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Hit by a data breach? Here’s what to know

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Don’t panic after a breach event

If your organization has run afoul of the dreaded data breach, it’s a stressful and frightening situation. How did it occur? How much information was stolen? How long will downtime take? Those are a handful of questions security officers and IT teams wrestle with.

Furthermore, the fallout of data breaches goes beyond infrastructural damage. Clients and customers will feel the impact, eroding brand trust if the breach is handled poorly. So, if you’ve suffered a data breach or want to prepare for a threat scenario, Bytagig has tips to help.

Strategies and Tips to Mitigate Breaches

Time is an essential resource in a post-breach environment. It proves challenging, as threat actors often embed themselves in networks and systems months before acting, sometimes years. Therefore, responding promptly isn’t always possible. You can identify and mitigate threats by running penetration tests, having solid governance strategies, and maintaining versatile cloud infrastructure. However, data breaches are so commonplace they’re an expectation versus an exceptional event.

While every organization will have different BDR plans (backup and disaster recovery), there are standards networks of any size should follow.

Secure ASAP

Locking down and containing the breach to mitigate damage and data loss is priority one. You can’t assess the situation or notify affected parties without first quarantining all relevant systems and hardware. Locating and resolving any vulnerabilities is important to prevent further breaches (it can and will happen again if precautions are not taken).

Checking security logs and network activity for breach sources proves effective, and if not already, have automatic systems in place to create these logs. Impacted hardware, networks, and systems must be taken offline to reduce further intrusions/damages.

Additional questions:

  • Will the breach involve federal agencies/law enforcement (typical of ransomware attacks)?
  • What backups do you have in physical media form or otherwise?
  • Will you require legal teams/representatives in the future regarding the breach?

Alert Breach Response Team(s)

For these scenarios, alert your breach response team, typically comprised of IT and security experts. If you don’t have one, it’s critical to designate key staff to these types of roles. Response teams go hand-in-hand with BDR plans, providing a blueprint of security steps to follow.

Larger organizations have response teams comprised of various experts, such as forensics, legal, IT, and human resources. If you lack this staff or operate as an SMB, third-party resources are available to assist too.

Create Fraud Alert

Anyone affected by a data breach must be informed as soon as said breach was discovered. Clients, business partners, staff, and anyone with information stored in a network are all relevant to a data breach. Not only that, you may fall under regulatory requirements to inform affected parties of the data breach.

Depending on the nature of the intrusion – such as with ransomware – you also need to report the breach to relevant federal agencies as soon as the problem is discovered. This varies from state to state, so it’s important to check local municipal requirements for the exact reporting criteria. If you work in industries such as finance, critical infrastructure, or healthcare, you will have expected reports.

Outside of federal alerts, creating a statement and press release to all relevant impacted parties is part of the data breach response.

To do this, you will need an effective communications plan, one that outlines your responses to the mentioned affected parties. If you don’t, you should outline this as a key component of a BDR plan. In most states, it’s required. In the event you need to coordinate with federal law enforcement, having one or two “point people” to relay information is essential, keeping you in contact with important resources.

Any statement about the breach should contain accurate information as often as possible, including the time of detected intrusion, what files were impacted, what accounts were affected, and what relevant parties should do in response.

Help from third-party organizations

Breach events from malicious intrusion are no small matter, but even with the best intentions, it’s easy for organizations to feel overwhelmed. Avoiding downtime and damage to brand trust is only a handful of essentials to manage. If you’re concerned about your organization’s ability to respond, consider third-party assistance.

For more information, you can contact Bytagig today.

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