As technology rapidly evolves, businesses and even individuals are increasingly facing security challenges like cyber attacks. In today’s largely connected world, IT managers and cybersecurity experts agree that cyber attacks pose the biggest threat to business operations and privacy. According to market statistics, more data breaches are being recorded each year.
With growing concern among small businesses and large enterprises, how exactly can you recover from a cyber attack, if it does happen? Is your business prepared for potential data breaches? In the event of a cyber attack, there are specific steps that should be taken to limit the damage and begin the lengthy remediation process. Here’s what you should know:
Identify the Type of Cyber Attack
The first step in recovering from a cyber attack is understanding the type of attack or data breach it is. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to do so. According to CBI Secure, a company that provides cyber security solutions for businesses, most businesses are now aware of a cyber attack until at least 200 days after the initial data breach.
To correctly identify a cyber attack, you need hard facts that are most certainly hard to come by immediately. Cyber attack recovery policies require that companies have in place effective response plans in case of a breach, but few companies have these policies in place. It’s important to have in place a critical response team to determine:
- When the attack was noticed
- What information assets have been affected
- What type of data breach it is
- Who has been affected
- Who is behind the attack and what’s their agenda
- Who or what the target of the cyber attack was
Contain and Isolate the Breach
Once you identify a data breach, it’s important to isolate all affected systems or applications to prevent further intrusion, additional vulnerabilities or the spread of further infection. It’s advisable to have in place a cyber attack response task force that includes senior executives, cybersecurity experts, public relations experts and legal counsel.
The team’s role is to quarantine any servers, devices and systems to examine them and determine the scope of the attack, separate all sensitive and vital data from the breached network, reset all points of access, reinstall all affected programs, operating systems and files, apply security patches and also identify and remove all files installed by the cyber attackers for further analysis by cybersecurity experts.
Start the Remediation Process
With recent cyber attack statistics showing that up to 32% of companies reported some form of data breach in 2016, it’s clear to see why having in place a cyber attack recovery process is crucial, and the remediation process plays a huge role in that. Your remediation team will assess the damage done and develop an appropriate response plan to clean up the mess.
During the remediation process, ensuring clear communication and keeping all critical records of the findings is important. Records form the basis from which the right recovery steps or measures will be determined. Your team should be ready to establish the most critical priorities that need to be handled after a cyber attack until the whole remediation process is complete.
Create a Smart Communication Strategy
A crisis communication team should also be ready to identify the people affected by the cyber attack so as to inform them. You’ll have to address both internal and external audiences, including your employees, stakeholders, business partners, your customers and then the general public. Determine how best to communicate, how to deliver the messages and the exact timing for each to avoid a public relations crisis.
While sharing information about a data breach is important, you must maintain a clear balance between over sharing and transparency before the whole cyber attack is fully resolved. At the very least, inform all concerned parties that there was a breach and that you’re doing everything possible to resolve it. Your legal team should also be prepared for potential legal battles.
Prevent Future Cyber Attacks
Both small businesses and large organizations must be aware of the industry best practices for preventing cyber attacks. A data breach can be devastating to any business operations. The possibility of facing law suits and losing valuable customers is the last thing you want to deal with.
Enlist the services of experienced cybersecurity experts to constantly monitor your systems, put in place preventative measures against cyber attacks, ensure internal incident reporting and develop an effective cyber attack response plan. Additionally, companies must put in place stricter cybersecurity policies and train their employees in cybersecurity best practices.
Shawn Barton is an influencer marketing pro with brownboxbranding.com who is passionate about building authentic relationships and helping businesses connect with their ideal online audience. He keeps his finger on the pulse of the ever-evolving digital marketing world by writing on the latest marketing advancements and focuses on developing customized blogger outreach plans based on industry and competition.