Cyber crisis’s, such as from data breaches, hackers getting into your security system and stealing data, spyware that harms your computer and network, or cyber terrorism, all pose a big threat to small and large businesses. In fact, a study done by the Ponemon Institute in 2010, found that large companies with a breach had lost an average of $7.2 million as a result. This is due largely to the lack of crisis response plans and security measures implemented by the IT department of companies. The National Cyber Security Alliance found that small businesses rely on their computer systems to store confidential and private data, including 65% of customer data, 43% financial records, and 33% credit card information. This makes it vitally important to implement a response plan for data breaches or other types of cyber crisis.
React to Cyber Crisis
The first step of your response plan is to react to your cyber crisis. In order to react to it, you will need to have a system in place that helps you to identify the threat and be able to contain it as quickly as possible. By containing the breach, you are preventing further action from occurring. By incorporating crisis monitoring on a regular basis, you will be able to identify and react to any sort of cyber crisis quickly. After identifying the crisis, you should be able to determine the severity of it which will help you device your next steps including responding and resolving the crisis.
Respond to Cyber Crisis
Once you have identified and reacted to the crisis, the next step is responding to the crisis. During your response stage, communication becomes vital. Communication is not only important throughout your company so that everyone is aware of the problem, but also to determine when and how to inform your customers and clients, or even the public. You may also need to utilize communication methods for getting assistance from a third party. Have a plan in motion that announces to your customers who may be involved in the breach that a cyber crisis has occurred so that this plan of action can happen quickly. You should also have a method for handling public relations following the resolution of the crisis.
Resolve Cyber Crisis
Now that your company has responded to the crisis, the final step is to resolve it — which must happen as quickly as possible. When resolving the conflict, you are going to determine which repairs need to be made to your control or network, and repair them as quickly as possible. The faster you resolve the problem, the faster your business will be back to its normal operations and that your customers will be able to have access to you just as quickly. Even if the crisis has been averted and resolved, you also want to take note of everything that occurred so that you can make extra precautions against it in the future. If your response plan worked as planned you can continue with this same plan. However, if something seemed to take longer than it should, take note of it so that you are more prepared if this happens again. If you decide to make corrections to your response plan, remember to test it on a regular basis for optimum success.
Preventing a Cyber Crisis
While it is important to have a cyber crisis response plan in motion, it is equally important to take additional steps in order to prevent it from happening in the first place. There are a number of things your company can do to decrease the risks of a security breach or other cyber crisis.
- Change your default passwords and choose passwords that are difficult to hack into. Using a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols throughout your password will be the most difficult to break into. You should also change your passwords on a regular basis and never reuse one you have already had in the past.
- Disable an employee’s accounts including their user account and password for the computer, network, Internet access, and work email once they leave the company.
- Have an experienced employee review the security logs and reports on a regular basis.
- Perform regular network scans to be sure your current security measures are in place and working effectively.
Having a crisis response plan can be what keeps your business from going under or having severe financial repercussion as a result of the cyber crisis. Take the time now to implement your response plan and educate your employees on how best to handle a crisis.