5 Keys to Responding to a Cybersecurity Incident

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Cybersecurity risks have risen considerably in recent years. Nevertheless, many companies are not prepared for a data breach or a ransomware attack. These adverse events could cripple your business temporarily, which can have long-term effects on your company’s reputation and customer loyalty. Prevention is paramount; however, even with great protection you could still be a victim of a cyberattack. How should you respond to a cybersecurity incident, and how can IT consulting services help you get ready?

5 Keys to Responding to a Cybersecurity Incident

1. Have a Response Plan Ready

You cannot adequately respond to a cybersecurity incident if you don’t have a clear plan in place. Just as you should have a plan for what to do in the event of a disaster like a fire, so too should you have a protocol for cybersecurity incidents. This plan should include step-by-step instructions for various associates so that you can mitigate damage and restore order as soon as possible. What steps should you include in your cybersecurity event response plan?

First, it’s essential to have a clear chain of command and communication. Associates need to know whom to report to if they detect a potential risk. Next, your team needs to know exactly what to do. An IT expert, for instance, may be called on to disconnect servers from the network to prevent the spread of malware. Meanwhile, other associates may be instructed to disconnect external storage devices or change passwords. Practice your plan before an attack occurs.

2. Early Detection Is Vital

Cybersecurity is very similar to healthcare: The earlier a problem can be detected, the easier it is to treat. How can you quickly detect cybersecurity threats and neutralize them? 24/7 network monitoring software is an excellent solution that can detect unusual patterns of activity on your network and alert your cybersecurity team immediately. With specialized algorithms, these tools can learn from your typical network usage and spot deviations. A sudden massive file transfer or off-hour access could be halted automatically.

Email continues to be the main vector of attack for cyber criminals. Email monitoring tools can also help you detect malicious attachments or potential phishing attacks so that your associates don’t make the mistake of falling for a trap. IT consulting services can set up these tools and monitor your company’s security remotely. Working with managed IT services means that you get an instant response, even when your staff is out of the office.

3. Limit Damage by Taking Action

Once the alarm has sounded, your associates need to take quick action to minimize the damage of a data breach or cyberattack. The exact response may vary depending on the type of incident. For example, if one of your team members opens a malicious attachment and has allowed a malware program to run on their computer, the best course of action may be to shut down that machine immediately and isolate it from your network.

Alternatively, in a data breach, once suspicious file activity has been detected, IT administrators should cut access to the account being used to access the data. A quick password reset can halt a transfer in progress under stolen credentials. These responses can be handled remotely by managed cybersecurity service providers. If you are working with IT consultants, you won’t have to worry about your team making the wrong decision in a critical moment.

4. Use Data Forensics to Determine Impact

Once a cyberattack has been contained, you need to evaluate the extent of the damage. If clients’ personal records were affected, you may be liable in certain jurisdictions. For instance, California’s CCPA allows Californians to seek compensation if their data was leaked in a breach. File system software can determine which files were accessed and transferred outside of your organization.

In malware attacks, it’s important to ensure that the malware hasn’t left any traces on your computers or servers lest the problem reappear later on. You should perform extensive scanning on every device to identify any lingering malicious files and remove them to prevent further damage. Once you have a clear picture of the extent of the damage, you can begin restoring your systems.

5. Restore Normal Operations

A minor cybersecurity incident may not require any work stoppage at all. For example, if an associate receives a suspicious email with a malicious attachment but doesn’t open it, the incident should still be reported, but business can continue as usual. However, more serious incidents may require you to restore files from backups if data was corrupted or deleted. It’s important to have a backup protocol that allows you to restore operations with minimal data loss.

If an associate’s credentials were compromised to facilitate the attack, it would be wise to have everyone change passwords before continuing work. Since many companies provide similar passwords to all their associates, an attacker may be able to guess other passwords and continue to access your systems.

6. Review Security Procedures and Make Adjustments

Every cybersecurity incident provides a learning opportunity. Once you’ve overcome the initial impact of the incident and restored operations, you should evaluate your team’s performance in regard to your security plan. Was it executed properly? Next, evaluate the plan itself. Did your plan successfully limit damage and allow you to get back to business quickly, or did it fall short?

Consider how you can further bolster your defenses for the future. Enabling two-factor authentication, for instance, is one of the best ways to prevent phishing attacks from coming to fruition.

Improving Your Company’s Cybersecurity With IT Consulting Services

Cybersecurity can be a complex topic. Having a dedicated cybersecurity professional on your team can significantly improve your defenses, though those experts command high salaries. A great solution is to rely on IT consulting services with cybersecurity support. IT consultants have various experts on call for every situation, and can protect your company remotely with monitoring software. In the event of a disaster, your managed IT team will take action and protect your company.

Contact Edafio to learn how we can help you improve your organization’s cybersecurity and help you respond to cybersecurity incidents properly. 

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