What to do in a serious data breach

Paul Webster Advice, Cybersecurity

In today’s computerised world, serious data breaches are becoming all too common. It’s becoming a case of “if” not “when” as cyber-attacks sky rocket. Over the past few years, many organisations have fallen victim to these lapses in security; including public institutions like the NHS. It’s essential to know what to do should the worst happen, so here are a few tips on how to deal with a serious data breach.

Be honest with your customers

It’s essential to be upfront with your customers about just how bad the damage is. Not only because it’s in line with GDPR requirements but because it’s the right thing to do. If their data is at risk, you have an obligation to tell them. And to tell them what you’re doing to resolve the situation. Keeping customers in the dark will likely make it all the more difficult to deal with if the situation escalates. After all, if people find out you’ve been keeping vital information from them, what reason do they have to trust you? Honesty and integrity are important to the survival of any business, even in difficult times.

Understand the cause of the issue

To make sure a serious incident doesn’t happen again, you need to know the root cause of the breach. Was it outdated software? Old computers? Or was it an honest mistake by an employee who opened a dodgy email by mistake? Whatever the cause, a thorough investigation has to take place. After this, you need to implement measures to make sure a serious data breach doesn’t happen again. This includes changing passwords and getting to work on a long-term plan to combat both external and internal flaws in your security.

Take a proactive approach

It’s all well and good responding to a data breach after it’s happened. But wouldn’t it be better to have a proactive approach to data security that helps to ensure that breaches don’t happen in the first place? By regularly testing your security systems and keeping everyone in your business educated on how to avoid creating breaches, you can take the first steps towards combating a data breach. This isn’t just a one-off event though. Protecting against breaches is a long-term issue that requires consistent measures.

A serious data breach can be a business nightmare. It can risk not only your business’s reputation but also its very survival. That’s why dealing with serious data breaches calmly, professionally, and with a real plan is essential to the future of your business.