If your business suffers a data breach i.e. hackers access your system and steal confidential information then you have a lot to do to deal with the breach, communicate with all affected parties and put in place better security to prevent another breach.
How well you deal with the breach often affects the total cost and the level of damage to your business reputation.
These four steps can help:-
1. Investigate the Breach
- How did it happen?
- What was stolen?
- Can the hackers regain entry to your systems?
- Have the hackers left any malware on your systems?
You’ll need to know exactly what information was lost in the data breach.
Less sensitive information includes name, address. phone number etc. This can be used by scammers and cold callers but that information is readily available for most people through the phone directory, social media and the Electoral register.
More sensitive information includes date of birth, name, financial details, payment card details etc. Combined with the less sensitive information this can be used for identity fraud.
If the stolen data includes names with login and passwords then you need to act fast to warn people to change their passwords.
2. Determine the Possible Damage
Once you know what data has been stolen, you need to understand how this can affect people i.e. how this data can be used by criminals. Will they likely sell the information to a competitor or to other scammers or ransom it back to you?
3. Communicate with All Interested Parties
You need to inform all affected parties ASAP. This may be customers, partners, staff, suppliers etc. If the breach is serious then you should inform the Information Commissioners Office. If relevant inform the Police.
4. Increase Your Security
Unless you have security experts, you may need to hire experts to assess your systems and see how security can be improved. Start enacting those improvements straightaway and of course close off whatever method the hackers used to get into your systems.
A data breach can be very serious and must be dealt with quickly and efficiently to minimise damage to your reputation.
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