What You Can Do If Your Business Has Suffered A Data Breach

A big fear of many businesses these days is the loss or theft of data, especially the sensitive data of clients, customers, and business partners. It is bad for them to have lost critical data such as payment information and contact details, but it’s also bad for you and your business as this can cause huge damage to the trust that they’ve put in you to take care of that data.

A data breach is a huge failure of your cyber security. It should be given great consideration to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, as it could irreparably damage your reputation and, ultimately, your chances of securing more clients and sales. 

Understand The Cause And Severity
After suffering a data breach, your first major step is to figure out what has happened. The cause may not be apparent, and so you may be required to conduct a thorough investigation to figure out what has gone wrong. If you cannot figure out what has caused the data breach, you’re going to be hard-pressed to remedy the problem and prevent further breaches in the future, so be vigilant here. It’s also important to figure out the severity of the breach. 

While no data should be getting into the hands of malicious individuals, as you have a responsibility to keep this data safe, certain data that is stolen may end up being entirely useless to these individuals and may cause no problems at all. However, suppose personal addresses and bank details get stolen. In that case, this is extremely serious, and extensive steps should be taken to notify those who may have been affected to take the necessary steps to protect themselves, such as notifying their bank. 

Notify Your IT Specialists Promptly
This should be done as soon as a data breach is suspected, as your IT specialists will have sufficient knowledge to help figure out how this breach happened. In fact, there’s a strong possibility that it will be your IT specialists that identify a breach in the first place, but if an employee was to accidentally open a phishing email, for example, or allows some malware to get onto their device, it might not be obvious to your IT department right away. Your IT specialists will then be able to do their best to fix the breach and reduce the risk of further loss of data if possible. 

Take Steps To Improve Your Security
After a data breach has occurred, it should give you encouragement to ensure that the risk of this happening in the future is reduced. Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing, and if you’ve not already been taking sufficient data security steps until now, it’s time to begin. 

One of the best ways you can do this is by obtaining an ISO 27001 certificate. This certificate shows that you have taken important steps to run a full risk assessment for your organisation to identify possible vulnerabilities that may result in the loss of sensitive data. You’ll also need to show the steps you’ll be able to take in the event of future data breaches and what you’re doing to reduce the risk of this happening entirely. However, the process can be extremely lengthy, so getting started as soon as possible is important. 

Be Transparent About The Data Breach
Under GDPR guidelines, you only have 72 hours to disclose a data breach. Over the course of this period, it’s worth figuring out exactly what you’re going to say to your clients and customers. It’s also highly recommended that you don’t take the full 72 hours before you reveal a data breach. This isn’t sufficient time for people to act if that data is sensitive and of a high risk of negatively impacting certain individuals. 

In that case, the Information Commissioner’s Office states that you must inform those affected without undue delay. When revealing a data breach, you should avoid trying to pass the buck and instead own up to the mistake. However, you should then also go into detail about what steps you’re taking to rectify this issue and what you’ll do to reduce this risk in the future and regain the trust of your customers and business partners alike. 

Reduce The Risk Of A Security Breach
As part of your ISO 27001 policy, you’ll spend a large amount of time effectively predicting data breaches and spotting systems and network vulnerabilities. Pre-empting these issues is a great form of defence, improving your security significantly. 

However, there are also a number of other things you can do too. Training your staff in basic cyber security is highly recommended as many data breaches occur due to the ignorance and lack of experience of staff members, especially those who aren’t adept with technology. However, even those that may be technologically inclined can learn a thing or two about preventing data theft, and so these training sessions can be invaluable for your entire team, including yourself.