Data Breach Response: What to Do After a Breach Is Detected
X Things to Do After a Data Breach.
22:39 14 April 2023
There are many strategies that can help you prevent potential data breaches, reducing your chances of being the victim of a cyberattack. With proper monitoring, you can also identify a data breach as it unfolds.
But what do you do after you detect that breach? How can you mitigate your losses and begin the recovery process?
Proactive Preparation: Preventing a Data Breach
First, we have to stress the importance of practicing active preparation and prevention when it comes to data breaches. Hiring managed IT services in Long Island is one option for this; your managed IT service provider can help you identify the weak points of your existing security strategy, devise a data breach response plan, and begin monitoring your systems for suspicious activity. If you choose not to hire an external IT partner, you'll need to build an internal team of your own.
Either way, you need to focus on the following priorities:
- Create a data security strategy (including a response plan). Every business should have some kind of data security strategy in place, including a response plan. In other words, what steps are you taking to prevent possible cybersecurity threats, and what are you going to do if you encounter one?
- Back up your most important information. Data backups are crucial. If you suffer a data breach, or if your systems are seized with ransomware, you'll have a reliable and independent resource that can help you get back to normal.
- Practice ongoing monitoring. The faster you respond to a data breach, the better. Responding swiftly gives you an opportunity to mitigate your losses, as well as a chance to reinforce your defenses in case there’s a similar attack in the future.
What to Do After a Breach Is Detected
Let’s say you’re practicing ongoing monitoring and you notice a data breach in progress. What should you do?
- Stop data loss. Your most important priority is stopping data loss. With the breach unfolding, you'll be losing data with each passing moment, so it's vital to stop the bleeding. Depending on the nature of the attack and your IT infrastructure, that could mean taking your servers offline, segmenting access to your data, or any number of other solutions.
- Secure your systems. It's also important to secure your systems as quickly as possible, which could also mean securing the physical locations of your servers and data centers.
- Dispatch a data forensics team. If you're going to recover from a data breach fully, you need to understand why, where, and when it happened. Accordingly, it's important to dispatch a data forensics team to investigate the issue. These experienced professionals should be able to pinpoint the origins of the breach and help you understand how to prevent similar breaches in the future.
- Preserve and gather evidence. Work to preserve and gather evidence related to the data breach. You may be required to present it in a legal capacity; otherwise, it may help you better understand the nature of this data breach and the weaknesses of your current cybersecurity strategy.
- Conduct interviews. Next, start conducting interviews with the members of your team. Talk to anyone even remotely connected to the data breach and get their perspective on what was happening leading up to the moment of penetration.
- Analyze the root causes. Data breaches are most commonly linked to human error, but there are many potential other root causes. Before you can move forward, you'll need to understand the root causes of this specific breach. Was this a byproduct of poor cybersecurity standards? Or did one of your staff members fail to comply with one of your guidelines? Whatever the situation is, you'll need to prepare to take action.
- Address potential issues. Once you figure out how this breach happened, you can start addressing the issues that led to it. Can you issue a security patch that eliminates this vulnerability? Do you need to provide more thorough training to your employees?
- Notify the appropriate parties. You may have legal obligations to notify various organizations and individuals about the data breach. Review your responsibilities and comply with them.
- Communicate with the public. You may also want to proactively communicate with the public to preserve your reputation and assist your shareholders and customers. What happened, why did it happen, what are you doing about it, and what can the public do about it?
No business wants to deal with a data breach, but unfortunately, you may not have an option. If your best proactive defenses and security measures fail, you'll need to have a plan in place for how to stop data loss and respond to a breach appropriately. If you don't have many experienced IT professionals in house to call upon for improving your cybersecurity defenses, consider hiring a managed IT service provider who can help you do it.