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
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
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
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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