7 Best Practices To Follow In Preparation Of A Data Breach

Vector Image signifying Data Breach
Preparing for the Next Data Breach

Most often than not, organizations get so caught up in the turmoil of what may happen if a data breach occurs that creating a responsive action plan doesn't make it to the course.

In times like these, it is important to ask yourself what practices is your organization implementing to uphold its reputation. Does your organization have an action plan to battle against the possibility of a data breach? If not, then here's your chance to develop one.

This article talks about the steps you can take to prepare for a data breach. We will also discuss some tips on tackling the consequences of a breach.

How should you prepare for the Next Data Breach?

Data is the reigning entity in today's world, yet it can be disastrous if not handled efficiently. In any case, you must be mindful of the type of information you gather, the purposes of that information, the locations where you store it, and the deadlines for its erasure. This is easier said than done, but creating a framework for the data lifecycle can direct how you safeguard it.

1. Risk Assessment or Gap Analysis

Precaution is a best practice every business has to implement in order to safeguard data. After all, you must be aware of the data stored in your organization's database and what among those can cause an incident. Risk assessment under this topic would include three primary focus points; staff, information, and IT infrastructure. Watch out for former employees who may still harbor resentments and continue to monitor the behavior of your current staff.

2. Prepare To Detect Incidents

Identification is not as easy a process as it is claimed to be. Still, over time many organizations have become skilled in this particular practice, which in turn has helped them reduce the extent of the damage. Being proactive is crucial, and part of that includes routinely monitoring endpoints throughout your network for malicious activity that could hint at an ongoing intrusion.

3. Build A Well-Oiled Machinery For The Team

Creating a computer incident response team (CIRT) with each member handling certain duties and responsibilities, such as threat monitoring, vulnerability assessment, and incident management, should be one of your top objectives when preparing for a data breach. A resource-constrained corporation may frequently lack the expertise to manage all of these specialized responsibilities on its own. Thus, collaborating with an IR company may be beneficial. Additionally, especially after an event, your CIRT has to work with other business teams, including public relations, legal, human resources, and the executive team.

4. Develop A Response Plan

If an incident occurs, your team should be ready to douse it instantly. For this, you must have a response plan ready beforehand. The response strategy should include everything from how you will handle each incident type to commonplace threats to full-fledged network breaches. It should include information from first discovery through post-mortem and lessons learned. However, the most critical part of any plan is how it operates in real-time, so ensure you're testing the response plan regularly.

5. Partnering is Beneficial

If your IT personnel is already overburdened, chances are they might not be aware of a security breach. This does not give them enough time to be prepared to manage all of the network investigation and forensic data necessary to resolve a large event. This is why having an established connection with a security partner can go a long way toward reducing the consequences. It will also put you in a better position to prevent it from happening again.

6. Attack Stimulation

A risk assessment or gap analysis shows you the points where your organization is most prone to be attacked. This is an important element in being incident ready; however, another way to achieve this is by conducting real-time tabletop exercises. You may hire a security specialist partner to coordinate authentic assault exercises that assess your employees' proneness to fall for, say, a phishing attack and your capacity to respond to a genuine crisis. The outcomes of these exercises are critical for identifying any holes in your incident response strategy and allowing you to improve it to achieve optimal efficiency continuously.

7. Train To Respond Instantly

Be it a catastrophe site or a hacked network, the minutes that follow the incident count more than anything else. There will be many moving components in the immediate aftermath, but you must understand the process to remove the guesswork and organize your efforts. This will allow you to gather, evaluate, and act on information as rapidly as possible, especially if you are a small enterprise dealing with limited resources.

Encryption Is A Necessity To Protect Data

Having strong access control and authorization schemes is important but not merely sufficient. They are baseline expectations for handling data, but encryptions help you guard them against potential attacks more effectively.

Encrypt storage: Data can end up in unexpected locations, from traditional databases and data storage to AWS S3 buckets, which are renowned for exposing their information owing to misconfigurations. However, it is now easier to run encrypted filesystems and interface with APIs that control hardware-based key stores, thanks to cloud services.

Protect via encryption: Encryption will need the use of private keys and shared secrets. Access tokens will be required for APIs. Examine changes and repositories for the presence of private keys, tokens, and passwords by accident.

Rotate secrets: Establish a procedure for revoking and replacing compromised or disclosed secrets. If you're encrypting data yet it takes two weeks to rotate encryption keys; you're leaving yourself vulnerable.

Perform security testing: Tests should be run to evaluate the baseline. Manage vulnerability reports and keep a bug reward program for efficient testers. Identify weaknesses in your monitoring and detecting capabilities using team activities.

Closing Thoughts

In reality, none of us want our organization to go through a data breach, much less service and software providers. However, preparing for one is always better than being apologetic for not having an action plan once it has occurred. Follow these best practices to maintain your organization's security posture and handle client data effectively.

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