You Can Survive a Security Breach
It is estimated that 60% of small businesses go out of business within six months of a data breach. However, it is possible to recover from a security breach and get back to business as usual, but you are going to have a strong plan in place on how to recover from the breach. You should also be taking all of the necessary steps to prevent it from happening.
Planning and Preparation
You should be prepared for a security breach in advance. By doing this, if a breach does happen, you can act quickly to identify and eliminate it. When it comes to planning and preparation for the “what if,” you need a disaster recovery plan. Having a disaster recovery plan isn’t just about having access to powering your server backup, there is more to it than that. You have to make sure that no important company or customer data is lost. That includes contracts, proposals, sales records, emails, and so on. The following steps will help you prepare:
- Inventory all of your hardware and software. Make a complete list of all of your technology assets, and then order them by priority. Which ones are most important to critical business functions? You should look at getting those online first during a disaster.
- Determine what your tolerance for downtime is. The downtime for a business that relies heavily on technology will likely have a much shorter maximum tolerable downtime than a company that isn’t as immersed in technology. It’s important to know this, because once you figure out what you can tolerate, then it will assist you in determining what type of solutions you need to put in place.
- Implement an intrusion detection system. An intrusion detection system will monitor your network and alert your IT department or IT partner if any issues, suspicious activity, or anomalies occur.
- Create an Incident Response Plan. This will ensure that the people at your organization know their responsibilities in the event of an attack, which helps speed up the response time. The faster you respond to an incident, the faster you can get yourself back online and run smoothly.
- Always back up your data and systems. Having a solid back-up solution in place is critical for recovery in the event of a disaster. Make sure you are backing up your company’s most important data in real-time, that way the loss is minimal.
- Test your plan regularly. Without testing your plan, it isn’t a plan, it’s only a theory. Testing your disaster recovery plan is the only way to ensure that if a disaster strikes, you’ll be ready.
First: Stop the Attack
You won’t be able to bounce back, restore your data, or get back to business as usual until you stop the attack. Stopping it begins with identifying where it is and which systems were breached. If a breach occurs, the faster you identify the source, the better off you will be. This is because it can take time for an attacker to get through your first layer of defense to the rest of your network. If you identify the source of the breach soon after it happens, you will be able to minimize the overall damage to your company.
After you have identified where the incident occurred, you have to contain it. Specifically how you contain the breach will vary for each situation, based on the type of attack it was, which systems were affected, and the resources needed for containment. For instance, if a desktop was infected, unplugging the machine from the network or shutting it down can stop the attacker. Or if a specific user account to one of your internal applications was compromised, revoke that user’s access can also be effective.
Having multi-layered security protocols will help you diminish the threat spreading to other areas of your network.
The next thing you need to do after you have contained the breach is to completely eradicate the cyber-threat. You want to prevent the attacker from doing any further harm to your system. Depending on the type of attack and which system was compromised, will determine how you eradicate it.
Investigate the Attack
Knowing what happened and how it happened is crucial to making sure that it never happens again. You have to act in a timely manner when investigating a breach. Review all of your logs, and monitor entry and exit points to your internal systems. What was the chain of events that lead to the attack in the first place? When you know the answer to that, you will know what you have to do to stop it from ever happening again.
Depending on how your company is structured, it may be time for you to look for outside help. If you have an internal IT department or don’t have a dedicated IT person or department, it may be time for you to look at hiring a managed service provider. This outside company will be able to fortify your network and cybersecurity defenses so that your business data is kept safe.
If your breach was due to human error or an employee mistake, you should consider further training to make sure you are fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness within your organization.
Look Out For Your Data
After you are affected by a cybersecurity breach, you should be doing constant sweeps of the Dark Web. After a hacker or cybercriminal has breached your system and stolen your business, employee, or customer data, the most likely place they would sell it is the Dark Web. Monitoring the seedy belly of the internet is a necessity if you need to keep an eye out for your information. Dark Web monitoring will alert you if your data is found for sale on any of the criminal marketplaces.
After a cybersecurity attack on your organization, and once you know which systems and data were compromised, it is important to inform those whose information may have been stolen. Whether it’s a customer, a vendor, or an employee, you have a responsibility to let them know the date of the breach, the type of attack it was, which files were compromised, and what type of information was stolen. You also should let them know what steps you took to recover their data and what you will be doing in the future to protect their data and prevent it from happening again.
- Make sure you deliver the right message in a timely manner. If you are aware of a breach and take weeks or months to tell the affected parties, you may face a backlash for not divulging the information regarding the attack sooner.
- Make sure you are simple and clear regarding what happened. Communication is essential.
- Still, be cautious. While you should be clear and transparent to the affected parties, you don’t have to tell them each little detail. Make it clear to the parties involved that it is an ongoing investigation, and there may be further discoveries as it evolves, and let them know you will provide updates as necessary.
Depending on where you live, there may even be notification laws regarding a cybersecurity breach. These laws may infer a time limit, a way of a notification, and how much information you are obligated to provide. It’s important that you familiarize yourself with any such laws in your state.
Remember, your reputation is just as much at risk as your data. Notifying the appropriate parties in a timely and honest manner will show your customers and employees that you take this matter seriously and will help reduce the backlash that may follow.
Restore Your Network
How you restore your systems after a data breach will greatly depend on how you prepared for that breach, which systems were affected, and what data was compromised. Sometimes, it may be as easy as replacing a drive or rolling back your systems a few hours and taking a loss on a minimal amount of data. This is something that should be addressed in our backup and disaster recovery plan. Your company should have fail-safes so that if your assets are down, you can keep your business going.
Reevaluate Your Cybersecurity
Once the dust begins to settle, you should take a good hard look at your organization’s cybersecurity measures. Are you, your employees, your IT department, and IT partners taking necessary precautions to prevent another security breach from happening? If not, you should really take a good look at where your weak spots are and what you need to do to strengthen your defenses. This may mean adding multi-factor identification or implementing a strong password policy. Whatever new measures you take, communicate them with your employees and vendors to ensure they are following procedures. This will help restore your customer’s trust.
Once you have been the victim of a security breach, it is likely the same hacker or group of cybercriminals may target you again. Preparing for this situation will help you plan for the future and speed up your response if you are the victim of another attack.
Are you looking for help with protecting your company’s network, preventing security breaches, or improving your overall cybersecurity? Custom Information Services has been in business since 1989 and can assist you in all of your cybersecurity needs. Contact Us Today!
Tags: Breach, Cybersecurity, Data