Classified as one of the biggest threats to businesses, cybersecurity breaches can result in widespread financial losses and the destruction of a company’s credibility. Only 43% of American businesses are financially prepared to withstand a cyberattack in 2022, as cyber breaches cost American companies more than $6.9 billion in 2021.
Cybercriminals use sophisticated, high-tech technology to penetrate corporate networks and constantly adapt their strategies to get around cybersecurity measures. Therefore, being ready is no more an advantage rather a requirement because cyber breaches are a reality that requires careful and effective management. This article offers expert advice on preparing before the cyber breach and what to do afterward.
What to Do Before a Cybersecurity Breach?
1. Use Strong Passwords
Because passwords are widely used for everything, they are the most common cause of cyber breaches. Ensure all team members have strong passwords generated according to cybersecurity guidelines. Additionally, educate your team about the importance of protecting the privacy of their accounts.
Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds a protective security layer by requiring users to prove their identity with a special one-time use code, typically sent via text message or email, preventing cyber breaches even if the password is stolen.
2. Updating Software and Hardware
As technology advances, cybercriminals will adapt and find new ways to penetrate the company’s cyber defense systems. All software solutions, antiviruses, and firewalls must be updated with latest patches from vendors to maintain high-security levels. Cybersecurity software providers typically release regular patches and updates to combat emerging threats and notify users about these updates.
3. Employee’s Education and Training
Humans will always be the weakest link, regardless of how strong the technological security protocols are. Educating employees about cyber threats is critical, and it is necessary to plan regular training and awareness programs to keep them up to date on the latest news.
Don’t just inform them about cyberattacks, but train them on what to do if they suspect activity and what action must be taken once the cyberattack happens.
4. Implementing Access Restrictions
Limit employee access by providing appropriate authorizations based on job type; for example, an admin assistant does not need access to sensitive data. Limiting access reduces a system’s potential vulnerabilities.
Moreover, implementing the Zero Trust security model is highly recommended; it requires verification regardless of who’s trying to access the network, and never trusting any user or machine without verification.
5. Make an Effective Response Plan
It’s not enough to take the steps listed above, be ready for the worst, and create and continuously update a response or disaster plan for what to do in the event of a real cyber breach. A good response plan can effectively limit lost productivity and prevent negative publicity and expensive losses. The plan must include specific action steps, such as emergency team members, roles, the next step in the immediate response, who should be informed of the attack, etc.
6. Get Engaged From The Beginning
Many C-level executives don’t follow up on cybersecurity issues, leaving them to professionals. Although it’s the right decision to let experts do their job, keeping a close eye on cyber threats, compliance, and potential vulnerabilities is required.
You don’t need to learn about cybersecurity deeply, but use technology in your favor. Salience, by Humanize, offers a comprehensive C-suite level cybersecurity solution. It helps executive managers track their cybersecurity systems’ performance and what might be worn in real-time.
What to Do After a Cybersecurity Breach?
1. Gather Information And Identify The Breach
The most crucial step in the process is recognizing that a cyber attack has occurred and that it is not a scam. Some cyber-attacks will go unnoticed, and some may be a trick to steal valuable information.
So, once you’ve determined that the attack is real, the first step is to figure out what was attacked and what data was compromised or stolen. Businesses typically have intrusion and detection software solutions (IPS); if you don’t, it may take longer to interview the person who discovered the attack to determine its source. Obtaining complete information and comprehending what occurred will evaluate and guide the next steps.
2. Contain The Cyber Attack
Following confirmation of the cyberattack, gathering the necessary information, and locating the source of the breach, the next step is to minimize and prevent further damage. Here are some quick steps:
- Isolate the system by disabling remote access and disconnecting from the Internet.
- Detach the backup data from the system.
- As soon as possible, change the passwords.
- To avoid destroying valuable forensic evidence, set laptop devices to hibernate but not shut down.
- Transfer sensitive files to a safe location.
3. Communicate: Notify Appropriate Parties
Inform all relevant parties about the breach, including employees, customers, and third parties. Set up internal communication authorizations to get everyone on the same page and back to work. Furthermore, sending an honest and concise email to customers will put them at ease while working to resolve the problems.
In addition, depending on the country, industry, or sensitivity of the data, report the cyber breach to the appropriate authorities to avoid legal consequences.
4. Data and System Recovery
After the attack has been contained, it is time to recover the data and system; most importantly, adhere to the business continuity and disaster recovery plan; don’t panic or improvise. However, even if you don’t have a plan, the basic steps are as follows:
- Change all passwords.
- Restore the files from backups.
- In the absence of backups, the data storage must be erased or replaced.
- Install security software such as firewalls and antivirus.
- If possible, use a cloud-based work environment while restoring the company’s system.
5. Evaluation and Enhancement
Gather as much information as possible about the cyber breach, such as logs, memory dumps, audits, network traffic, etc. Despite how terrible the cyber breach may be, it can be a great chance to review all the cyber security measures and discover what has worked and what hasn’t. The cybersecurity experts must:
- Analyze the collected data.
- Assess the weaknesses and plan corrective actions, such as establishing a professional training and staff awareness programs if the entire attack was caused by simple human error.
- Create a backup plan
- Ensure that all data breach protocols are updated.
- Evaluate and improve your current disaster plan, or create one if you don’t already have one.
- Put the optimized cybersecurity strategy to the test.
Cyberattacks can be devastating to a company’s operations. Unfortunately, no security system, no matter how strong, is impenetrable. Best practices include planning ahead of time and implementing security measures such as strong passwords, restricted access, trained staff, a prepared response plan, and a comprehensive cybersecurity solution like Sailence by Humanize to monitor and track all activities. And, if a breach occurs, don’t panic; instead, identify it, contain it, and begin working on restoring the system. The attack can also be used to update cybersecurity protocols.