How to Handle a Data Breach of Your Classified Data

A data breach is the unauthorized exposure of sensitive or private information. A data breach involving classified data can expose your company’s vital information, resulting in loss of revenue, spoilt reputation, and sometimes legal problems.

Usually, data breaches occur when cybercriminals infiltrate your system due to weak passwords, human error, system vulnerabilities, and even malware.

While data breaches can go on for long without detection, the faster you respond to them the higher your chances of bouncing back from the incident. 

Below are various ways to handle data breaches of your classified data that can help you recover from an attack and prevent future data breaches.

1. Contain the Breach

When a data breach happens, a quick response is crucial in minimizing damage and preventing further data loss. 

Depending on the nature of the breach, you can act fast by disconnecting the compromised system from other connected networks.

Avoid accessing the compromised files or immediately changing the log-ins of the compromised system as it may erase important evidence.

Other steps you can take to contain the breach include disconnecting compromised user accounts and closing the targeted department to isolate the breach.

Ensure that you adjust all the uncompromised systems including access codes for your networks as well as the name of the network on access points for protection.

Since data breach management can be complicated, talk to your incidence response team for better results.

Your team should include a team a public relations expert, investigator, experts in breach response, communications leader, IT and HR professionals, and an office administrator.

2. Preserve Evidence

As you investigate the breach, save all the logs and any other information that you can use as evidence of the incident.

Make sure you document all the details of the attack including how and when you noticed the breach and what you did to contain it.

Also, note the time you disconnected your systems from the internet and changed passwords as well as other credentials.

By keeping track of all the steps you took to mitigate the situation, you make the investigation of the incident easy.

What’s more, the information will help you assess the damage of the breach, identify vulnerabilities that led to the incident, and plan your security measures to prevent future data breaches.

3. Hire A Lawyer

Other than consulting your IT experts, one of the best ways to manage a data breach incident is hiring a data breach lawyer. Your lawyer will help you avoid costly mistakes and also offer professional advice when handling the situation, including your contact with the media and affected parties.

Since a breach of classified data can lead to lawsuits, your lawyer understands the legal aspects of a data breach and will work with you to establish whether you have a case.

Your attorney is also in the best position to deal with your insurance and help you file for claims. Although hiring an attorney can be costly at first, it pays off in the long term. 

Your lawyer will help you come up with preventive measures against future incidences and offer expertise during crisis management, PR, and forensics.

4. Communicate to the Affected Parties

Once you identify a data breach and gather all the information, you need to inform the affected parties about the incident. Communicate to internal and external parties openly and sincerely about the details of the data breach.

While you don’t have to share everything, some important pieces of information you should disclose include the type of data breach that happened, and the data that was affected.

If you played a part in facilitating the data breach, you should accept responsibility even if it was unintentional.

Provide remedies on what the affected can do to reduce loss, and also share what you plan to do to mitigate damage and prevent future data breaches.

The transparency cultivates trust in you and assures the affected. Note that information about the breach should not get to the public through your employees before you make an official communication.

5. Implement Preventive Measures

After a data security breach, it is crucial to take action to prevent future incidences. Consider conducting employee training that aims at educating staff about cybersecurity.

Educate your employees about the various cybersecurity threats, ways that expose them to attacks, and the best way to respond in case of a data breach.

With the right information, employees can minimize data breaches of classified data that result from human error.

You should also schedule regular security audits of your systems, and update your software to fix vulnerabilities that put your classified information at risk.

Multifactor authentication, strong passwords, access control, as well as security tools like VPNs, firewalls, and antivirus can help you prevent unauthorized access of your classified information.

According to reports, up to 60% of small businesses go out of business within 6 months after a data breach. With the above tips, you can effectively manage a data breach and boost the chances of business continuity and growth.

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