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How to deal with a data breach at your company

A data breach is significantly growing in numbers and severity. Therefore, both small and large organizations should take the necessary mitigation and recovery steps.

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Even after installing all defensive measures to mitigate data breaches, you cannot be completely free from cyberattacks. The surge in reliance on modern technology, increased adoption of remote work, online shopping preference, and other factors have exposed personal and business data to great vulnerabilities. Therefore, with the increasing risks of data breaches, organizations should not only work on mitigating but also develop a plan to deal with such occurrences.

What is Data Breach?

A data breach is a cybersecurity term that describes unauthorized access to private or sensitive information by malicious individuals. Here, cybercriminals infiltrate or compromise a network and obtain sensitive data by copying, sharing, or deleting important files. This can expose personal and financial details, such as credit card numbers, passwords, software codes, and other details.

Common forms of data breaches include:

  • Cyberattacks – This is a popular form of a data breach and most difficult to prevent. With cyberattacks, hackers and malicious actors attack your network through phishing campaigns, social engineering, skimming, or malware attacks.
  • Employee data theft – Close to cyberattacks is employee data theft. Employees might steal valuable company data for various reasons. The healthcare sector specifically struggles with employee data theft, especially as perpetrators stealing patient identities. Other employees steal company data for financial reasons.
  • Human error – Human error is another common form of a data breach, accounting for 90 percent of data breaches. As systems continually become complicated, the potential for human error also increases.
  • Loss of property – Another common type of data breach is losing properties with sensitive information. This doesn’t fall under human error as it results from avoidable carelessness. 

Tips for Recovering After Data Breach

As mentioned, data breaches threaten all organizations, regardless of the security policies and defenses in place. The resulting effects of a data breach are detrimental, with reports indicating that 60% of small businesses shut down six months after a breach. While it is important to protect and prevent your business from a data breach, finding a recovery plan following a breach is important. Below are the steps to guide you when recovering from a breach.

  1. Contain the Breach

You should find ways of containing the breach immediately. Stopping the bridge is highly dependent on the nature of the attack and the business systems that were affected. Nonetheless, begin by isolating the affected systems to prevent them from spreading to your entire network. This includes disconnecting any breached accounts and shutting down targeted departments.

This reiterates the importance of installing complex cybersecurity infrastructure with multiple layers. Such systems make it easy to locate and isolate the affected parts. Once contained, you should then work on eliminating the threat. Similarly, this depends on the type of attack. You can achieve this by formatting, restoring the affected systems, or blacklist the attack source IP.

  1. Assess Degree of Damage

Having contained and eliminated the attack, you should then investigate the extent of the damage. Identifying how the attack occurred is important to prevent future attacks using the same tactics. You should also thoroughly assess the affected systems to uncover any malware left by the hacker. During the assessment, identify the attack vector, social engineering methods used, and sensitivity of breached data.

  1. Inform the Affected

By investigating the data breach, you can identify those affected by the data breach in the organization. You should notify the relevant authorities, individuals, and third-party organizations affected. Ensure that you craft the data breach notification letter openly and sincerely. Inform both internal and external affected persons about the type of data breach that occurred, records affected, possible losses incurred, plans for mitigating the damage, and how you intend to prevent a recurrence.

  1. Conduct a Security Audit

A security audit is important to assess the status of your security systems and prepare for future recovery plans. With or without a data breach, regular security audits are important. For this specific situation, a DNS audit can help secure your network infrastructure. Examine your IP blocks, open ports, system and network servers, and other essential security systems.

  1. Improve Your Cybersecurity Systems

Following recovery, you should update your security by adopting various prevention measures. The best chance of preventing future data breaches is by following appropriate security protocols. Among them include;

  • Using data encryption – if you handle highly sensitive data, encryption is a good preventive measure.
  • Multi-factor authentication – MFA is the best way to prevent your organization from external attacks. It provides an additional layer above the regular passwords.
  • Training employees – employees significantly contribute to data breaches. Therefore, training them provides the first line of defense against these attacks.

Are You Ready for Data Breach?

A data breach is significantly growing in numbers and severity. Therefore, both small and large organizations should take the necessary mitigation and recovery steps. Adopting a transparent security culture can help organizations overcome detrimental data breaches. Prepare for the worst, investigate the breach, and communicate with stakeholders to minimize the effects of the breach. Most importantly, work with HKM employment lawyers for expert advice following a data breach.

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