How Should Small Businesses Prepare for a Potential Data Breach

How Should Small Businesses Prepare for a Potential Data Breach

The unfortunate fact for businesses of every size is that the likelihood they’ll have to deal with a data breach at some point in the future is growing all the time. In addition, because there are so many different ways in which such an event can take place, planning for any single type of incident is not going to be enough to guarantee safety. As such, companies may want to ensure that they’re prepared to handle a wide variety of data breach types if and when they occur.

Perhaps the easiest way to make sure that a small business in particular, and its employees, are ready to deal with the fallout of such an unfortunate event is to routinely train for it, according to a report from the credit scoring company FICO’s Banking Analytics Blog. In this way, companies can make sure they know how equipped they are to prepare for a breach that happens as a result of an internal mistake, a willful breach by a known person such as a disgruntled worker, or a hacking attack that can expose sensitive data to outside parties. These tests should be conducted – and kept varied – a few times a year at least to make sure that all the procedures needed to protect consumer and company data are in place and being followed to the letter.

It’s also vital that companies make sure they know how they’re going to start contacting people who may be affected or victimized by such incidents, as this can be one of the biggest compliance issues for businesses suffering a breach, the report said. This should include not only pre-written form letters that can be printed and sent to consumers as quickly and easily as possible, but also scripts for any customer service representatives – or other employees which will field questions from concerned people – to follow as closely as possible, so that everyone is on the same page. This should also include plans to let other companies or entities that might be affected by or have been involved with such a breach, as their sensitive data could have been exposed, and they likewise will want to ensure that they can begin the notification process as quickly as possible as well.

Know how to isolate the problem
When data breaches occur as a result of hacking attacks or other computer issues, companies must have plans in place to deal with them and make sure that the rest of their systems will not be affected, the report said. That includes making sure that they have the ability to run health checks on all computers connected to an office system and be able to quarantine those already affected so that they cannot spread the issue to other machines. The more stringent the controls in this regard, the more likely companies will be to ensure that they’re not devastated by these types of incidents in particular going forward. That might involve investing in anti-virus software and other controls that can help to lock out problems before they occur, though it’s important to note that no one data breach solution in this regard, or any other, is failsafe.

Owners should also try to keep in mind that the high cost of suffering a data breach – in addition to the headaches such incidents can cause – is often enough to sink even a relatively successful enterprise. As such, small business insurance policies such as tech insurance can help to insulate companies from these problems by helping to remediate costs in the aftermath of a data breach.