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Why You Should Expect a Data Breach (and What to Do When It Happens)

Data Breach 

Recent events that compromised huge amounts of private details indicate you shouldn't consider a data breach a "what if" matter. Understand that experts warn that data breaches are inevitable.

Technology and infrastructures are changing rapidly, making it impossible to find and fix all vulnerabilities. Plus, hackers are becoming increasingly skilled and often employ new tactics.

Many companies take a reactive approach to data breaches, revealing they didn't have plans to implement after a breach. You can plan ahead with the below suggestions on how to respond if your data has been compromised.

Determine the Scope of the Attack

Immediately after discovering your data was compromised, take decisive steps to determine exactly what was stolen. The answers you uncover will help you understand the seriousness of the matter. For example, if people's names were the only things stolen, the situation is not as severe as it would be if you discover credit card information was snatched.

Promptly Communicate With Affected Parties

It's essential to quickly inform individuals who may have been directly affected by a data breach. When Target suffered a huge data breach that compromised customer credit card details, people found out courtesy of an investigative journalist, leaving the retailer scrambling to catch up.

An Anthem data breach became worse when the health insurer waited too long to tell customers the news. The number of affected customers almost doubled because of the company's communication delay. Hopefully you can learn valuable insight from past blunders.

Contact Legal Experts About the Dilemma

Some people balk at hiring legal experts after data breaches because they believe the matter will blow over soon, and they worry about the associated expense with depending on a legal team. The average cost of a data breach is $5.4 million, but the total expenses could be much more if you make careless mistakes due to not consulting legal professionals.

Depending on the scope of the data breach, you could be hit with thousands of lawsuits from irate customers. It's important to have a shortlist of legal experts who specialize in data breaches and feel confident about contacting them at a moment's notice. Generally, it's better to have a legal team in place early on, especially since your situation can quickly change.

Document Everything You Do and Say

From the moment you discover a data breach has occurred, begin keeping careful documentation about every step you take, as well as the things you say. Your recorded information could help you prove the actions you took if they're ever questioned.

There are many important steps to take during the aftermath of a data breach, documentation shouldn't be neglected. It can also prevent different staff members from tackling the same tasks while working to resolve the crisis.

Work to Win Back People's Trust

If not handled promptly, data breaches could speedily and permanently harm your reputation, so it's wise to encourage customers to trust you again. Although well-spoken phrases and genuine sentiment can help, it's also essential to approach the issue with clear actions that show customers you're committed to preventing future data breaches.

You may publish a press release that lists the precise actions you've taken to tighten security. If you've hired a top firm to assess and improve the situation, mention it. Tell customers you'll pay their costs to use an identity protection service or offer a similar incentive that demonstrates you care about protecting their personal details.

If you don't plan for data breaches before they happen, you'll almost certainly be scrambling to make amends, and you may waste precious time. The steps above offer a useful framework for taking assertive action.

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About the Author

Kayla Matthews is a tech-loving blogger who writes and edits ProductivityBytes.com. Follow her on Twitter to read all of her latest posts! 

Image by Markus Spiske

Published Tuesday, January 03, 2017 8:03 AM by David Marshall
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