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Crucial steps you should take after a cyberattack

When subjected to a cyberattack, every minute counts. Your actions should be taken quickly, decisively, and immediately to minimize the damage.

Image: Unsplash

There are very few things in the world of business that could be as frightening as getting subjected to a cyberattack. Not only have you lost invaluable data, but you’re also uncertain about the extent of the damage. Worse kinds of cyber attackers will demand ransom payments, threatening that they’ll inflict great damage upon you otherwise.

In such unfortunate situations, your actions need to be taken swiftly and effectively. Each passing minute places a greater risk on your business and all of its operations.

To do your best in minimizing your damages, here are the steps you need to take after a cyberattack:

Limit the breach

Your first focus should be to minimize the damage, which is done by limiting the breach. You might be tempted to delete all the information and data you have to minimize your losses, but you should refrain from doing so. If you do that, you’ll lose your chance to understand how it happened and how to prevent similar attacks from happening in the future.

To limit your breach, you should do the following:

  • Use back-up servers

If you have backup servers that were unscathed in the attack, then you need to switch to them right away. This will provide you with an alternative to keep your work going as it should be while you investigate the breach and how it happened.

  • Isolate the breach

Whether or not you have back-up servers, you should move quickly to isolate the breach. This requires pinpointing the source of the breach. Once you find the source, you’ll need to act quickly to isolate it from the rest of your systems before they’re infected as well. However, isolating the source isn’t enough, you’ll need to test portions of the remaining systems to make sure they’re not infected.

Seek professional help

online shopping and hackers
Image: Unsplash

To make sure you’re heading in the right direction and taking comprehensive actions, you’ll need the help of all the professionals you could get. For starters, the most urgent help you’ll need will be from IT professionals who will help you contain the damage, investigate the breach, and take adequate measures to prevent its recurrence.

You’ll also need to include HR professionals in case any of your employees were involved or affected by the breach. There are also some legal complications that could arise from such a breach, especially if sensitive information has been leaked in the process. To protect yourself legally, you’ll need to seek legal counsel as well.

Investigate how it happened

Once the breach is contained, your next big step is to investigate everything about it. The breach might have affected other companies as well. In that case, you should reach out to them and keep everyone updated about your findings.

Whether the breach is widespread or has only been directed at you, your investigation should answer the following questions:

  • Who has access to the systems which have been infected?
  • What were the active networks during the incident?
  • What initiated the attack? For instance, did it happen right after an employee opened a suspicious email? Was it from opening an untrusted website?

To help with your investigation, you’ll need to go through security logs recorded on your firewall, email providers, antivirus, or other security software. If need be, hiring a cyber-security investigator can provide you with the answers you’re looking for.

Document everything

Make sure that the investigation team keeps everything they do well-documented. Ask them to prepare a detailed report of their investigation steps, their findings, and the actions they’ve taken to contain and solve the issue. This document will help you in understanding the issue and creating a security protocol to secure your business from other threats.

Notify stakeholders


Depending on the extent of the attack, you might discover that the attack has affected many of your stakeholders as well. In such a case, you’ll need to be the one to inform them about the attack and its implications before it’s too late; this will give them the opportunity to act quickly and minimize any damages they can.

In this process, you’ll need to notify the following:

  • Your managers, team members, and employees. You’ll need to make sure that all of you are on the same page, defining clear authorizations when it comes to discussing the breach whether externally or internally.
  • Your carrier in case you have cyber liability insurance. In that case, they’ll help you recover from the attack.
  • Your customers and clients. This is crucial for maintaining a transparent relationship with them.

Protect yourself from future attacks

If you’ve been subjected to a cyberattack, then you’ve learned your lesson in a very hard way. You can’t risk going through the same trouble again, which is why you need to upgrade your security. First off, you’ll need to invest in a strong antivirus in case you don’t have any.

You might feel overwhelmed by the options when you start comparing different antivirus programs, but going through an in-depth write-up about McAfee and Norton will help you understand the best options on the market, easing your confusion. Both programs offer a wide range of features and anti-malware protection. Each has its own impact on system speed, price, interface, scale of popularity, and customer ratings.

There are a few more steps to take to recover from your loss and stay protected against future attack, which is as follows:

  • Regularly upgrade your software and equipment to the latest updates.
  • Backup your data.
  • Secure passwords by creating strong, complex, and two-factor authentication passwords.
  • Implement a security protocol to avoid breaches, and make sure to train all of your employees accordingly.

When subjected to a cyberattack, every minute counts. Your actions should be taken quickly, decisively, and immediately to minimize the damage. As soon as the attack happens, your main priority should be to limit the effect of the breach, which can be done by switching to your back-up servers and isolating the breach from other systems.

It’s more likely that you’ll need to create a response team of IT professionals, HR managers, and legal experts to advise you on your next steps. Open an investigation that identifies the source of the breach and document everything in the process. Finally, make sure to take adequate measures to protect yourself from future attacks.

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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