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Network security breaches have become an unfortunate reality for businesses of all sizes. Whether it’s a sophisticated cyberattack or an internal mishap, the consequences of a security breach can be devastating. In the face of such threats, organizations must be prepared to respond swiftly and effectively.

If your business experiences a data breach, it’s critical to know the proper steps and best practices to respond to an attack. Follow our cyber breach response guide so your business is better prepared for the unexpected.

1. Gather Evidence and Investigate the Cause

A data breach is never convenient. Nevertheless, your business should be prepared to act quickly whenever it happens. Every second is crucial when dealing with a network security attack. Immediate action is necessary to reduce harmful business effects, such as loss of market value, sensitive information falling into the wrong hands, and reputational damage. Critical first steps to take include:

  • Working with your IT team or third parties to assess the breach, gather evidence, and prevent additional damage. Collecting evidence right away might also uncover a trail leading to the responsible parties before information is lost or compromised.
  • Notifying law enforcement of your company’s data breach; additional resources may be available to assist with the response and any subsequent investigation.
  • Conducting a cyber threat assessment to uncover vulnerabilities that may have gone unnoticed. A proper assessment will look for a wide variety of risks, such as outdated software, missing security patches, weak passwords, cybersecurity education shortcomings, etc.

2. Notify Those Impacted and Restore Operations

Your next steps will vary depending on the type and severity of the breach, but restoring systems and notifying those affected are critical objectives. Systems may need to be reconfigured or rebuilt from backups, which can be a time-consuming process, especially if they were damaged by the attack.

Additionally, the sooner those impacted by the breach know of the event, the better they can protect themselves. The last thing you want to do is try and keep the event hidden. This poses substantial reputational risks, especially if the event is leaked to public. It’s always better to be honest and transparent during these types of events.

Notification may involve vendors, customers, employees, and anyone else impacted by the breach. Every situation is unique, but it’s important to prepare for different types of attacks. Likewise, become familiar with your state’s regulations and guidelines. Security breach laws vary by location and are broken down by:

  • Who must comply with regulations (i.e., businesses, government entities).
  • Definition of personal information.
  • What defines a security breach.
  • Notice requirements.

3. Reevaluate Cybersecurity Defense Policies

Although you cannot go back and prevent a data breach from occurring, you can decrease the chance of another one happening by reevaluating and redefining your workplace cybersecurity policies. When necessary, create new policies that will help prevent company information from being compromised, and audit regularly to ensure compliance.

To help you understand some common best practices, here are some data security policies businesses should implement:

  • Secure mobile devices: Utilizing mobile devices have become an integral part to most modern business practices. Employees should password protect all smartphones, tablets and computers that host company information. Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools can also be used to track and disable devices when necessary.
  • Establish a security engagement program: Most cybersecurity breaches boil down to one factor: human error. Security engagement and training programs will help educate employees on company security measures with real-life examples and responses.
  • Install anti-virus and network monitoring software: If your company does not already utilize security scanning and monitoring tools, now is the time to invest. Work with your security vendor and IT team to evaluate options.
  • Encrypt company data: Sensitive data should be protected “at rest” and “in transit” to reduce the risk of theft. Security can also be increased by restricting data access to those with authorized access only.
  • Back-up information in a secondary location: Storing company information in one or more secondary locations, such as the cloud, can add an additional layer of security and prevent valuable data from being lost.
  • Schedule IT check-ups: Conduct regular reviews to ensure security and IT equipment is working properly and up to date.
  • Secure ancillary systems connected to company networks: These systems could include, IP video surveillance, heating and ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), etc. It’s important to prevent hackers from accessing your network through ancillary equipment. Ensure that servicing vendors follow established security procedures, especially if they are connecting to your network.

Partnering with a reputable network security provider is paramount in today’s digital age, not only for preventing cybersecurity breaches but also for responding to and remediating them swiftly in the event of an incident.

Vector Security Networks offers a wealth of expertise, cutting-edge technologies, and proactive strategies to fortify defenses against evolving threats. When you partner with us, your business not only bolsters its cybersecurity posture but also gains peace of mind knowing you have a dedicated ally on your side. Contact us to learn more.