Tips on How to Handle a Data Breach

Dealing with a data breach can be daunting. After all, not only are you affected, but so are people who trusted you. The best way to deal with a data breach is to be open and honest right from the start, while also explaining how you’ll prevent it from happening in the future.

Stay Calm

While it’s infuriating to have to deal with a data breach, it’s not that uncommon. In fact, more than likely, if you deal with a lot of consumer data, you’ll end up attacked. For this reason, it’s imperative that you always have a plan in place and try to use companies that put protection of data at the top of their priority list. Staying calm will help you avoid making more mistakes, further putting all your data at risk.

Enact Your Response Plan

A big business knows that they need to respond to all stakeholders, customers, investors, and employees. You need to figure out who is affected and make sure you have a plan in place to contact them to explain the breach and how they’re affected, as well as offer any compensation if needed to fix their issues. Plan before a breach how and who you will contact.

Notify Anyone Affected

From the moment you know that a breach has happened, you’ll want to inform anyone who has been affected. Having a template letter ready to copy and paste or a way to get the information to them asap, such as via SMS, can ensure that less damage happens due to the breach.

Call in Your Experts to Fix the Problem

Your plan should include a list of vendors and experts who can fix the problem fast. Who you call will depend on what is affected. You’ll want to call them right away because you don’t want to allow scammers to continue having access to your information.

Set Systems in Place to Avoid Data Breaches

Make all your passwords very difficult, change them every 90 days, and don’t give them out to anyone who shouldn’t have them. Get a VPN so that you can protect your data on an open Wi-Fi network. Use only legitimate software that you have purchased, and teach your people how to avoid being victims.

Keep Communication Open with Everyone

During the process of cleaning up the problem, stay open and transparent about how it’s going and what you are doing. Your customers will be reassured that you are doing all that you can to keep it from happening again. Even if you admit it’s your fault due to the system you chose, if you’re putting plans in place and communicating and helping them, you may come out more trusted than ever.

Of course, if you can avoid a data breach, you will, but if it happens you can help by reacting quickly and decisively to fix the damage. Staying open to communicating with those affected will also help you avoid a PR nightmare that can follow a mishandled data breach.

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