What Small Businesses Should Do After Being Hit by a Data Breach

Many small business owners these days know that no matter how much they do to prevent themselves from being affected by a data breach, there is still a significant risk that such an incident can take place. In fact, that potential is only growing more serious, as there’s only so much companies with limited resources can do. As a result, it might be wise for owners to draw up plans for what they’ll do in the event of such an occurrence.

The fact of the matter is that there’s a large and growing likelihood that small businesses in particular will be hit with data breaches in the future, and as such it’s vital that these kinds of companies know exactly what they should do in the wake of this kind of thing, according to a report from the Dallas Morning News. In fact, having such a plan in place is often the difference for smaller enterprises between being able to survive the potentially massive financial hit that can result, and having those costs sink them completely.

The first thing small businesses should do when preparing for a data breach is, of course, taking all the reasonable steps they can to make sure that they’re not affected at all. That includes – but is certainly not limited to – beefing up security on all company computer systems; training staff about the potential signs that someone is trying to crack their accounts through phishing schemes, malware, and so forth; and making sure people only have access to data or files they need to do their jobs.

Of course, that’s not always going to completely protect companies, and therefore contingency plans need to be put into place as soon as possible, the report said. The more comprehensive these detailed courses of action are, the better chance small businesses will have of insulating themselves from damage.

What should be included?
When putting together such a plan, small business owners should create plans to first assess the damage that they’ve suffered as a result of the breach, the report said. Often, companies underestimate how affected they were by such an incident, and having measures in place that allow them to completely understand their situation will be extremely beneficial. Likewise, knowing the kinds of experts they’ll need to call in is going to be vital to remediating the potential damage as quickly and easily as possible.

In addition, the vast majority of states now require that companies which suffered data breaches alert all the potential victims whose personal or financial information might have been exposed, and companies will likewise need to know how to contact those people within the mandated timeframe spelled out by the law, the report said. The problem is that doing so is often expensive, as is the cost of identity protection and the like, and many smaller businesses struggle to cover them.

Finally, companies need to know how to eliminate the problem that caused the data breach and also prevent any future attacks, the report said. These are often – but not always – one in the same. When companies know how attacks happened, it is far easier to clean up the mess and prevent it from happening again.

Companies looking to shore up their protections from the potential fallout from such an incident may also want to think about their small business insurance options. Tech insurance is often a very helpful way of covering many costs associated with a data breach, which can often stretch into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.