Managing a cyber crisis can be tricky. More often than not, once you’ve identified that you’ve been attacked, then it’s too late to deal with it.
What we can do, however, is to mitigate the impact of the attack as much as possible and execute the responsive steps to ensure we can recover with strength.
Here, we will share 8 practical tips in managing a cyber crisis in your company to ensure a swift and effective recovery.
1. Respond swiftly, but maintain accuracy
While you should definitely move as fast as possible in the event of a cyber crisis, ensuring you are taking the right steps is also very important.
Accurately identify the type of cyberattack vectors your organization is currently experiencing so you can correctly understand the source of the attack, its impact, and what kinds of measures you should take. By doing so, you’ll get the best information possible in implementing the most effective response and recovery plan.
For example, if your site is currently affected by an account takeover attack, you should identify which account has been compromised, what methods the attacker is using, and what the motives might be. If, for instance, you can identify that the motive is to steal customers’ financial information, then you can take the required action to get account takeover prevention.
2. Always plan for the worst
Again, once the attack happens, most likely it’s too late to deal with it. This is why it’s best to develop a response plan ahead of time before the attack happens.
Always assume that your company is the target of cyberattacks, and the objective is to have a cyber crisis response plan that you can deploy immediately when a cyberattack is identified. Your cyber crisis response plan should be effective in mitigating the impact of the attack, securing your network and system from further damages, and kickstart the recovery process as soon as possible.
Your team members should understand this response plan completely, and the plan must also continually change to stay ahead of the evolution of threats.
3. Containing the attack before eradicating it
When a cyberattack is first discovered, the initial instinct may be to securely eradicate the attack as soon as possible.
However, more often than not, this will hurt you in the long run since you’ll destroy the valuable evidence and information such as the source of the attack, the vulnerability in your system exploited, and so on. These insights can be very important in the long run so you can develop a better response plan to prevent future attacks.
Thus, contain the attack to mitigate the damage and prevent it from spreading, and if necessary, disconnect affected infrastructure from the internet. This is where the importance of having a backup comes into play, so you can maintain business operations even in the event of a cyber crisis.
4. Have a clear communication policy for cyber crisis
You’ll need to have a clear and comprehensive communication policy for both internal and external communications.
Your team members should know who to contact in the event of an attack to ensure response can be taken as swiftly as possible.
On the other hand, you might also need to inform your third-party vendors, business partners, and customers, especially if the cyberattack has resulted in a breach of customer data.
Manage the narrative, and if necessary, issue a media release detailing the events of the attack and how it was resolved. This can help you demonstrate transparency and mitigate further damages to your reputation.
5. Report the incident properly
You should file a report with your local police to establish an official, legally binding record of the incident. This can be extremely important to prevent future legal issues.
If you are based in the US, you can also report the online crime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center or similar organizations. If the data breach involved identity theft, you should report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission.
You might want to get legal help if necessary.
6. Test your response plan ahead of time
You’ve developed a proper cyber crisis response plan, but you should test whether the response plan is ready before any attack happens.
You should train your employees according to the response plan, including common symptoms of attack vectors to help them identify cyberattacks, communication policies, and how to report suspicious activities as soon as possible. You should also train your employees in how to manage ransomware events, which may be extremely time-sensitive.
While each cyber crisis will be unique, testing your response plan ahead of time can help mitigate risks and ensure faster recovery in the event of attacks.
7. Executing a recovery process properly
The objective of a recovery process is to restore the affected systems and integrate them back into your business environment. During this time, it’s very important to maintain protection so you can get your whole system and operations up and running again without fearing a second wave attack.
You should address:
- The timeline. When the system can be returned to production.
- Ensuring all systems have been patched with the latest security updates
- Whether new security measures (more on this below) have been tested and implemented properly
- Can we restore the system from a trusted back up
- How to monitor the affected systems, for how long, and what will you look for during this recovery process
8. Strengthening your security infrastructure
Once you’ve been affected by a cyberattack, don’t expose yourself to additional risks and second wave threats, but instead, you should immediately implement additional security measures and infrastructure.
By accelerating security enhancements, you can better protect your business from future attacks, and at the same time, the proactive stance you take will put your company in a better position in the eyes of the regulators if you are in the middle of legal proceedings.
You’d like to upgrade your infrastructure with cybersecurity solutions that can act on autopilot without any human intervention for easier integration to your existing response plan.
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