Data breaches have become an unwelcome part of doing business in the digital age. They cost time and money for recovery and cause reputational damage due to lost customer trust. Fortunately, with the right prevention measures and an effective data breach recovery plan, your business can protect itself.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss what a data breach is, how you can identify one, the steps you need to take to recover, and how you can prevent future events.
What Is a Data Breach?
To put it simply, a data breach occurs when an unauthorized individual or group gains access to a company’s sensitive data, such as financial records, customer information, or intellectual property. Cybercriminals typically use malicious software (malware) to gain access to the data, though they can also exploit vulnerabilities in the system or use stolen login credentials. 422 million people were impacted by data breaches in 2022—if you haven’t been affected yet, you need to start preparing now.
The Cost of a Data Breach: Are You Prepared?
Data breaches can be incredibly costly for businesses. According to a study conducted by IBM Security, the global average cost of a data breach has risen to a staggering $4.35 million. This figure includes direct costs such as legal fees and lost business from customers who no longer trust the company due to their security issues. It also includes indirect costs associated with reputational damage and increased staff workloads during recovery efforts.
Ransomware attacks, which lock users out of their systems until they pay a fee, are also becoming increasingly common and expensive, with the average cost of a ransomware attack rising by 71% in 2022.
How to Discover a Potential Data Breach
The first step in recovering from a data breach is to discover it. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t realize they’ve been breached until months after the fact. To prevent this, companies should monitor their networks for suspicious activity and regularly perform audits to ensure all systems are secure. Additionally, businesses should update their security protocols by introducing two-factor authentication (2FA) and patching software regularly.
Our Guide to Data Breach Recovery
If a breach occurs, it’s important to act quickly. Here are some steps to take right away:
Contain the breach. This means isolating the affected computer or network and unplugging any external devices connected to it to prevent the hacker from spreading the virus to other computers.
Alert authorities and insurance providers immediately. This is one of the most critical steps in the aftermath of a data breach. Notify local law enforcement and your cyber insurance provider as soon as possible to minimize the damage and find the help you need to recover from a data breach.
Assess the damage. Identify what was compromised, who was affected, and where the data went to determine the extent of the damage caused by the breach. This step may require hiring a professional data recovery team or IT firm to investigate the cause of the breach and determine what steps must be taken to mitigate future risks.
Start recovery efforts right away. Restore or recreate any lost documents or files that were affected by the breach; this may involve restoring systems from a backup copy or recreating deleted SQL databases. It may also require hiring an IT professional to help.
Implement additional security measures. Two-factor authentication, encryption, and regular vulnerability scanning keep your system better protected against future data breaches. Consider hiring an outside firm to perform a more thorough evaluation of your security and implement additional measures based on their recommendations.
Notify individuals whose data was affected by the breach. Inform them of the steps that are being taken to protect their information in the future. Include two-factor authentication as part of an educational program about phishing attacks so they can learn how to identify suspected phishing emails and report those attacks before your network is infected with ransomware or other malware.
Monitor your system regularly for any signs of further intrusions or attempts to access your data. Implement sniffer software that permits monitoring of all traffic going across your network. Stop suspicious traffic at its source (at the router), install antivirus software on every computer, use firewalls, configure routers properly, and make sure all security measures are updated and monitored for effectiveness.
Beyond Data Breach Recovery: Tips for Future Prevention
No matter how thorough your data breach recovery efforts are, preventing future data breaches is crucial for protecting your business from costly losses down the road.
Start by segmenting your network into separate zones or subnets so attackers can’t freely move between different parts of your system once they gain access through one point of entry. Create separate zones for internet-facing applications, intranet applications, sensitive data, and management services.
Monitor all user activity on your networks and limit user privileges to only what is needed for their daily job function. You should also monitor your network perimeter devices for any attempts to probe the security of your systems. Additionally, you should restrict access and only allow employees to view data relevant to their role.
Finally, make sure all devices on your network are up to date with antivirus software and regularly patch vulnerabilities to keep devices secure against cyberattacks. This is especially important for Internet of Things devices, such as smart TVs and thermostats.
PCI Booking Can Help You Stay Secure
We understand how vital it is for businesses today to not only stay protected from threats, but recover quickly when breaches occur. That’s why we are dedicated to helping you create robust security protocols in your payment processing systems. Contact us today to find out how PCI Booking can lock down your sensitive information.