Getting hacked is a nightmare scenario that, unfortunately, is becoming more commonplace. According to CNBC, not only are 14 million businesses in the United States at risk of being hacked, but many small business owners don’t make potential cyber attacks a priority. Knowing what to do if your data is compromised may be the difference between surviving and shutting your doors.
Start by Containing the Damage
When you first realize you’ve been hacked you’ll want to immediately run an anti-virus program as well as reset all passwords. Determine which systems or files were compromised, and remove any corrupted files. This won’t solve all your problems regarding the hack, but it may help prevent more damage.
Alert Your Web Hosting Service
You’ll need to give your web host as much information as possible, as soon as possible. Some web hosting companies provide tips or assistance for their customers if they’ve been hacked. They may recommend applications that can be used to remove malware.
Your natural inclination will likely be to fix things without telling your customers. Hiding a problem like this is never a good idea. Fortune states that a written notification should be sent out to each of your customers. You’ll need to let them know what type of information or data was compromised and what you’re doing to remedy the situation.
Get Legal Advice
Laws are constantly changing regarding hacking and data breaches. Laws also vary from state to state. It’s necessary to contact an attorney that specializes in internet law. If you’re running a financial or health-related business, it’s important to know that laws regulating these industries can be more stringent.
Being transparent means not just alerting customers. It’s crucial to tell all the necessary people as quickly as possible. This can include employees, customers and other companies you do business with. Depending on the business you’re in, it may also involve contacting certain regulatory agencies. It’s also important to be forthcoming will all the information related to the hack.
Repair Damage and Rebuild
You’ll want to start rebuilding your website and your reputation as quickly as possible. To do this you should start by prioritizing which computers or systems you’ll work on cleaning up first. Replace corrupt data, files and applications with a clean backup. While you’re repairing and rebuilding systems, you should maintain contact with customers, partners and authorities. Alerting the right people isn’t a one-time deal. You should keep those who need to know informed during the entire process of rebuilding.
Update Your Security
You’ll likely want to do something different than what you had in place before. Most small business owners are on a tight budget, but security is not one area you want to skimp on. You’ll need to create layers of security to protect your information. This can include adding encryption as well as more than one password to retrieve the most sensitive information.
After coming up with a new detailed security plan you’ll need to make sure all employees are aware of the plan and properly trained. Networkworld suggests getting your team together after a breach is cleaned up to go over how the cleanup went and how to improve if it happens again. Cyber security should become ingrained in the company culture. Finally, if it’s financially possible, you may want to consider cyber insurance.
If a hack does occur, following these steps will help minimize the damage and keep your business running as smoothly as possible. The best time to plan for a security breach, however, is before it happens. Considering how often hacks take place, investing in IT services is almost certainly worth the money. You’ll want to find a company that can provide cyber security as well as backup security and cloud services.
CNBC – https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/25/14-million-us-businesses-are-at-risk-of-a-hacker-threat.html
Fortune – http://fortune.com/2016/09/30/10-things-business-hack-attack/
Networkworld – https://www.networkworld.com/article/2938013/security0/7-things-to-do-when-your-business-is-hacked.html