IT Security: 6 Tips to Prepare Your Company at the Time of a Data Breach

While there has been a rise in organizations implementing enterprise level security solutions, the global business environment is also witnessing an increasing number of cyber-attacks. One part of the problem rests with the fact that many decision-makers still possess certain misconceptions about data security. We have put together the vital six tips to help your businesses be ready for a quick response, minimise impact and smoothen a recovery.

#1 Have a clear communication plan

Irrespective of the degree of the breach, the first priority for organizations is to minimize the impact of it at any cost. Thus, every organization must have, and adhere to, a tested and well documented communication plan on handling a possible breach. This increases the organizations ability to maneuver through the crisis with ease and lowers the negative impact. Additionally it acts as a guide, the absence of which can cause chaos amongst customers, partners and employees and lead to execution delays.

#2 Response to stakeholders must be accurate and timely

Organizations must communicate the right facts in a timely manner. Leaders are often so overwhelmed with the situation at hand that information shared is often not 100% accurate which lead them to retract from their original message causing unnecessary angst amongst all the stakeholders and result in the loss of faith in the company. Marissa Meyer, the CEO of Yahoo, recently lost millions in bonuses because of her handling of the infamous Yahoo breaches. Not only was the organization’s communication delayed but also inaccurate.

Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report 2016 confirm that no organization is 100% secure from a data breach.

#3 Confront the customers

On the other hand, due to the increased frequency of cyber-attacks, customers too are aware of a possibility of such breaches. However, what’s worrisome is that many organizations fail to comfort the customers in the correct fashion. Businesses lack the necessary customer-centric approach to pacify clients and seldom apologize for the mishap which can have a detrimental effect on the company reputation and customer relationships.

For example, US retail giant Target waited over a month of publicly disclosing its breach to personally advise customers about the breach. The customers meanwhile followed the breach report through different mediums. If an organization does not confront the customers at the right time, they stand a chance to lose their credibility in the eyes of their customers.

According to Harvard Business Review (2015), regardless of who is to blame, businesses must apologize to customers for the inconvenience and traumatic experience to avoid severely damaging their reputation.

#4 Involve external agencies

External agencies must be involved at the time of a data breach. Many organizations try to address the issue internally. However, matters such as this demand subject matter expertise as they are business critical and impact the longevity of organizations. What’s more, data breaches have legal implications, and looping the right help early enough will help businesses respond faster and recover quicker.

#5 Have a single decision maker

There has to be a single decision maker. While there are several management personnel and teams involved at the time of a data breach, businesses must appoint a single person who will drive the response plan. This is to ensure the decision making process is quick and minimum delay.

#6 Don’t micromanage

Organizations are advised to refrain from micromanaging the situation once an external agency is involved. This brings in accountability and helps businesses to recover from the loss quicker.

As mentioned above, no organization is immune from a data breach or a security threat. However, having the appropriate enterprise security solution in place along with a robust process can help businesses respond to the situation better. Take a look at the reasons why you should invest in IT security right now.

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