Did you know that the average cost of a data breach is $4.24 million? Moreover, as companies grow increasingly dependent on remote employees with COVID-19, cybercriminals have more opportunities than ever to hack computer systems.
Even if you have a strong cybersecurity plan in place, data breaches still happen. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are growing more cunning and sophisticated each year – compromising areas of your facility or network once considered to be secure.
If a data breach occurs at your business, there are specific steps you should take to resume operations.
Steps to Reinstating Data After a Breach
Step 1: Take a Full Inventory of the Breach
Once you have realized a breach has taken place, do a full audit of the incident to uncover as many details as possible. Oftentimes, data breaches take place in areas where you might never expect them.
With such a heavy reliance on technology in today’s business world, cybercriminals have near endless opportunities for hacking computer systems. Not only do businesses store sensitive data on their endpoints, servers and applications/ק, but they also use software to control their physical property with access control systems and HVAC networks.
Step 2: Stop the Data Leak
Once your system audit has discovered exactly where the data breach occurred, you must take action to stop the bleeding. Luckily there are specific steps you can take to stop the leak:
- Change all administrator passwords in the system.
- Log all employees out of the network and direct them to create new login credentials.
- Monitor databases and sensitive info to ensure the attackers no longer have access.
- Moving forward, keep a close eye on access control and anomalous activity.
If you realize that the data breach occurred more than 2 weeks prior to its discovery, be prepared for a major system overhaul. Unfortunately, the more time that data is compromised, the longer the cleanup effort.
Step 3: Figure Out What Was Compromised
Once you have stopped the data leak and secured your system, it’s time to figure out exactly what information was compromised.
Important questions to ask in assessing the damage include:
- Did the breach expose your business’s data? If so, what type of data was exposed?
- Did the leak compromise your customer’s data? If so, what type of data was leaked?
- What is the potential business impact of the breach?
- Do you know which data sources were hacked?
- Do you know which data sources are secure?
If you were proactive in developing a cybersecurity plan, you should have had intrusion detection and prevention systems, as well as Data Leakage Prevention (DLP) systems in place. If so, these systems have recorded exactly what data was compromised.
Step 4: Conduct Damage Control
Conducting damage control after a data breach involves informing the authorities as well as customers about the nature of the incident.
Start by researching the compliance protocols for data breaches in your particular industry. With this info in hand, you should communicate with the appropriate law enforcement and regulatory agencies.
Depending on the situation, you might have to inform your customers about the details of the data breach. If this is the case, provide your customers with as much detail as possible to lessen potential blowback. Important information to convey includes date of the incident, nature of the breach, and compromised information.
If the breach jeopardized another party’s data, prepare your legal team for a potential lawsuit.
Step 5: Reinstate Data and Resume Operations
The final phase is to reinstate data and get your operation up and running again.
At Sanity Solutions, we recommend implementing a cyber recovery system as part of your overall cyber security plan. Importantly, cyber recovery systems duplicate and securely store important data to be reused in the event of a breach. As such, cyber recovery systems allow you to keep your business running in the event of an incident.
Once you are operational again, put stricter limits on access control and keep a close eye on employee activity moving forward.
Conclusion: Offense is the Best Defense
All things considered, being prepared for a data breach is the best way to protect your business. This includes having a functional cyber security plan in place at all times.
Sanity Solutions also recommends the following services:
- Utilize our 3-2-1-1-0 Data Protection Strategy to keep your data securely backed up.
- Engage a Sanity Solutions vCISO (Virtual Chief Information Security Officer) to consult your cyber security on an ongoing basis.
- Conduct regular security gap analyses to check for weaknesses in your cyber security system.
Contact Sanity Solutions for Cybersecurity Support
Sanity Solutions is more than an IT and data management partner, we are also your trusted advisor on cybersecurity issues. Please contact Sanity Solutions to discuss data breach prevention in more detail.