by Ben Brown | 06/24/2022
Businesses of all sizes are at risk of cyber-attacks, and when one occurs, the impact can be devastating. Not only are there the financial costs to contend with, but there is also the potential for long-term damage to a company's reputation. When a business is attacked, there is a strict cyber-attack incident response that must be followed. This includes the process of notifying customers and demonstrating that they are compliant with relevant regulations to protect their customer's data.
In this blog post, we explore what businesses need to do when they encounter a cyber-attack. We will also look at the unseen costs to businesses that have suffered a cyber-attack, then following on from this we look at what small businesses can do to maximise their [protection from cyber-attacks] (https://ronin-pentest.com/services).
There are three key components to any cyber-attack incident response plan: incident response, notification, and compliance. Each of these has its own set of challenges and potential pitfalls, so it's important to be prepared for all of them.
Incident Response: This is the first step in dealing with a cyber-attack. This is the process of containing the damage and mitigating the risks posed by the attack. This can be a complicated process, as it requires businesses to quickly assess the situation and take appropriate action. There are many potential incident response mistakes that can be made, so it's crucial to have a cyber-attack incident response plan in place and to have carried out simulated incidents so that the implementation is as good as the planning. All too often the plan goes out the window in the event of an incident.
Notification: This is the second step in dealing with a cyber-attack. This is the process of informing customers, employees, and other stakeholders about the attack and what steps are being taken to mitigate the risks posed by it. Notification can be a complicated process, as it requires businesses to carefully balance the need for transparency with the need to protect sensitive information.
Compliance: This is the third step in dealing with a cyber-attack. This is the process of ensuring that your business is following all applicable laws and regulations in response to the attack. Compliance can be an arduous process, as it requires businesses to carefully review their policies and procedures to ensure that they are following all relevant laws and regulations.
When a business suffers an attack, as part of its cyber-attack incident response, it needs to follow a specific process of notification. This includes notifying their customers, as well as any relevant authorities. The notification process will vary depending on the type of cyber-attack that has occurred, and the severity of the attack. In some cases, businesses may be required to shut down their operations while they investigate the attack and assess the damage.
Depending on the scale of the cyber-attack, you may also need to notify the relevant authorities. In the UK, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is responsible for overseeing data protection and can provide guidance on what to do in the event of a data breach.
The ICO has published a [step-by-step] (https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/personal-data-breaches/) guide on what to do if you suffer a data breach, which includes:
The ICO states that “you will need to notify the ICO unless you can demonstrate that the breach is unlikely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms. You should also remember that the ICO has the power to compel you to inform affected individuals if we consider there is a high risk. In any event, you should document your decision-making process in line with the requirements of the accountability principle.” If you don't notify the ICO of a data breach, you could face a hefty fine - so it's important to make sure you're compliant.
As part of a cyber-attack incident response, there are three key phases to manage: detection and containment, analysis, and recovery. Small businesses may not have the in-house expertise or resources to handle all these stages so will need to engage specialist help.
Detection and containment: Stopping the attack and preventing it from spreading any further. This usually requires the assistance of a professional who will have the tools and expertise to track down the source of the problem and shut it down.
Analysis: Understanding what happened, how it happened and what needs to be done to fix it. This stage is crucial in order to prevent future attacks. Small businesses should engage with a cyber forensics expert to help with this process.
Recovery: Getting your business back up and running. This may involve restoring data, repairing systems or rebuilding networks. Small businesses will need to work with their IT team and specialist providers to get everything back up and running as quickly as possible, and also ensure that the attacker doesn’t still have access to the network. This can be one of the hardest parts.
As a business, it's important to keep your customers updated on any changes made following a cyber-attack - especially if their personal data may have been compromised. This might include changes to your security measures or notification of any new risks that they should be aware of.
The unseen costs of a cyber-attack can be significant. These costs include financial losses, reputational damage, and the cost of complying with applicable laws and regulations, but there are also the unseen financial costs that can result from a cyber-attack. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to these costs, as they often lack the resources to quickly recover from an attack.
In the aftermath of a cyber-attack, businesses are often forced to increase their spending on things like security and IT support. They may also need to hire outside help to deal with the fallout from the attack, which can be costly. In addition, businesses may face legal action as a result of the breach, which can lead to significant expenses.
Finally, businesses may suffer reputational damage after a cyber-attack, especially if it’s determined that they weren’t compliant. This can lead to customers and clients taking their business elsewhere, which can have a significant impact on revenue. In some cases, the reputational damage can be so severe that it leads to the closure of the business.
While the financial cost of a cyber-attack can be significant, the impact on businesses can be even greater. Small businesses in particular may struggle to recover from an attack, which is why it’s so important for them to have adequate cyber security measures in place.
We have a combined experience of over 20 years in the cyber-security industry, and we've spent those years learning and refining the skills of our trade and applying them to secure some of the UK’s largest financial and industrial institutions. Now we use our skills to benefit businesses of all sizes around the world and focus on ensuring that small businesses can get the protection they need, at a cost they can afford. [Contact us] (https://ronin-pentest.com/contact) for more information.
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