A business owner’s guide to responding to a security incident

A business owner’s guide to responding to a security incident

No matter how secure businesses think their IT infrastructure is, it's still at risk of data breaches. But while online threats are becoming more sophisticated these days, the effects of cyberattacks on your Alabama company can be mitigated with a proper incident response plan.

What’s an incident response plan?

An incident response plan enables organizations to quickly respond to a cyberattack. It outlines a systematic approach to contain cybersecurity incidents and protect a business’s reputation, revenue, and data.

When creating your incident response plan, make sure to involve your IT, legal, and risk management teams, and make their roles clear. You also have to establish a clear action plan that involves six crucial steps:

1. Identification

The first thing you need to do is determine if a data breach has actually occurred. Depending on the cyberattack, signs can range from subtle to obvious. For instance, if your PCs are infected with ransomware, your desktop background will change to a ransom note and your files will become encrypted. However, some malware variants may be harder to detect, so you may not notice any obvious signs at first.

To check for suspicious activities, you can use the proactive monitoring services of managed IT services providers (MSPs). With their help, you'll be able to immediately detect issues, analyze the nature of the breach, and assess the damages caused. A trusted MSP like F1 Solutions can scan for problems in your IT infrastructure round-the-clock so no security issue goes undetected.

2. Containment

The next step is to prevent the threat from causing further damage. While some businesses would delete all affected files to stop the breach from propagating, doing so will only prevent you from properly identifying how the incident started and blocking similar attacks in the future.

Instead, here are some of the things you should do:

  • Disable your network to prevent malware from spreading even further.
  • Disconnect affected devices.
  • Require your staff to update their login credentials.
  • Use backup servers and workstations if possible.
  • Keep activity logs from the time of breach.
  • Reassess employees’ data access privileges.
  • Apply all software updates and security patches.

3. Eradication

After containing the breach, you need to eliminate the root of the problem. This means removing malware, strengthening firewalls, and setting stricter access restrictions, among other things.

To minimize the chances of cyberattacks, you can consult with security experts such as F1 Solutions. Our professional team is not only ready to help you get your business back on its feet, but also to prevent the same threats from compromising your IT infrastructure.

4. Recovery

This involves restoring affected devices and systems to their normal business environment. During this stage, it’s important to ensure that your IT infrastructure will not suffer another breach.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are my systems patched and tested against cyberthreats?
  • Can I restore from a trusted backup?
  • What tools can I use to ensure that similar attacks will not occur in the future?
  • How long should I monitor affected systems? What problems should I look for?

5. Breach notification

Alabama law mandates businesses that handle sensitive personally identifying information to notify residents that a data breach may have compromised their data.

Make sure you:

  • Develop a communication strategy that will detail the message you will convey to your customers and stakeholders after a data breach.
  • Send emails explaining how the breach occurred, what data was stolen, what actions your business has taken, and what your clients and partners need to do.
  • Create an FAQ page for affected parties.
  • Release a press statement about what caused the breach.

6. Review

The final step in your incident response plan is evaluating how your company handled the crisis and discussing solutions to ensure it never happens again.

For instance, if you realized that your company took too long to respond to a data breach, you may need to invest in better security tools or partner with reliable MSPs such as F1 Solutions. Take this time to remind your employees of their roles during security incidents and train them on cybersecurity best practices.

Need help fortifying your IT infrastructure’s protection against data breaches? F1 Solutions can lend a hand. Our IT services will minimize downtime, improve productivity, and maximize security so you can focus on growing your business. To learn more about our managed services, download our FREE eBook today.

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