“I’ve been hacked, what do I do?” It is a statement that many business owners wish they would never have to say. However, the reality is that on average a UK (United Kingdom) Business is targeted in a Cyber Attack every 1 Minute, 81% of businesses who are targeted are Small to Medium Sized Businesses and at least 1 in 5 businesses will be subject to a successful attack. 39% of UK businesses have confirmed some form of Cyber Attack on their business thus far in 2023.
Discovering a cyber breach in your business can be overwhelmingly distressing. The ramifications, both financially and reputationally, can be extensive. Nevertheless, businesses can efficiently manage and recover from such setbacks by taking structured and informed steps. So, how should businesses react post-hack? Let us explore this in more detail:
1. Stay Calm and Don't Panic
The initial reaction upon discovering a breach might be panic. However, it's imperative to keep a clear head. A hasty decision made in fear can aggravate the situation. By remaining composed, you can better assess the situation, make informed decisions, and communicate more effectively with your team.
2. Engage Cyber Security Professionals
While it might seem tempting to quickly find a solution yourself, this is not advisable. Cyber security professionals such as ourselves, possess the expertise to evaluate the magnitude of the breach thoroughly, assist in salvaging any compromised data, restore data and backups and fortify your systems against future threats. Their intervention can be the difference between a contained incident and a full-blown catastrophe.
3. Follow Your Incident Response Plan
For those businesses with a proactive mindset, an Incident Response Plan (IRP) might already be in place. Such plans typically encompass key contacts to notify, steps for immediate mitigation, and strategies for communication with customers, clients and other stakeholders. If you lack such a plan, take this event as an urgent reminder to prepare one, as this can be a blueprint for managing future incidents.
4. Document Everything
It is not just about fixing the issue; it is about understanding how it occurred. Keeping a meticulous record of events related to the breach from initial signs to steps taken for mitigation, all of these can prove invaluable and potentially essential. This documentation not only assists authorities and regulatory bodies in potential investigations but also guides future risk assessments, ensuring you are better prepared for future attacks.
5. Isolate Affected Systems
As soon as a breach is identified, it’s critical to contain it. By disconnecting affected devices or systems from the network, you halt the potential spread of malicious software or further data extraction, buying precious time to devise a recovery strategy.
6. Notify Regulatory Bodies and Authorities
In the UK, certain regulations mandate the reporting of breaches. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), for instance, requires businesses to notify the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) within 72 hours if personal data is compromised. It is not just about compliance; informing authorities like the ICO and Action Fraud can also provide avenues for advice and support.
7. Inform Customers and the Public
It's often said that in business, trust is harder to build than to destroy. By openly communicating about the breach, its implications, and the corrective measures being taken, you uphold a semblance of trust with your customers/clients. Customers appreciate transparency and guidance on how they can protect themselves in the aftermath, especially if action may be required on their part to further protect their business and data.
8. Review and Reinforce
Post-incident, a thorough analysis is vital. Understanding how the breach transpired and identifying vulnerabilities is the cornerstone of fortifying your business for the future. Conducting regular Cyber Security Health Assessments, Penetration Tests, User Training and regularly updating your systems ensures you remain a step ahead of potential threats. Building a comprehensive cyber security strategy with the relevant software and solutions in place to protect your business from future threats is essential in mitigating potential cyber risks.
9. Develop a PR Strategy
Beyond the immediate cyber threat, the lingering danger to a hacked business is reputational damage. For some businesses, developing a robust PR strategy can help address public concerns, manage negative press, and reaffirm your commitment to data security and customer trust.
10. Consider Cyber Insurance
Lastly, in an era where cyber threats are constantly evolving, cyber insurance emerges as a prudent safeguard for your business. Such policies can help buffer financial losses from hacks, allowing businesses to recover more efficiently.
If you have discovered that your business has suffered a Cyber Attack Contact Us, our expert team of Cyber Security professionals can work with your business to help you recover from an attack, provide advice and put solutions in place to mitigate future attacks.
While the immediate aftermath of a cyber attack is undeniably stressful, businesses that respond with transparency, strategy, and a commitment to improvement stand a good chance of not just recovering but thriving in the long run. Preventative measures, continuous training, and robust cyber security infrastructure remain the best defence against the world of ever-evolving cyber threats today.
To find out if your business is protected against the latest Cyber Security threats, take our FREE Cyber Health Check below.