Experiencing a data breach is never a good or pleasant experience and, just like the hundreds of other businesses that fall victim to a data breach, your data and records can easily be exposed. Unsurprisingly, cyber attacks are not a new phenomenon and they are constantly being reported on in the news. Huge businesses regularly find themselves trying to recover from irreversible losses in both data and reputation after believing that they had implemented a foolproof data breach response plan. 

It’s now no longer a question of whether you suffer a data breach, it’s more a question of when. Nearly 50% of small businesses claimed that they had suffered a cyber attack last year. This then raises the question as to how your respond and contain a breach and the answer is to create a data breach response plan. 

Preparing for the unexpected when it comes to a data breach can be daunting for a business. Before you implement a data breach response plan, it’s important to learn more about what a data breach is and how to create a data breach response plan. 


What Is A Data Breach Response Plan? 

A data breach response plan is a clear, written set of guidelines as to what your team should do to prepare for, identify, respond and recover from a cyber attack. A data breach response plan should address the problems that all departments within your business may encounter, including HR, finance, marketing or IT. It is your business’s plan for the unpredictable. 

Each data breach response plan is unique to each business, but each data breach response plan should ideally contain the following:

  • A designated breach response leader, who will be a member of the team responsible for the implementation of the response steps.
  • A definition of what a data breach is. 
  • Contact details for each person on the breach response team. 
  • Details of the procedure or service used to identify the root cause of the data breach. 
  • Steps detailing how to secure the affected systems or devices, whilst ensuring that any evidence is preserved. 
  • A list of remedies that should be offered to individuals if their details are leaked as the result of a data breach.

A data breach response plan provides a plan which allows your business to quickly and competently respond to a data breach event. 


5 Steps To Creating A Data Breach Response Plan

Put Together Your Incident Response Team

A cyber attack doesn’t just affect your devices and IT infrastructure – it affects your whole business. This is why it’s important to put together an incident response team that includes at least one employee from each department within your business within your data breach response plan and who you would identify as crucial in the event of dealing with a cyber attack. 

You should, of course, start with your IT department whilst also letting us know as soon as you identify any signs of a cyber breach, and work through the different departments. In the event that client data is stolen, your HR and PR departments, if applicable, will be best placed to deal with notifying those affected and assisting with any queries. 


Identify Vulnerabilities

No matter how good you believe your proactive cyber security measures are, it’s important to assume that there may still be remaining areas where cyber criminals could infiltrate your business and include these within your data breach response plan. At CYFOR Secure, we work with businesses to identify these vulnerabilities with regular monitoring and surveillance to ensure that the risk to your business is minimal. 

You may also find that, like a lot of businesses, the biggest vulnerability within your business is your employees, so be sure to consider training and education within your team if this is the case for certain types of cyber attacks, such as phishing simulations

Identifying the most critical areas of your website will allow these areas to be prioritised in the event of a cyber breach and this should also be mentioned in your data breach response plan. Then, our cyber response team can act quickly to contain and limit any consequences as a result of this area of your site being targeted during an attack. 


Use External Cyber Security Experts

No matter if you have your own IT team in place, the consequences of a cyber security attack could be so extensive that you may require external cyber security experts to help to remedy the situation. This is where we come in. We can provide a team that you can trust and rely on to help with providing cyber incident response when you need it as part of your data breach response plan.

We can also look to carry out data backups so that all your crucial documents and information is well-protected. For more information on our cyber security services, or to arrange a consultation, please contact our team today. 


Implement A Communication Strategy

In the event of a cyber attack, communication is key. It’s important that, as part of your data breach response plan, you implement a communication strategy. As part of this, there are some things which you should consider implementing, including:

  • Who do you need to notify in the event of a breach?
  • Do you need to notify any public or government authorities?
  • Do you have a deadline that you need to report the incident by? 

Within a data breach response plan, you should also include at which point you need to notify your clients in the event of an attack, as well as any partners or shareholders. If the cyber attack is serious and is at risk of becoming newsworthy, then you need to have some form of public statement ready to go. These types of cyber attacks need to be handled as carefully as possible as they are a highly sensitive topic which, if not handled correctly, could lead to tremendous reputational damage. 


Test And Regularly Update Your Response Plan

Although you can’t necessarily test your data breach response plan when there is no incident, you can however create an environment in which it can be tested to a moderate extreme. This can allow you to find and identify any vulnerabilities or weaknesses and modify your data breach response plan accordingly. It’s important to regularly revisit and review your data breach response plan, or ask our team to carry out an analysis, to ensure that you are keeping up with the latest recommendations and are following best practices. 


In Conclusion

The stability of your business is, of course, determined by many different factors, but in today’s fast-paced digital environment, preparing for a potential cyber attack is important. As a business, you should not be ignoring the sheer scale and sophistication of cyber attacks and breaches as, without a data breach response plan, your business could suffer huge consequences in the event of an attack.