Over the next five years, the cost of cybercrime is expected to jump by 15%. According to the data quoted by Cybersecurity Ventures, experts expect that figure to grow to $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025, up from the $3 trillion USD  predicted in 2015. 

Most organizations will face a data breach at some point, with a strong possibility that they’ll be costly to the business. To mitigate your potential costs and damages, it’s important to know the steps your organization should take if a breach occurs. 

1. Isolate Your Network

To stop an attack from spreading within your network, the first step should be to take your network offline and, if possible, isolate the affected servers. Change the credentials for all your critical accounts and servers. If your IT team isn’t specialized in security and forensics, you may want to hire a specialist to assist in the investigation, assessment, and next steps. 

2. Assess Your Losses

Determine what information has been compromised. Is this information retrievable? Does your organization have an uncompromised backup that you will be able to access to restore your systems? Assessing your losses is a key step as it establishes the impact on your organization and helps to determine how to move forward in the restoration process.

3. Investigate- How did the breach occur?

Finding out how the breach occurred is also an important step. According to stats compiled by CompTIA, a leading cause of data loss is human error. EY’s Global Information Security Survey 2021 found that respondents saw a clear rise in attacks over a 12-month period between 2020 and 2021. Opening a phishing email, downloading a corrupt file, or plugging a corrupted USB into the network are common human errors that lead to successful attacks. These, however, aren’t the only ways a breach can occur; your IT team may be behind on critical patching, or your organization may be running old software. To prevent future successful attacks, your organization must determine why previous attacks were successful, this will help plan for the future.

4. Plan, Prepare & Execute

Once you’ve determined how the breach occurred, you can leverage this information to improve your systems and establish a more secure network. If your breach was caused by human error, take steps to reduce the likelihood of repeat incidents in the future. This may require employee training, automating processes to reduce the number of opportunities for human error, and introducing new software to protect the network in case an error is made. Your organization may have to evaluate the current technologies in place and invest in more up-to-date software to ensure you’re receiving the best protection.  

Engaging a service provider like Cloud Carib to manage your security is a great option for many organizations. Doing so puts your security in the hands of an expert team that can ensure that your company receives 24/7 network monitoring, stays current with the necessary patches and updates while also getting access to the best technologies, including back-up as a service. This solution can help strengthen your company's business continuity plan by providing a safe restore point you can revert to in the event of a breach OR gives you the option to switch to a disaster recovery site in the event of a major breach. 

When learning from past breaches, think about the underlying cause of the breach. Is your IT budget big enough, or can you increase your IT spend? Do you have enough IT specialized staff to manage your systems?  Think realistically about how you allocate resources, could you benefit from the expertise of a Managed Service Provider (MSP)  to properly protect your organization? 

As you learn more and improve your processes, remember to update your Data Breach Incidence Response Plan to ensure your team is following the most up-to-date version. 

5. Work with Law Enforcement Agencies in Your Region

Depending on the laws governing your country and the type of data your organization has, you may be required to report the data breach to your local authority (Homeland Security (USA), Interpol Cybercrime Division (Europe), etc.). These agencies may be able to provide more information on the attack and help you retrieve your data. A good relationship with your local law enforcement agency may prove beneficial to your organization.

6. Speak to Your Legal Team

Your corporate data isn’t just your own. It also contains the personal information of your clients and other parties. If this data is leaked, your clients will be expecting an explanation. Failing to provide an assessment of the damages could lead to legal action against your organization. To ensure your company is ready for any situation, inform your legal team of the breach as soon as possible and pass along all information pertaining to the situation. For your legal team to respond proactively and effectively, they need to be fully aware of all details.


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