Do You Know How You’ll Respond to a Data Breach?

 In Data, Security

Planning for security breaches doesn’t stop with implementing tools like firewalls and intrusion detection systems. The unfortunate reality is that no matter how good your defenses are, there are always unknown vulnerabilities that bad actors can take advantage of. The question isn’t whether you’ll experience a breach, but how you’ll respond when you experience a breach.

Prepare to Respond to a Breach

Responding to a breach happens after the breach, but in order to respond effectively, you need to prepare up front.

You can’t respond to a breach if you don’t know a breach has occurred, so you need to make sure you log network events and data access attempts. Confirm your logging configurations to ensure you’ve captured enough detail. Don’t forget to make sure the logs are turned on!

Once you know a breach has occurred, you need to assess its impact. As with so many IT challenges, the answer to this is to know your data. Whether it resides in the cloud or in your data center, you need to know what sensitive data is in each data store, who is authorized to access it, and what it’s normally used for. This isn’t only about the data you store and manage; you need to track the data you share with vendors and partners, too. You’ll save a lot of time and reduce the panic if you capture this information before a breach happens.

Detect the Breach

Logs are turned on, but do you know the breach has occurred? Someone or some system needs to analyze the logs to determine whether a breach has occurred. You can do this manually, but using analytics tools to identify breach may be more effective. Once you know a breach has occurred, you’ll need to trace all its access to determine the full scope of the incident.

Respond to the Breach

The response to the breach shouldn’t be ad-hoc. You should have a documented incident response plan, and, like your disaster recovery plan, you should test it to make sure it works.

In order to tailor your response appropriately, you need to know the scope of the breach. This requires doing an audit and reviewing the logs you’ve been collecting in order to assess which systems and data were compromised; how much data was exposed and who needs to be notified; and determine the root cause of how the breach was able to occur.

Notifying the authorities and customers who were exposed is necessary and needs to be carefully handled to minimize the public relations impact. That’s primarily a job for the business team, not the technology team. The tech team needs to quickly develop a plan to address the vulnerability which led to the breach as well as any other critical unpatched vulnerabilities.

Once you’ve got the current breach under control, that isn’t the end. Take a step back to review your overall security strategy and implementation. If you identify additional weaknesses, make a plan to correct them now, so that you don’t need to reenact the incident response process if a hacker discovers them.

Finally, whether you’ve experienced a breach or not, it’s always a good idea to have a team of security experts review your infrastructure for vulnerabilities. The Prescient Solutions team is certified in leading security solutions and provides security services to help Chicago and Schaumburg businesses secure their critical systems. Contact us to learn more about how to prevent and respond to data breaches.

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