How to Develop a Data Breach Response Plan: 5 Steps

author-image Posted On: October 26, 2023

Data breaches occur in every type of organization. Suppose the attacker is sufficiently skilled or motivated. In that case, they can overcome even the most effective defensive layers, such as endpoint and managed detection and response, multi-factor authentication, and employee awareness training programs.

Having a data breach response policy is essential to minimizing the impact of a breach and better preparing your company for one in the future.

What Is a Data Breach Response Plan?

A document that describes an organization’s course of action in the case of a data breach is known as a data breach response plan. It describes what an information security and cybersecurity incident is, who is engaged in the plan, how to get in touch with them, what to do in the event of a breach, and what to do afterward.

Your company’s short- and long-term recovery is dependent on how it responds to the security incident. Customers and regulatory authorities will see that you can recover from the breach without it having a significant negative impact on your company if you handle it professionally and calmly. However, if you react in a disorganized and frightened manner, you will lose the faith of your clients and hinder the healing process for your company.

Also Read:- What is Data Backup and Recovery? Complete Guide

Why is a Data Breach Response Plan Important?

Imagine getting into your work laptop and seeing a notice that reads, “Military-grade encryption is used to protect all of your files.” We will be in touch with you soon to set up a payment plan for our unlocking services.” When you contact the IT support team at your company, you soon find that everyone on staff—IT included—is experiencing the same issue.

The corporation discovers that all firm data has been encrypted when looking into the matter. Whether they are stored on file servers, in SaaS systems, or cloud service provider environments like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud, all papers are now useless. When the IT staff tries to log into the backup systems, it also affects all of the data backups.

It’s impossible to even get in touch with customers to let them know what’s going on. Therefore, your firm is effectively bankrupt. The hackers then get in touch with the CEO and inform him that the information has been saved to their computer systems in addition to being encrypted. If the company does not pay the ransom within six days, they threaten to disclose the personal information of both clients and employees. After looking into your company’s financial standing, the hackers have demanded a painful but manageable ransomware payment.

As a result, a data breach response plan is critical. Knowing what to do in a worst-case situation is your best defense. This document, which outlines every step required, is essential so that the security team can implement the response plan and know what to do in the event of an emergency. This allows the company to respond swiftly and forcefully.

Also Read:- Benefit of Outsourcing Your NOC Support.

5 Steps for Developing a Data Breach Response Plan

The following five actions should be included in an incident response plan for a data breach, at the very least.

  • Practice Exercises

Prior to drafting the plan, carry out a risk assessment and classify probable breaches using security policies and what might be impacted, such as data, people, applications, and systems, as well as possible cyberattack scenarios like ransomware, phishing, and credential theft. Mention the trigger for the data breach response team’s activation.

Finding and stopping the breach should be the first step in the data breach response plan.

  • Define The Members and Response Teams.

Provide a list of the members, their roles, and their contact information for the data breach response team. Along with the executive team, this should include representatives from the client teams, marketing, communications, legal, and IT departments.

  • Make a List of Contacts.

Make a contact list and specify who and when should be contacted to contact regulatory agencies. A list of the companies to contact and when should also be included. Insurance, legal advice, cybersecurity experts, external IT suppliers, and public relations are a few examples of this.

Make a Plan for Communications

Make a communication plan and include prepared remarks for the media, employees, and clients. Depending on how the breach affects things, this plan ought to be flexible. It must take into account the best time and method for releasing statements. It’s important to choose when to make these statements; you don’t want to wait too long for rumors to start spreading, but you also don’t want to acknowledge a data breach until you have sufficient facts.

Also Read:- How to Set Up an IT Infrastructure for Small Businesses

Execute Incident Handling

If an occurrence is reported to the data breach response team and satisfies the requirements for a breach as stated in step one, then the incident response process should be started.

Among them are the following:

  • Keeping a thorough record of every action; 
  • Protocols for incident containment and eradication; 
  • Starting processes for data loss and recovery; 
  • Alerting relevant parties, such as impacted parties, law enforcement, regulatory bodies, and the media;
  • Observing data security protocols, such as mandating password changes once the hack has been contained;
  • Analyzing the breach to determine how it happened;
  •  Addressing any weaknesses to stop such occurrences in the future;
  • Sending follow-ups, for instance, to reassure clients who may have been impacted; 
  • Assessing breach response and making adjustments to the response strategy.

Other Actions to Think About

Additional actions to think about could be as follows:

  • A strategy for recovering crucial systems and data in the event that a ransomware attack was part of the breach;
  • Examination of the procedure for authorizing and carrying out the payment of a ransom if data was lost or threatened to be made public, as well as if the company would pay one,
  • To make sure the incident response team is engaged and aware of its responsibilities, test the response plan frequently using various scenarios. Don’t forget to update the plan to reflect any insights gained from protection breaches and recovery operations.

Every company that has recovered effectively from a significant data breach has one thing in common: they all trained and developed their response plans. They kept customers informed about what happened and provided specifics on how they planned to minimize the impact of the breach, all while maintaining excellent communication with employees, clients, and regulatory agencies at the pertinent stages of the process.

Recovery is not just about being able to get data back and start working again; it’s also about protecting the company’s brand and reputation. Businesses that have responded to breaches in an incompetent way have seen significant client losses or drops in share values. The price of having a data breach response plan prepared is considerably outweighed by the cost of downtime.

Finally, keep in mind not to keep the response plan on your primary computer network. You cannot view the document if ransomware has encrypted the network. Ensure that each member of the response team has a printed copy as well as a means of communicating with other team members other than internal email or messaging systems.

Leave a Comment