Cybersecurity is a crucial investment for any business, one that can make a difference between being easy prey for hackers and staying safer for longer. However, high-profile data breaches at tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Yahoo show that any company’s security can be compromised, no matter how much they invest in cyber protection. Given enough time, you’ll probably fall victim to a data disaster. It’s how you respond that makes all the difference.
Plan for the worst and hope for the best, as the saying goes. Prepare for a possible breach well before it ever happens by keeping your server backups current and planning what you will do after your network has been compromised. Follow these five action items post-hack to ensure a smooth recovery:
- Identify the entry point. Determining the root cause of the security breach should be your first priority. If it happened once, it can — and will — happen the same way again if preventive steps aren’t taken.
Fortify your firewalls, vanquish vulnerabilities, and do whatever it takes to lock down your network. You have a responsibility to your company and your customers to rebound and learn from any mistakes.
- Cauterize the wound. Determine how widespread the infection is and make a plan to combat it. Whether you have to clean one PC or 100, it’s time to eradicate all traces of malware from inside your four walls.
Remember that if you don’t sanitize every single infected area, you might as well not clean any of them. Viruses are pervasive — give one half a chance, and it’ll come back in full force.
- Remember that backups make it better. Use your backups to get your business back online. If you’ve been regularly and frequently backing up your servers, keeping copies updated for this exact occasion, then restoring full business functions will be a matter of hours instead of days.
- Educate your employees. Employees are still the root cause of most breaches. Though no one will ever be infallible, you can and should train your team to reliably spot threats.
To get the most out of a limited budget and ensure you actually follow through on your commitments, outsource training to the professionals. A third-party training provider will keep employees current on the latest threats and give feedback on their progress every step of the way.
- Communicate with customers. It depends on what types of data were compromised, but you’ll likely have to inform regulatory bodies about the breach within a certain time frame. Over and above any legal requirements, it’s also important to be candid with customers and keep them in the loop. As your customers, they deserve to know whether they are at risk and that the information they share with you is protected to the best of your ability.
Trying to cover up data losses will only invite additional criticism and make it even harder to repair your company’s reputation. Your customers are your most valuable assets: Acknowledge your mistake up front and you’re less likely to lose their trust. They’ll respect you more for being upfront and honest about the severity of the breach than if you try to hide it from them.
In the instant you realize that you’ve suffered a security breach, it can feel like an insurmountable obstacle. Though a quick response is vital, resist the urge to panic. By dealing with a breach calmly and methodically, you’ll be able to minimize damage and ensure that your business will rebound as quickly as possible.
Do you want to get proactive or be reactive about cybersecurity? Contact The Purple Guys to discuss your IT support strategy.