How to Recover from a Data Breach and Strengthen Your Cyber Defenses in the Workplace

Data Breach

A significant data breach is considered by many businesses to be the absolute worst-case scenario. However, there are actually an extremely high number of data breaches. According to a number of different sources, cybercriminals can gain access to approximately 93% of businesses in an average of two days. Alone in the third quarter of 2022, approximately 150 million data records were exposed to potential risk.

After a data breach, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated, “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t, then we don’t deserve to serve you.” This statement was made in response to the news that Facebook had been hacked.

Businesses that are resilient need to have a plan in place just in case there is a data breach, given how common these breaches are. In this section, we are going to discuss the various ways in which you can recover from a major data breach and enhance your existing cybersecurity measures. Keep reading for some useful advice and suggestions.

What Causes a Data Breach?

The first thing that needs to be done, whether it’s prevention or recovery, is to figure out what it is that leads to a data breach in the first place. Phishing, ransomware, social engineering scams, software misconfigurations, weak passwords, the theft of physical devices, and breaches caused by third parties are some of the most common causes of data breaches. When you’ve determined how your data was stolen, you’ll be in a better position to devise a plan to stop it from happening again.

You will inevitably be hacked if you do not take preventative measures regarding cybersecurity. Max Schwartzapfel, the Chief Operating Officer of Fighting For You and an attorney, notes that “to be fair, you’ll probably deserve it if you’re truly negligent.”

The employees of a company represent yet another significant weakness for the company. In the course of history, careless employees have been the cause of a significant number of data breaches. Some businesses even put their employees through simulated phishing attacks as a means of keeping them vigilant.

What To Do Immediately Following a Data Breach?

Immediately Following a Data Breach

You have recently realized that a data breach occurred at your company. It’s possible that a member of your staff stole customer information or that an outside hacker gained access to your corporate server and stole personal information. There are a few steps you need to take in order to fix the issues in a seamless manner and in a timely manner, and these steps are the same regardless of the type of data breach that occurred.

“The speed with which you respond to a data breach will be the determining factor in whether or not you experience additional data breaches related to the initial one. According to Patricio Paucar, co-founder and chief customer officer of Navi, the only thing that could be worse than a single data breach would be multiple data breaches.

The Federal Trade Commission suggests taking these three primary actions in order to make the situation right again. First, ensure that your operations are secure, address any vulnerabilities that have been discovered, and notify the appropriate parties.

Secure Your Operations

As soon as the data breach has been discovered, the first thing you need to concentrate on is securing your business operations. If you want to prevent another breach from happening in addition to the first one, you should fix the vulnerabilities that may have caused the breach. To begin, you will want to secure any physical areas that may have been connected to the incident.

“Hacking is possible for any piece of technology that is connected to the internet. According to Amanda Howland, Co-Founder of ElleVet Sciences, “You need to take every security measure possible on all channels.”

In addition to this, you should immediately put your breach response team into action to stop any further loss of data. After you have completed these preliminary steps in the security process, the next step is to conduct interviews with the individuals who found the security flaw in order to collect additional information.

Assemble a Team of Experts

Forensics, legal, information security, information technology, human resources, investor relations, and management may be all involved in the process of securing operations, but this will depend on the size of your company. You could also think about employing an independent team or forensic investigators to help you find the source of the breach as well as the extent of the damage it caused.

“In the event of a data breach, we need everyone’s full attention. It is recommended by Scott Chaverri, CEO of Mito Red Light, that you collaborate with a number of different company departments in addition to your external team in order to repair the damage and prevent further attacks.

You should also consult with your legal representative about this matter. If you feel the need to bring in an outside counsel with expertise in data privacy and security, you should go ahead and do so. Should you find yourself in a situation where federal or state laws are relevant, they will assist you in navigating those laws.

Read More: How to Recover Deleted Files: Step-by-Step Data Recovery

Remove Improper Information

After you have ensured the safety of your operations, you will need to focus on removing inappropriate information that has been posted on the web. It would be best if you began with your website. If the data breach involved personally identifiable information that was posted to your website, you have an immediate obligation to delete that information. It would be best if you got in touch with search engines as well to make sure that inaccurate information is not saved.

The consequences of a data breach may reach further than you even realize. “Make sure that you are scouring the internet for any traces of leaked data,” suggests Dakota McDaniels, Chief Product Officer of Pluto, an AI stock trading platform. “Make sure that you are looking for any traces of leaked data.”

As soon as you have your website under control, you can begin investigating other possible locations where your data may have been compromised. Search the data pertaining to your company to determine which other websites might have stored copies of it. In the event that you discover your data on a different website, you will have to request that the other website remove it.

Fix Vulnerabilities

When you have finished securing your operations and removing inappropriate information from the internet, the next step will be to begin repairing the vulnerabilities that led to the security breach in the first place. First, take a look at the companies that provide your services. If they were involved, the information that they have access to should be reevaluated. It would be best if you also collaborated with them to ensure that they are actively working to address their vulnerabilities and should encourage them to do so.

“If you don’t fix the problems that caused a data leak in the first place, you better prepare for another,” says Jason Zhang, the Chief Technology Officer of Tapin.GG is a company that specializes in the process of boosting a player’s Valorant.

Additionally, you need to check the segmentation of your network. You likely partitioned your network when you first started putting it together. Companies take these precautions to stop breaches from spreading to other servers or websites. If you’ve already done this, you should evaluate how well your segmentations are working.

Work With Forensics Experts

It is expected that the forensics team you have assembled will be able to direct your efforts to patch security holes. They will inform you whether security precautions such as encryption were in place at the time the breach was discovered. You will need to investigate the logs and backup data in order to determine who had access to the system at the time of the security breach.

Do not be afraid to bring in experts for assistance in cleaning up the mess that a data breach has caused if you find that you need to do so. Jeremy Stanton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Haven House Addiction Treatment, suggests that “you may need all the help that you can get.”

Collaborate with forensics professionals to compile a list of all of the individuals who can currently access your data in their system. When you’ve finished making the list, the next step is to decide who needs access to what. If there are people who should not have access, you should begin restricting access accordingly.

Notify Appropriate Parties

Notifying all relevant parties of the damage that has been done is an essential part of the process that must be followed in the aftermath of a data breach. You will want to have an understanding of the legal requirements regarding who exactly must be notified about the breach. It is important to check both state and federal laws because all states and territories in the United States have passed legislation that requires notification.

“Not only is it unethical, but it is also against the law to keep a data breach a secret from others. Max Ade, the CEO of Pickleheads, notes that as part of your post-data-leak procedure, you are required to notify any parties that were affected.

Your situation may be subject to additional laws and regulations, but this will depend on the specifics of the data breach that occurred. Maintain close communication with the members of your legal team to ensure that you are taking all of the necessary actions.

Notify Law Enforcement

As soon as the breach occurs, you should immediately notify the police department in your area about the loss of data. Explain to them the particulars of your situation, including whether or not there is any possibility that your identity could be stolen. If you notify law enforcement immediately, they will be able to be more thorough in their efforts to reduce potential security risks.

“Check to see that the law enforcement in your area has the resources necessary to deal with the magnitude of the data breach.” According to Seth Besse, Chief Executive Officer of Undivided, “you’ll need to go higher if they aren’t accustomed to dealing with issues related to cybersecurity.”

Information compromises are not going to be something that all police departments are going to be familiar with. If this is the case, you should get in touch with the nearest office of the FBI or the Secret Service in the United States. If your incident involved the theft of mail, you are also required to notify the United States Postal Inspection Service.

Read More: Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity: Is Your Data Really Safe in 2023?

If Health Records Were Involved

If the data breach involved electronic personal health records, then you need to determine whether or not the Health Breach Notification Rule applies to your situation. In that case, you are required to inform the Federal Trade Commission. It would be best if you also evaluated whether or not the involvement of the media would be appropriate, given the circumstances.

You never want to be involved in anything that could put patients’ medical records at risk. According to Andrew Mavis, the Chief Executive Officer of 98Strong, this is the most concerning type of data leak and requires the most diligent response.

When it comes to handling data breaches, extra caution is required when dealing with medical records. It would be best if you also determined whether or not the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule covers you. Because of this, the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services ought to be informed of the situation.

Recovering From a Data Breach

There aren’t many businesses that intentionally put themselves in the path of a major data breach incident. Nevertheless, it is something that must be planned for by every company. The way in which a business reacts to a data breach can have a significant impact on the company’s liability, reputation, and ability to continue operating normally.

“Even if you hide a key under the rug for the police to find, a thief can find it just as easily. Hackers are making use of all the technological resources at their disposal in order to break into people’s accounts. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, has been quoted as saying, “If they know there’s a key hidden somewhere, they won’t stop until they find it.”