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After the breach: Four cybersecurity steps to take after a cyber attack

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By: Ronda Swaney

 

Cybersecurity and cyber attacks on IT infrastructureThe worst has happened.

 

Your IT infrastructure has been breached.

 

Your cybersecurity measures have failed. Data has been compromised.

 

Your employees know, your board knows, and it's only a matter of time before the media catches up.

Now what?

 

In a recent HP Discover conference session on cybersecurity, Andrzej Kawalec, chief technology officer, HP Enterprise Security, offers this advice: "In that first hour, when it feels like the world has fallen down, don't panic. Rely on your team. Rely on your plan. Rely on the fact that you've modeled these scenarios and trained for this event."

 

Assemble your cybersecurity response team

Assembling your team is step one. Hopefully you've decided on the team long before an attack occurs. To compare to a disaster scene, these are your police, firefighters, and paramedics. Who can stop the event, minimize the damage, and triage the casualties? This is your core group and they need the power to make immediate decisions. They need to know the most about your infrastructure, the most about your cybersecurity measures, and the most about mitigating a crisis. The abilities of this team directly correlate to your organization's post-breach outcome and how quickly it's able to respond and resurrect their defenses.

 

Secure your information and get back to business

After your first responders stop the attack and create a response plan, you need to engage the next level of your team. This level will help you get back into business. These are your front lines—the folks most engaged with the day-to-day operations of your business. They need to have the training and know-how to get you back up and running after a crisis occurs. This group will reconnect you with your customers. How smoothly this group operates will impact your company's reputation once the attack is over. This step is critical to how you restore confidence in your business and brand.

 

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Too often, IT focuses inward, seeing only the implications for the IT infrastructure, data, and cybersecurity plans. IT must learn to focus outward as well. The media, your customers, and your users all have to be taken into consideration when a cyber attack occurs.

 

Part of your emergency response team must include the communicators. They may be marketing and PR professionals, social media specialists, HR leaders, or legal teams. If your executives are the face of your company, make sure they're trained to respond after a breach.

 

Learn and plan for the next breach

After an attack, debrief and get ready for the next onslaught. If you've been a target once, chances are high you will be again. Assemble your team and ask what went right and what went wrong. Analyze what happened and how it can be prevented from happening again. Start developing best practices so that next time, your response will be faster and stronger.

 

Is your cyber attack response team in place? The best response is preventing an attack in the first place. Check out more tips in the free white paper: Identify and prevent security threats.

 

 

 

About the author

Ronda SwaneyRonda Swaney

 

I am a content marketer with 20 years of experience focused on IT, technology, and healthcare for CXOs, consultants, and entrepreneurs. I advise clients on how to best communicate their messages by taking complex material and simplifying it to engage both tech geeks and the ordinary Joe.

About the author

Connect with Ronda:

 Follow me on Twitter @RondaSwaney

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