Even with a robust security system in place, your business could still be subject to a data breach. Although rare if you have taken the correct precautions, it’s certainly not something to become blasé about since it can certainly still happen, especially if a cybercriminal is particularly interested in your business; they will take all the time and effort they need to in order to get into your network and steal the data they want.
If something as potentially devastating as a data breach were to happen within your business, would you know what to do next? The truth is that most business owners would not, and this not knowing can be just as damaging as the breach in the first place. So that you can be prepared should the worst happen and a cybercriminal finds their way into your systems, it’s a good idea to know what steps you should take next. Read on to find out.
Identify The Source Of The Breach
The very first thing you must do if you have experienced a data breach within your business is to take a moment, take a deep breath, and think. It’s no use panicking; the damage has been done and you need to be calm and measured in your response. Rushing into anything and becoming stressed will help no one, and could make things worse.
Once you are focused, you need to determine the source of the breach, and how far it has spread – you need to know what damage it has done. In most cases, unless you have an IT team in-house or you are an expert in computer systems, it will be best to hire a third party to give you think information. Although this might cost you in terms of their fee, it will be a quicker process than if you tried to do it yourself, and that could make a big difference in how much damage the breach can cause.
Address The Breach
Once you know how the breach occurred and the extent of the issues it has caused, you need to address the breach and essentially ‘plug the hole’ to prevent any more data from being taken, and to stop other opportunists from finding their way in. Again, this is a specialist job and it will depend on the size of your business and the teams you have working for you whether this can be done in-house or not.
Although the details of exactly what needs to be done to address the breach will depend on the breach itself, something that is generally acknowledged to be a good start is to make a copy of the servers that have been affected. This won’t help you to restore the data, but may well be of use further down the line should any legal issues emerge.
Password changes throughout the company must also be at the top of your to-do list. Whether you know exactly which employee’s account was compromised or not, changing the passwords for everyone is a quick and simple way to block any additional breaches.
Let People Know
Something that you will have to do, even if it is unpleasant – which it will be – is to let your customers know of the breach. This is a legal requirement, since they may need to check their bank accounts or change various passwords due to the issue. The best way to do this is to send out a mass email (ensuring you hide all email addresses so that you don’t make the situation worse) explaining what has happened, how it might affect them, what you are doing about it, and what they should do.
Be aware that you may lose customers because of this. They might not be comfortable with using your services in the future due to the breach. However, even though this is a risk, you must still let everyone know.
You must also tell the authorities. You may receive additional information on how to handle the data breach if you are put in touch with a specialist department (again, depending on the severity of the breach itself and how many people have been affected), but even if this is not the case, letting them know means that they can potentially connect your breach with others, and even track down the cybercriminal.
Finally, once the breach has been fixed and everyone who needs to know is aware of the situation, you will have to look at making the right changes within your business to ensure that such an issue does not occur again.
The quicker you can put these new processes in place, the less damage will be done, and that includes improving confidence in your customers. Additional security measures are going to be essential, and it’s worth checking out reviews of different digital identity solutions to see what is going to work best in your business.
You should also implement a system of monitoring so that, should another breach occur, it can be spotted more easily and dealt with more quickly.