How to Handle a Data Breach if Your Business Becomes a Victim

business IT services and security

Are cyber attacks on the rise?

The answer is yes, according to recent data, with an 11% jump in security breaches this year. That’s over 2 billion recorded cases of cyber threats.

A data breach is one of the most concerning issues for any modern company. And as a small business, you may wonder what actions you must take to secure your systems and data.

As one of the largest

As one of the largest cyber security companies in Los Angeles, Be Structured has put together this guide on how your business should handle a data breach.

Alert Your Security Team

When you have a data breach, you need to act fast.

So you should create a written security breach process that your team understands beforehand. That way, if the worst happens, they can start taking action immediately without any confusion or waiting for orders.

With that in mind, your first step for any potential security breach (even if it’s only suspected) is to notify your core, internal security team, or your managed IT support team.

Whatever your company size, ensure you have someone who will take on the security management role and follow through on your written process if a data breach happens as part of your business IT services and security protocol.

Secure Physical Locations

While you might feel your focus is on networks, starting with physical security is essential.

Any physical breaches can be far more catastrophic for a company. The first step for your team is to assess and secure all physical space, such as your offices and server locations.

Take Systems Offline

One of your first tasks when you have a suspected data breach, one of your first tasks is to take all your business systems offline temporarily. That will cut contact with the network (and potential hackers).

However, after taking the systems offline, don’t shut them down. You’ll need to access the data later to assess damage and data loss. You must investigate your IT systems to trace the breach forensically.

Identify the Source

You’ll need to find the source of your data breach.

For most businesses, that’s best handled by a managed IT firm like ours that can offer professional experts in IT security in Los Angeles. However, if you run a large company, you might have someone in-house who can do this.

Notify Your PR Team

As early as possible, notify your PR team about the breach so they can prepare a statement to release to your customers (and the press if you have a high-profile company).

This approach will help your business get the correct information out to the public before rumors or damaging misinformation spreads online.

If you suspect a criminal element to the data breach, you will need to notify the relevant authorities at this point, too.

Track Hacked Data Online

You’ll need to see if any sensitive data from your business has appeared online. So get your security team to run a full audit.

You may need to use legal routes to remove data breaches from third-party websites, so ensure you have data security experts who can do the necessary audit and follow-up.

Remove Data Breaches

Always remove data breaches at the source, reviewing all your IT systems to identify and remedy any vulnerabilities.

You must have experts do this, as any oversight could cause a secondary data breach which is catastrophic for the reputation of any business.

Reviewing data breaches involves more than assessing weaknesses in your network and infrastructure. You’ll also need to examine your data to see if any information has been added, altered, or removed during the breach.

Use a Security Consultant to Fix and Test Vulnerabilities

When you’ve found issues or vulnerabilities in your network, you’ll need to work on a plan to remedy this.

If you don’t have a cybersecurity expert internally, you should hire someone for this responsibility, as you must get it right.

Fixing your network and infrastructure will also require security testing to ensure you’ve strengthened your defenses against further attacks.

Communicate Internally

Employees can offer a security vulnerability to your organization. So you must implement appropriate security policies such as network access and password management for your business.

In the case of a data breach, you should ask all employees to update and change their passwords, and you might want to go a step further and audit any access on the network to ensure your staff is fully aligned with your security policies.

Take Recommended Steps to Improve Your Security

After you’ve taken immediate action to secure your environment, it’s time to think about a longer-term plan to protect your data. You’ll need to review your security processes for your business and assess all your infrastructure and network.

It may be the case that you need to invest in more updated (and secure) systems to stop the problem from happening again, whether that’s hardware, software, or network elements.

Research best practices and get recommendations on the most secure systems for your business.

Though this may need an upfront investment, many business systems are now available on the cloud to help you manage the cost (and a best-in-class cloud-based system often offers the highest level of security).

Communicate the Breach to Customers

Data breaches are a tough test for any PR department. It damages trust in your business if you don’t handle your communications with customers effectively from the start.

The best way to manage communications is to contact your customers and offer as much information as you can about how you are handling the breach.

Your task here is to reassure customers that their personal information wasn’t stolen. If you suspect data theft, you should contact the customer directly and use one of your senior customer service representatives to make that call.

Work with the customer to help secure their data and answer any questions they have as thoroughly as you can.

Protect Your Business from a Data Breach

Data security can feel like a massive task for any business. But protecting your company and your customers from a data breach is essential for your reputation and operational continuity.

You can get the proper security using our managed IT services in Los Angeles.

We designed our managed services to provide businesses like yours with the peace of mind you need regarding IT security.

Find out more by contacting us to learn about our services.

About Chad Lauterbach

CEO at Be Structured Technology Group, Inc. a Los Angeles based provider of Managed IT Services for small business. I desire to help small businesses better utilize technology by assisting in high level planning to make sure that new systems will benefit them both operationally and financially. I am careful to implement and support systems using industry best practices.