Companies to rely more and more on technology, a business’ workflow, records, and data are digitized. Digitizing your business and having access to information at the click of a mouse, or a tap on a screen is a huge advantage. But this would also mean that all the information and data your company holds could be stolen just as easily if no security measures are in place.

A data breach is an event wherein confidential or protected information is accessed or exposed to an unauthorized individual. Data breaches are a very serious issue for companies and cost $4 Million on average. There are numerous ways of preventing a data breach. Among the most effective would be to have multi-layered IT security system, or utilize platforms with high emphasis security such as ServiceNow.

But what should you do if you failed to prepare? What if the data breach has already taken place?

Plug the Hole

Once a breach is detected, make sure to contain and stop the breach as quickly as possible. This depends on the type of breach, but you should start with identifying and isolating the systems accessed and prevent any further unauthorized access to your system and network. Once contained, you should eliminate the threat as soon as possible by either blacklisting the IP address responsible for the breach, reformatting assets affected by the attack, or whichever is the most effective method of stopping the breach depending on the type of attack.

Check the Damage

assesing security breach

Investigate the data breach. Know what caused it, and what data was accessed/taken. Knowing the attack is vital to prevent any future breaches. The company should also give priority to investigating and re-checking affected systems and ensure that no backdoor or malware was left by the attack. If possible, a full diagnosis of the entire system, and not just those directly affected by the attack, should be undertaken. Sabotage should also not be ruled out; the company should check if any data were removed/deleted or falsely modified during the breach.

Notify Those Affected

The company should contact the authorities, partners, and any individuals (including clients and customers) concerned. It would be understandable why a company would want to keep any data breach under wraps, but it is the company’s responsibility to notify those who are — and might be — affected by the breach. The company should provide details such as the date of the breach, what was compromised, and what the affected party should do, as well as reassure that actions are being taken, and precautionary measures to prevent any future breaches are underway. Doing so would preserve the company’s integrity.

Audit and Plan

An audit should be undertaken to assess the company’s current security systems. A company should consider upgrading or changing the security systems in place, as well as updating and enforcing data encryption. And even with updated security and new preventive measures in place, the company should still devise recovery plans in case of another attack.

Data breaches are a huge (and very costly) headache but don’t beat yourself over it. In 2018, even the biggest of companies suffered data breaches. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t prepare. In fact, it means that you should be more prepared than ever to prevent future breaches. Prevention is, after all, better (and Millions of dollars cheaper) than the cure.