5 Things you should do immediately after experiencing a data breach

Suffering a data breach is a nightmare scenario that no business leader ever wants to face, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. That’s why you need to prepare for any eventuality by having a comprehensive disaster response and recovery plan that helps you get back on your feet with minimal damage. When something goes wrong, it’s essential that you act quickly before taking every possible step to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

#1. Isolate the compromised assets

Cybersecurity incidents rarely stop at one system. Ransomware, for example, is designed to spread throughout an entire network and take down every device connected to it. Hackers in search of sensitive information will often find a way in via a seemingly innocuous system that itself might not hold anything important but provides access to the wider network.

The very first thing to do the moment you even suspect a breach may have occurred is isolate and disconnect any system you think may have been compromised. If a compromised device is disconnected from the network and the internet, hackers will no longer be able to exploit it, and any malware will be unable to continue spreading.

#2. Change all your login credentials

Most people have poor security habits, and it isn’t any wonder given the huge amount of login credentials we have to remember for dozens of online accounts. That’s why many people use the same password for everything, and a lot of people rely on passwords far more than they should.

The moment something suspicious occurs, you should have your employees change all their passwords for every account they use for work. While you’re at it, be sure to review your password policy, and enforce an additional verification method for protecting accounts bearing sensitive data.

#3. Find out what was stolen

Not all cyber attacks involve data theft. Sometimes, data is held to ransom, but there are other cases where threats like ransomware and cryptojacking malware are used to divert attention away from more serious attacks. This is especially common in more sophisticated attacks like those targeted toward specific businesses.

It’s always better to assume the worst. If anything suspicious happens on your network, you’ll need to find out what was stolen or what may have been stolen. In other words, don’t assume that an apparently minor security incident is all that it seems. Figuring out what you’ve lost will help you decide on the next steps.

#4. Alert all relevant parties

Any data breach or other security incident puts your brand’s reputation at risk. If something goes wrong, a degree of damage will be unavoidable, but taking the right steps helps mitigate the damage. Absolutely the worst thing you can do at this stage is to try to downplay the incident or keep it from going public.

Compliance regulations make it a legal requirement to alert customers if there’s a reasonable chance their personal data has been compromised. Larger breaches may also require you to alert the authorities and, in some cases, a local media outlet.

#5. Investigate what went wrong

Once you’ve taken steps to stop things from getting worse, it’s time to figure out what went wrong. Often, this ends up being the most time-consuming process of all, and it’s a lot harder now that companies are incorporating cloud computing and mobile devices into their systems.

The first thing to figure out is the point of entry. This could be a social engineering email, a computer running outdated and vulnerable software, or a wide range of other possibilities. In other situations, insider threat might be the culprit. You should launch a thorough investigation into the breach to ensure the same thing never happens again.

Of course, if analyzing cybersecurity issues is not your forte, you can always rely on professional managed IT services providers like Complete Document Solutions. At CDS, we help businesses in California quickly address security breaches and minimize future risks. Call us today to arrange a consultation.


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