out your risk management plan and assess the impact of the data breach before taking any measures.
2. Consider your Response Plan
Every business needs to have a response plan for unexpected incidences. This way, when your business gets breached, you already have an existing plan to help you solve the issue. In the heat of the moment, it can be hard to think strategically. If you’ve developed a crisis plan beforehand, it’s much easier to contain the negative outcomes of a data breach. Whether you have a plan or not, it’s worth considering the advanced plans from the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). Alternatively, you can check out the UK-based advanced plan from NCSC.
3. Assess the Impact of the Breach
It’s important to understand the scope of the impact before taking any necessary measures. This step should guide you on the right steps to follow. You’ll also need to determine how the hackers breached your system. What part of the system is compromised? It’s even more important to establish whether the hackers are still in the system or if they have left. At this point, you may need help from forensic experts. Click here for St Louis cyber security services.
4. Involve your Legal Team
After the breach, you should get in touch with your legal team immediately. They will help you establish the extent of legal liabilities your organization is susceptible to. If you have been attacked by ransomware, they will advise you on whether you should proceed with a negotiation. Keep in mind that before this team advises you on what to do, they will need the forensic report.
5. Notify the Local Regulator
According to GDPR terms, you must notify the regulator within three days of the breach. Before you do this, though, you should read through the requirements. That’s because not all incidents demand reporting to the local regulator. However, this only applies if your company is based in the UK. At the moment, the US doesn’t have an equivalent of GDPR.
6. Report to the Law Enforcement
You will need to engage law enforcement and get them to support you. This is important regardless of the outcome you get from notifying the local data regulator. If the threat is still ongoing, you may need additional help from law enforcement. This is especially true if you’re a victim of ransomware that demands payment. Law enforcement will help connect you with security experts who can provide mitigation tools and decryption solutions.
7. Inform Clients, Employees, and Partners
This is a no-brainer. Remember, trying to cover up this incident will only create more harm than good in your organization. After all, when these people catch wind that not only was their data compromised, but you also tried to cover it up, you will lose their trust irreversibly. Therefore, you must notify all your stakeholders about the data breach as soon as you can.
Before you make a public announcement, you must have complete details about the breach. You should know about its extent and impact on the system. Most importantly, the clients will want to know about the safety of their data. Make sure you have all these answers before organizing a press briefing. This way, rather than alarming people, you can reassure them that you’re working to contain the situation.
Even after you make the announcement, you must keep everyone updated with follow-up details. Remember, rumors can do more damage to your brand reputation than the malware will. To avoid leaving room for speculation, get your legal and PR team involved and craft a comprehensive response. You should also make sure you have answers to as many of the questions that people are likely to ask as possible.
8. Remediation and Recovery
Only take this initiative once you are certain the threat is no longer available. At this stage, the forensic report must indicate the system is free from the threat and that the system operations are back to normal. This is clear evidence that cyber attackers can no longer access any part of your business system.
Now you can begin remediation and recovery. This step includes restoring system backups, resetting passwords, and updating system security.
9. Developing Resilience for Future Breaches
Oftentimes, the hackers return to attack the same organization several times after attacking it. This is especially common with ransomware. As such, it’s important to leverage the information you gather with the help of forensic experts to bolster your security.
With this information, you can block the loophole the hackers might have used to breach your security. At this stage, you should also improve the strength of all your passwords and deploy MFA (multi-factor authentication). You can even organize security training programs to boost awareness in the company.
10. Treat the Experience like a Lesson
By learning what you can from this horrible experience, you can deploy better security measures in the future. You’ll have an idea of what you should do to ensure such an incident doesn’t occur again. To educate yourself even more, you can go through reports on data breaches affecting other companies in your industry.
With these pieces of information, your security team should be able to develop an impenetrable system. Even so, it’s important to reach out to cybersecurity experts. With their knowledge and experience in cybersecurity solutions, they can assist you to develop an impenetrable defense system.
After suffering a data breach, how you respond determines whether your clients will stick around or migrate to other organizations. How you respond to a data breach also affects the possibility of potential clients getting on board. Therefore, take into consideration all the above points to help your venture maintain its reputation. However, these steps alone may not enough to handle the impact.
This is why reaching out to cybersecurity experts is crucial. With their powerful cybersecurity solutions, they can help you mitigate the issue. Furthermore, they will help you reinforce your IT system to prevent further breaches.