Businesses currently face an unprecedented level of threat from data breaches, with more means of undermining their security out there than ever before. Making the situation worse, all it takes is one to bring significant impacts to your business, from financial and reputational loss, not to mention all the potential legal issues that come into play. Let’s review what you need to do should you ever be on the receiving end of a breach.
In order to respond to a data breach, you first need to be aware of it. Once you know one is happening, you then need to contain it. Fortunately, there are places you can and should turn to for help—IT experts, legal counsel, and public relations professionals. With this team supporting you, you need to collect more information about your data breach, get a clear picture of its scope, and do everything you can to lock your network back down and contain the issue.
Once you have a handle on the issue, you need to go over every aspect of your environment that has been affected to ensure that no further damage can be caused. Take any affected systems or hardware off the network, change your passwords, and improve your security. Check that all of your software has been sufficiently updated and patched to minimize the vulnerabilities that could allow in further threats.
Once you’ve addressed these needs, you need to take the time and comb through your network to judge the real scope of the event. What kinds of data were compromised in the process? How many people or entities have data that was impacted? What could this breach ultimately lead to? Determining these answers will give you the information you need in order to proceed.
As uncomfortable or seemingly self-sabotaging as it may seem, a business that has experienced a data breach is ethically beholden to informing those businesses or individuals whose data may have been involved. This notification should be straightforward and to the point, giving its recipients the pertinent details—what kind of data was exposed, and what should be done by those influenced by the breach as a means of protection. It is also important that you seek out professional legal advice to ensure you remain compliant with the assorted breach notification laws and regulations currently on the books.
Throughout your data breach experience, it is also important that anyone with interests in your company is up to speed where your process is concerned, from your employees, your customers, business partners, and other stakeholders in the success of your business. Not only do you need to be upfront about your situation and what you are doing to address what is going on, you also need to be open about how you plan to prevent such issues moving forward. Doing so will allow you to rebuild some of the trust that your breach will have damaged, as well as perform some damage control where your reputation is concerned.
Data breaches are a significant issue for any business to contend with, but should one befall your business, these best practices can help you respond more effectively. However, this is not to say that you have to wait around for a breach. There are various cybersecurity tools and policies that your business can and should implement, and we’re here to help! Give us a call at (847) 697-3282 to learn more.