Create a cyberattack response plan for your small business
As a small business owner, protecting yourself against the threat of cyberattacks is important. The financial, reputational, and emotional cost of a data breach can be devastating – and can threaten your company’s existence. Putting proactive measures in place, including employee training, investing in encryption software, and creating two-step authentication processes, can help reduce the likelihood of a successful attack. It’s equally important for you and your employees to have a Cyber Incident Response Plan ready in case your business falls victim to a data breach.
Follow these steps to start your plan:
- Build a Cyberattack Response Team with representatives from all departments that will need to act in response to the attack, e.g., upper management, IT, sales/marketing, communications, HR, and legal.
- Identify critical company assets most likely to be targeted and vulnerable. This could include employees if their cyber risk knowledge is low.
- Research, identify, and contract with external expertise and data backup services if you do not have in-house resources and expertise to manage a cyber breach.
- Create a detailed response checklist to capture the source of the attack, outline how to contain the breach and backup and restore data, and list lessons learned.
- Develop a communication plan including key audiences, communication vehicles, and timing in the event of a breach. It’s critical that employees, customers, and those whose personal information has been compromised be notified as soon as possible.
- Practice executing your response plan by testing hypothetical scenarios.
If your company’s data is breached, here are the key processes to remember.
- Investigate the source of the breach and identify the computer or network where the attack originated.
- Attempt to isolate the infected device(s) to minimize damage.
- Evaluate the scope of what data was impacted by the breach.
- Seek legal advice on complying with rules and regulations about reporting a data breach and the legal implications for your business.
- Inform your insurer about the breach, if applicable. Cyber liability insurance coverage may cover the total cost of the incident, or the damages suffered by affected parties.
- Notify all affected parties. If unknown, communicate with anyone potentially impacted by the breach.
- Consider issuing a public statement if the impact of the breach is significant.
- Clean your systems starting with quarantined devices and networks.
- Restore lost data by identifying the most recent backup that was not affected and can be used to restore lost data.
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