No organisation wants to suffer a data breach, but cases of a data breach occurring should always be treated as inevitable; not a matter of if but a matter of when.
If customer data is breached, studies have shown that this leads to a decrease in customer trust and ultimately a loss of existing or new business. How you deal with a breach after the fact can make or break your bottom line. It’s crucial that every organisation has a plan in the event a data breach occurs and to ensure that every employee is fully briefed and knows the role they have to play to minimise the impact.
Here are four key steps to factor into your plan:
Understand the root of the issue
- Following a data breach it is critical to determine what went wrong. Was the breach caused by a malicious outsider (for example a hacker)? Or was it an innocent slip-up from your own employee? If no effort is taken to locate the cause of the breach, the chances of it occurring again are high so one of the best ways to decrease the chances of a recurring data breach is to get to the root of the issue.
- Now that you have found the root cause of the breach, the next step is creating a solution. So, what’s the best way to win back the trust of the people affected by the breach? Show them immediate steps to take, like changing their passwords or ensuring all paper documents are shredded. While it may be a time-consuming task, a sweep of the entire security system would ultimately ensure every single piece of data that was compromised is identified and that no other systems would have been affected by the breach.
- A commonly overlooked step is for the organisation to accept responsibility for the data breach occurring in the first place. A formal apology should be issued to affected individuals with an acknowledgement of what went wrong. Announce the next steps that your organisation will be taking while being transparent during the process. This will demonstrated that your organisation is trustworthy and will help restore faith to the overall image of your company in the eyes of the affected users and the general public. When possible, preparing special offers for the affected parties in the situation should also be part of post-breach communications.
Bring in a Third Party Security Professional
- The very fact that a data breach occurred while using your current security system shows that it’s time for a change. Your organisation will need someone who can improve the systems in place and fortunately, there are plenty of security professionals who are qualified for this task. A major plus point of engaging a third party is that they will be unbiased in identifying the various flaws in your systems and processes that could make them vulnerable in order to remedy the situation and help ensure a data breach does not happen again.
Data breaches can be damaging but by taking the right steps after they occur, the repercussions can be significantly reduced and long term damage minimised. A good place to start in physical data breach prevention is by implementing a Shred-it All Policy where all paper documents are securely destroyed at the end of their useful life. Once documents are shredded, there is no worry about them ending up in the wrong hands.
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To learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and hard drives, please contact us to get a free quote and security risk assessment.