First Steps to Take if Your Business Gets Hacked

Cyberattacks can cripple a business's operations, but fast action can reduce the damage. Here are the steps to take and ...

free youve been hacked sq-1Cyberattacks can cripple a business's operations, but fast action can reduce the damage. Here are the steps to take and how to respond to a security incident.

In the digital age, businesses rely heavily on technology to operate. From online transactions to storing sensitive data, businesses are producing and managing a lot of confidential information. Unfortunately, with the rise in technology, hacking has become a common occurrence. This can lead to a significant loss of data and damage to the business's reputation. If your business gets hacked, what should you do? This comprehensive guide will discuss the essential steps that businesses should take if they ever find themselves in this situation. 

Step 1: Notify your IT team so they can assess the damage and secure your network

The first step after a data breach or cyberattack is to assess the extent of the damage. Your IT team or IT partner, an MSP like us will immediately start to identify what devices the breach occurred on. Those devices need to be identified and powered down and removed from the rest of the network. Depending on what kind of attack has occurred, there may still be time to cut the attacker off from spreading to other parts of the network and other devices. It is important to evaluate the system to understand what data has potentially been compromised. Once the scope of the breach has been identified, a business should act quickly to secure their network. This could involve updating security measures and removing any unauthorized access points that could be exploited by hackers. Once that is done, the team can start to follow your Incident Response Plan to move on to the next steps.  

Step 2: Notify Your Employees, the Authorities and Affected Parties

First, notify your employees, this is critical. CISA checklist noted that “malicious actors may monitor your organization’s activity or communications to understand if their actions have been detected.” Consequently, it’s vital to immediately switch to non-internet communication channels and prevent employees from chatting about the incident within chat applications or email. Work with your legal team to determine who to notify next. In some instances, a data breach could involve personal information that breaches government regulations or international standards. It is critical to inform the relevant authorities and individuals that have been affected. Such authorities include the police, data protection regulators, and financial service providers. Customers should also be informed of the data breach to enable them to take necessary measures, such as changing their passwords. 

Step 3: Investigate the Breach and Work to Remediate

Finding the cause of a data breach can be complicated. However, it is crucial to ensure that the cause is identified during the investigation stage. A forensic investigation could help determine the origin and mode of the breach. The results of the investigation will enable the business to review its security systems, amend vulnerabilities found, and prevent future attacks. Depending on the severity of the incident, your IT team or MSP will collect data about the breach. This may involve collecting “logs, memory dumps, audits, network traffic, and disk images. After preserving evidence, they should remove malicious code and restore your system to its pre-incident state. They should also focus on patching vulnerabilities, updating software and firmware and resetting passwords. 

Step 4: Evaluate Your Response Plan or Put One in Place 

Sit down with your leadership team and your MSP and go through your incident response plan. What worked, what didn't? Were there gaps in the information needed? Fill in the missing pieces now. Take out anything that was outdated or unnecessary. If you didn't have one on place, now is the time to do it. Just because you were hit once doesn't mean you won't be hit again. Since you've just gone through it, now is the perfect time to do this since you know just what you went through. A data breach can be a costly and complicated problem to resolve. The best way to avoid confusion during such an event is by having a response plan in place. Such a plan outlines the steps to be taken in case of an attack and the staff responsible for executing these plans. A response plan ensures that an organization has a unified and swift response.

While data breaches can be devastating, they can be minimized. A business that experiences a data breach should be open and transparent, implement the necessary measures to mitigate the problem, and educate their staff and clients on data security matters. We hope that this comprehensive guide has provided enough insights to help your business prepare should the worst happen. Proper preparation can often mean the difference between surviving a breach with little to no damage, and the end of your business. Plan today, and never be caught off-guard tomorrow.

For more information on Cybersecurity for your Central Ohio business, check out our page.

If you think your business has been the victim of a cyberattack, don't wait, we can help. 


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