Things You Should Do Before and After a Cybersecurity Breach

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Cybersecurity continues to be a significant challenge for both individuals and organizations. When you think you have a handle on the situation, cybercriminals step up their game. The increasing sophistication of the attacks is a primary concern for industry players.

A 2019 Microsoft digital defense report shows areas of concern. Cybercriminals use techniques that make them very hard to spot. In that year, the company blocked over 3 billion suspicious and malicious emails. Ransomware, credential harvesting, reconnaissance, malware, and VPN exploits were the most common methods.

Hackers spend a lot of time exploring areas of vulnerabilities to exploit. Yet, the reality for anyone in the digital space is, cyber breaches can happen anytime. It pays to know how to protect yourself and recover from such situations.

Our article explores things you should do before and after a cybersecurity breach. Let’s dive into it.

Steps to Take Before a Cyber-Security Breach

Cybersecurity starts with you, whether as an individual or an organization. You need to prepare against possible attacks. You must also protect your data and networks. You can do this by: –

1. Securing Your Network

Consider it an investment to install the right security measures. Such include anti-malware, anti-ransomware, and antivirus protection. It is crucial to find the proper protection depending on your industry. 

Industrial companies will have different needs from, say, a marketing company. The former, have complex networks comprising hundreds, if not thousands, of interactive connections. Such connections use IoT for massive data movement within the systems. 

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The security concern would be to ensure data safety, availability, and reliability. For security solutions, the organization should go with reputable ICS security vendors

Make sure to check their ICS security portfolio so you know you’re working with dependable professionals. Being able to have professionals take care of your security needs will add another layer of assurance that your network is secure.

2. Ensure Protection for Devices and Files

There are specific processes that you must incorporate into your routine. They include:-

  • Updating your software to the latest version. You get the latest security features. The developers also fix patches that could give hackers a way into your systems.
  • Back up essential documents to external hard drives or secure cloud facilities
  • Encrypt files so that only the person with the decryption key can access the information
  • Combine passwords with multi-factor authentication. It makes it harder for hackers to crack your code.

3. Make Cyber-Security Everyone’s Concern

Cybersecurity is no longer a concern for the IT department only. Everyone within the organization must play an active role. Companies should put the following measures into place. 

  • Have a security policy that highlights what to do before and after a breach 
  • Staff training on cybersecurity is critical. They should know the type of threats, how to identify them, and what to do in case of a breach. A good idea is to have practice drills, where the company simulates attack situations. Think of it much like you would a fire drill
  • Establish an internal response team that consists of staff members from each department
  • Understand legislation around cybersecurity in your area. You could face stiff penalties if you do not take the right action after a breach. The law may, for example, need you to communicate with victims within a specific time. 

Steps to Take After a Cyber-Security Breach

Your worst nightmare has come true, and there has been a cyber-security breach. If you took the step of having a security policy in place, you will find it helpful.

So what steps should you take to deal with cybersecurity breaches?

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1. Determine the Cause and Extent of the Breach

The first step requires the IT team, in-house response team, and security experts. You need to understand the cause, extent, and potential damage the breach could cause. 

A loss of client information, for example, can be devastating to an organization. You may, in this case, need to contact the client immediately. 

If you determine a malware attack, you will need to remove it from the system. But first, you must isolate it so that it does not infect the rest of your system. The professionals may also recommend a proper system audit. It helps to determine whether you have suitable security in place. 

2. Communicate the Situation to Relevant Stakeholders

Depending on the breach severity, let relevant stakeholders know what is happening. Such include the authorities, employees, business partners, clients, and even media. 

Avoid the unnecessary panic by only sharing information with those who need to know. Acknowledge the incident and take responsibility by being transparent. 

Also, highlight measures you are taking to ensure the situation does not occur again.

3. Beef Up Your Security 

A cybersecurity breach means that you need to beef up your security solutions. As we have stated, cybercriminals are always working hard to improve their attacks. Security Solutions that may have been a challenge last year may be child’s play this year. 

Get advice from professionals. They will share information on the latest security trends, threats, and what you can do.

Bring employees up to date by retraining them on cybersecurity. Use the learnings from the security breach as reference material. It provides an excellent case study. You get to see the successes and failures of the security measures you have in place. 

Steps To Take For Individual Victims

If you are a victim of a data breach, there are specific steps you need to take.

  • Contact the company that had a breach resulting in your information landing in the wrong hands. It helps to know what steps they are taking to safeguard your data. 
  • Change every password you have. Also, avoid having one password for all your accounts
  • Notify the relevant parties that you’re a victim of a data breach. Such include credit Bureaus, credit card companies, banks, and even your employer. The extent of the damage will also determine whether you need to make a police report. 
  • Keep a close eye on your accounts to see if there are any unusual activities.

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Final Thoughts 

Cybersecurity is a critical consideration for anyone using the digital space. Individuals and companies must take the proper measures to protect themselves. 

We have looked at some of the things you need to do before a cyber-security breach. Remember, security starts with you. So, educate yourself on everything there is to know so that you stay safe.

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