In our digital economy, conducting business requires the transfer and storage of an increasing amount of data. Companies know a great deal about their customers, who are mostly willing to entrust multiple organizations with their personal information. However, this trust places a larger responsibility on companies to secure their data and protect it from hackers.
If not addressed properly, a data breach can be a devastating blow to a business. It could shatter consumer confidence and permanently stunt sales numbers.
But, as with any other disaster, the key is proper preparation and an agile data breach response. There is a great deal that all companies can do to dissuade hackers and minimize the damage that they inflict. While large organizations make for attractive targets, companies of all sizes are at risk.
Step 1: Preparation
If companies are going to protect their customers from identity theft as a result of a data breach, they need to develop a plan of action before any such incident occurs, so they have a playbook to reference immediately.
First, craft the blueprint of a plan. This will involve identifying which data stores are the most vulnerable and desirable to thieves.
Next, businesses must involve multiple departments in the formulation of the response plan, from IT and Operations to Legal and Public Relations. Assigning people to individual roles will help to prevent panic and confusion from setting if a breach occurs.
Finally, run through emergency scenarios so that all parties are as prepared as they can be to provide a strong data breach response. This will be especially valuable in creating response messages regarding confirmed data breaches. There's no such thing as being too prepared.
Step 2: Execution
No company wants to be caught unawares during a data breach. Organizations must figure out what is happening as soon as they can.
Investing in network forensics allows businesses to monitor traffic in real time and store data packets to be analyzed after the fact. This could make it easier for system analysts to determine the source of a breach as it happens, and it also create data logs that will be reviewable later on for a broader picture of what occurred.
An important benefit of having these systems and a coherent plan in place is that it is easier to identify whether activity is a data breach or simply a glitch in the system. A significant component of executing on a plan is avoiding false alarms.
Step 3: Response
The most important thing a business can do after it suffers a data breach is to ensure clear communication with all stakeholders, including the customers who may have been affected. Many may be looking to the company to provide a personal identity theft protection service so they can monitor their records and credit files for any identity misuse. The sooner the company provides this service and the customers enroll, the better off they will be, which is why organizations have a duty to come forward with information and a solution as soon as possible.
Companies should be prepared to offer accurate information to authorities and customers without delay. This can make a difference in the data breach response plan being a success or something to improve before another breach occurs.
Contact the Identity Guard Business Solutions team today to learn more about setting up a breach response plan and how offering identity theft protection to customers after a breach could help mitigate damage to your brand and company.