When it comes to cybersecurity, a strong defense is the best offense. But with the threat landscape constantly evolving and cyber criminals becoming ever craftier, even the best-protected companies are vulnerable to a cyber attack. In addition to implementing multi-faceted protections to prevent a breach, having a detailed cyber breach response plan in the event of a cyber incident is crucial to securing your operations and minimizing the fallout. Cyber breach response plans are unique to each company and must be customized, but below are the main elements of an effective plan.
Preparation for Different Scenarios
A cyber breach response plan is a written guide that maps out how your company will identify and respond to various types of cyber incidents, such as data leaks, data breaches, and ransomware attacks. For each scenario, the plan should detail the sequence of when various elements of the response will be implemented and the roles and responsibilities of each affected stakeholder, from company leaders to rank-and-file employees, from the IT Department to Legal, HR, and other internal departments, from clients to institutional and third-party partners. Training is an important element of preparation, and all stakeholders must be educated on their roles and responsibilities. The response plan should also be tested periodically with mock cyber incidents and updated as necessary.
Containment of the Breach
When a breach is first discovered, the first priority must be to identify the source and scope of the compromise and contain the threat to prevent future data loss or theft. Depending on the nature of the breach, a firm may lose access to its networks and files, or it may need to shut down its system temporarily so that IT teams can properly investigate and contain the problem. Once the source of the breach has been identified and contained, IT teams need to ensure the problem is eradicated from all areas of the network.
Once the cause of the breach has been physically eliminated, the plan must provide a roadmap for restoring and returning affected networks and devices to normal operations. The plan should prioritize when various areas of the business will be restored, to ensure mission-critical areas are up and running first and to minimize costs. User and administrative access credentials will need to be updated, utilizing strong passwords and multi-factor authentication (MFA), and all impacted systems will need to be updated, fortified against future breaches, and tested before going online.
Notifying Your Cyber Insurance Company
Cyber insurance provides various protections and can help a company recover some of the losses associated with a cyber breach, from business interruption losses to repair and recovery costs. Some policies even cover ransom payments in the case of a ransomware attack. If you have a cyber policy, it is vital that you follow your insurance contract’s required procedures for notifying the insurance company of the cyber incident. Your cyber response plan should detail what you must do to meet all of your insurance contract’s requirements in the wake of an incident to ensure your coverage is not compromised.
Communicating to Third Parties
Depending on the type of information that was compromised, the nature of your firm’s business, and the agreements you have with your clients, you may be obligated by state and federal laws and regulations to notify impacted individuals that their information was leaked or stolen. Your cyber response plan should include a plan of action for notifying impacted clients, customers, and others about the specific data that was compromised. In many cases, a cyber breach can harm a business’s reputation and by extension its brand value by eroding the trust of clients, members of the public, and others. Timely, transparent communications, perhaps with an offer of free credit monitoring services for those impacted, can go a long way in repairing the damage. Many cyber breach response plans will call for the services of a public relations consultant with experience in crisis communications, who can help craft and execute an effective communication strategy that will allow you to limit the fallout and recover more quickly from a cyber incident.
Tabush Group is a leading provider of Managed IT Services and Desktop as a Service (DaaS). To learn more about how our state-of-the-art IT solutions can make your firm’s operations more efficient and secure, contact us.