What to do After a Data Breach

You already know that SMBs have a high risk for data breaches since hackers and thieves view them as easy targets. The fact is that all businesses are at risk no matter how many security measures they have in place to protect their data. Given the potential to experience a data breach, your organization must have a plan in place to deal with such an issue. Follow our steps below for addressing compromised data.

Step 1: Work with your staff or provider to get information and develop an action plan.
Your IT team or provider should already have a plan in place for dealing with compromised data. They will figure out how the issue happened, determine a fix for the problem, and test that solution. They will also look for additional security holes, make sure all systems are patched, and ensure that permissions are up-to-date.

Step 2: Find out what data was impacted.
Your IT security provider can help you determine what data was compromised. Not everything on your network may have been breached, so it is important to find out what was and move forward with a plan addressing those specific areas of data that were compromised.

Step 3: Find out what your regulatory responsibilities are.
Depending on what type of data was breached, how many people were affected, and what type of security breach it was, you will be required to report to your state and affected customers. You must take action within a certain time period, so knowing and understanding the law on this matter will help you to comply and satisfy your responsibilities.

Step 4: Notify affected customers and clients.
Following the guidelines of your state law, you must report to your customers and make sure they fully understand what this breach means for them. Whether it was social security numbers or just personal addresses that were compromised, any piece of data breached can negatively impact your customers. Notify your customers by mail and electronically in order to make sure that your correspondence reaches them. Set up an email address or hot-line number where concerned customers can reach your organization for questions and help.

Step 5: Move on with updated security practices and systems.
Take note of areas in which you could improve your response to a data breach and what you are doing to improve system security. Your IT staff or Managed Services provider can help with this and make sure that you are more secure moving forward. Learn from both mistakes made and factors beyond your control to improve the security of your organization.

As we have said before, a data breach is inevitable, even if it is small and seemingly insignificant. All businesses are at risk, so you should always be prepared to recover after a data breach. If you are not satisfied that your organization is secure or would be able to respond well to such a problem, get in touch with us. We have helped businesses like yours respond in times of crisis.

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Marty Sarkisian

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