Few things are scarier for a modern business to consider than the idea that they will be hacked, regardless of that business’ size or industry. After all, hacking can, will, and does cause significant damage across basically all aspects of your organization. This is precisely why it is so important that—should a business be hacked—the proper steps are taken in response.
Your first step needs to be getting a handle on the situation at hand. While hacking on any scale is a bad thing to experience, cutting it off as quickly as possible will serve you well. Here are a few steps that you need to take in order to do so:
Contact Your IT Provider IMMEDIATELY
If your IT provider is anything like us, they are more than likely aware of something happening on your network if they are monitoring it closely. That said, you’ll want to notify them immediately if you are suspicious of malevolent activity.
Depending on what the issue is, IT will take specific actions to remove the threat, mitigate the damage, and then harden your network to prevent it from happening. Threats can sometimes be removed easily, or it could take a lot of hunting to chase down the cause of the problem if it isn’t being done proactively.
Here’s an example of a nightmare recovery scenario. IT may decide it’s best to take the nuclear option and wipe all affected devices completely before restoring them from a data backup. Doing so should remove the chance that a lingering threat could continue causing problems. We strongly recommend that you reach out to us for assistance with this, as we’ve seen plenty of cases where the business goes through an intense amount of labor only to experience the same hack after everything is back online. It has to be done carefully, and it has to be done correctly, and even then, the risks are still there.
Once that’s been accomplished, you need to be sure that all of your cybersecurity protections are fully updated and that you are as secure as possible. Check your firewalls, antivirus, spam protection, everything.
Seek Out Assistance
Many small businesses fully place their IT issues (or more accurately, dealing with them) on their staff members. Obviously, this isn’t a good situation. For a business’ purposes, it is much better to have a professional, dedicated resource to answer any questions your team has. A solid and reliable expert, like the ones that we employ here at Jackson Thornton Technologies, can be key to making it through these kinds of situations in the best position possible.
Be Prepared to Inform Clients and Prospects
Finally, we come to the last (but by no means least) part of making it through a cybersecurity incident: disclosing it. Of all of your interactions with your clientele or staff, this is the time when clarity and concision is most crucial. Bring everyone up to speed on the situation, what the possible ramifications are, and what needs to be done next to minimize the damage the event ultimately causes.
The hard truth of the matter is that you will ultimately lose some people when this happens. Of course you will. While the data practices of some people in their personal lives are questionable at best, the onus is still on you if they’ve entrusted you with the same data… and they’re not wrong. This means that you are accountable, and therefore need to be open and forthcoming with anyone involved. Every state and most industries have their own rules and requirements for data privacy, so you’ll want to understand exactly how you need to handle the communication involved with a data breach disclosure, based on what information was potentially breached.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Granted, these tips won’t help much if you’re already struggling through a breach event… but they will help you prepare for any you may face in the future. Taking the initiative to be proactive in implementing your protections and enforcing best practices will only boost your essential protections during this time (and trust us, the risks that today’s online workplace presents make these kinds of boosts necessary),
For assistance with your cybersecurity protections and the rest of your IT, you can always lean on us. Learn more about our services by calling (334) 834-7660 today.