Company Data Breach: A 6 Step Plan For Damage Limitation
There are a lot of warnings about cyber crime and data protection flying around at the moment, but is it really as bad as people make out? Unfortunately, it is; when it comes to data loss in businesses, it can completely ruin you. You could lose data that allows people to access your bank accounts and clean them out. Even if people can’t access your money directly, the loss of business can be huge. When you’re dealing with sensitive customer information and you lose it, that breaks trust and they’re never going to buy products from you again. These customer data loss scandals are publicised heavily these days so you’re likely to lose most of your customers.
Cyber crime is one of the major reasons for data loss but that’s not the only thing you need to watch out for. Technology failures or even simple mistakes on the part of your employees can lead to massive breaches.
The impact of that data loss can be catastrophic; 50 percent of companies that lose data and can’t recover it in 10 days will end up filing for bankruptcy. 93 percent will shut down within a year and those that stay afloat report huge losses of at least $50,000.
It’s important that you’re taking the necessary steps to protect your company from data loss but you also need to be realistic and accept that it’s always a possibility and have a plan in place. Follow this 6 step plan to limit the damage and keep operating when your company experiences data loss.
Close The Gaps
The most immediate thing to worry about is closing any gaps in your systems and preventing any further data loss, then you can start trying to recover that data. You need to have IT services on call if you haven’t got your own people in house so as soon as there is a breach of any kind, they can limit the amount of data that is lost. Once all of the gaps in your system are plugged and you’ve prevented any further losses, you can start looking at recovering that data.
The good news is, that data can often be recovered. If you’ve had a technology failure or somebody has accidentally deleted important files etc. that doesn’t mean the information is gone completely. In the majority of cases like that, you can always recover the information fairly quickly if you employ the services of a data recovery company. Click here for more information on how to find the best ones. If you can recover the lost data quickly you can limit a lot of the damage, especially if it’s sensitive customer data.
Assess The Damage
Once you’ve plugged the gaps and recovered as much of the data as possible, you need to conduct an audit of the entire company and see exactly what damage has been done. Check all of your bank accounts first off to make sure that you haven’t been the victim of any theft as a result of that data loss. Then you need to look over all of your customer data files and make sure that none of their credit card information has been stolen either. If any information has been stolen, you need to work out exactly which of your customers are at risk of credit card fraud because they’ll need to be informed as soon as possible.
As well as the actual data that’s been stolen, you need to work out the impact it will have on your ability to function and how much money you might lose. If you’ve lost important files like accounts or tax documents etc. you’ll have to work around the clock to rewrite all of that information. Or perhaps you’ve lost information on upcoming projects and you need to start again from scratch. All of that extra work means loss of earnings so work out how many days or weeks of extra work you have to do and how much money you’ll lose because of it. Preparing for that loss of earnings and being able to cover it is vital to limiting the damage from data loss.
This is a step that nobody wants to take but it’ll be worse if you neglect it. If your customers have had any of their personal data stolen or lost, they are at risk of credit card fraud. They’re going to find out that you lost their data eventually and if you wait until money has already been taken, things are going to look a lot worse for you. Even though it’s an uncomfortable call to make, you have to let all of those customers know that they need to cancel their cards and get a new one, and check with their bank to make sure their accounts are safe. Unfortunately, you’re probably going to lose a lot of those customers but you can try to hold on to them by dealing with the problem quickly and efficiently and offering them some kind of recompense. Giving them some vouchers or perhaps free products might soften the blow a little and help you retain some of those customers.
Sort Out Your Public Image
When a company experiences a large scale data loss, it usually makes the news and your public image takes a big hit. Customers old and new will instantly lose trust in you and you’ll be known as a business to avoid. It’s incredibly hard to come back from that and build trust between you and your customers again so your PR department needs to be firing on all cylinders immediately after an event like that.
Improve Your Defences
Once the whole ordeal is over and you’re starting to get back to normal, you need to think about how this happened in the first place. Work out where the weak spots in your IT systems are and take this opportunity to improve your cyber security so you can reduce the chances of something like this happening again in the future.
Data loss in business can be incredibly damaging but if you follow this plan, you can limit that damage and move forward.