With the utilization of technology increasing, the need to safeguard sensitive data is apparent.
While the IT industry has done a great job at creating software and tools to help ward off suspicious activities and malicious hacks, there are still a lot of ways hackers can access your company’s data and use it to their advantage.
What do you do when you come into the office and all your customer’s information has been accessed? Outside of panic, here are the next immediate steps you should take:
Immediately Try and Resolve the Breach
Your first order of business should be to immediately look into the breach and determine where the issue may have started. Determine which servers have been compromised right away so that the problem does not grow into something bigger. Once you’ve located the problem service you’ll need to create a disk image of the servers to preserve their current state.
The images should be secured and read only for additional protection. Lastly, you’ll want to contact your IT department about implementing a containment strategy to keep the server from impacting other devices.
Put Together a Team
Your customers are going to want to know how this happened and you may even be able to file a lawsuit depending on the findings from your data breach. In order to do this, however, you will need to put together a team and a system for further investigating the source of the security breach.
Should you plan on filing a suit, you’ll want to work with a computer forensics and e-discovery company so that you have legal proof to show in court.
They can help your business recover missing data, retrieve data from mobile devices, and additional info that can prove pertinent to clearing your company name and winning your court case.
Test Your Solutions
Before going public with the breach and prior to letting staff know the problem has been resolved, it is imperative that you test your IT solutions. You want to make sure that the flaw has been fully resolved. You may need IT professionals to look through server logs and/or run a penetration test.
This is ideally an interactive test that will help you to pinpoint any remaining problems with your servers, network, and devices.
This process should most certainly be completed by an external team of experts as opposed to using in-house IT staff.
Contact the Authorities
You’ve discovered a data breach, you took the necessary measures to collect evidence, you’ve resolved the problem, and you’ve tested the resolutions to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Now, you need to contact the local authorities, public relations, and the internal legal department to communicate the breach.
If you’re in industries like finance or healthcare, you may have to notify authorities a lot sooner to try and protect consumer data.
Now that the worst is over, it’s time to make sure that this doesn’t happen again – or at least lower the chances immensely. Once you have all of the test results and findings in front of you, you can clearly determine what happened, how it happened, and what steps can be taken in the future so that it doesn’t happen. Your remediation plan should clearly spell out corrective actions and standards for staff going forward as it pertains to company data. You should also create a training for staff to ensure that they too are aware of and understand the chances and next steps.
Dealing with a data breach in your small business is nothing short of a stressful situation. However, as more companies rely on smartphones, mobile devices, and technology, the likelihood of this happening to your company is higher than it used to be.
While it’s always better to prevent a catastrophe from happening, having a quick course of action should you not be able to prevent it is also wise. Hopefully, these tips will help you safeguard your small business data and recover should it ever be breached.