How Your Business Can Recover From A Break-In
Physical break-ins and online security breaches pose an ongoing threat to small enterprises, and the consequences of serious theft, attacks and hacks can threaten the continuity of day-to-day business. Common targets include expensive on-site hardware and computers, cash and safes, and company and consumer data stored on servers. It’s vital that you have procedures in place to prevent a break-in and a post-breach plan so that you can replace stolen products, inform affected third parties and effectively navigate the difficult period afterwards.
When You Discover A Break-In
Discovering a break-in can be a difficult and harrowing experience if you’re first on the scene. But it is important to remain calm and approach each action moving forward with a clear head. Don’t burst into any department or area where there are signs of a break-in as the intruder may still be there. You should always call the police and report the incident immediately, and then contact the business owner if you’re an employee. The first priority is ensuring that everyone is safe, so if there are any employees on the premises, make sure to evacuate the building. You shouldn’t move any equipment, hardware or other items at the scene as it may be used as evidence when the police arrive.
Once the incident has been dealt with formally by the police, you should try to collect as much information as possible about the break in. Make sure to take photos of the crime scene and further pictures for items and areas that are damaged. For each of the items stolen, write down the model, serial and product numbers, and attain any relevant receipts. Compiling a written list of damage and losses will be crucial for insurance purposes. You can then get in touch with your insurance provider immediately to start the process of claiming for stolen assets.
Review and Upgrade
A break-in can threaten business continuity, but you can use it as a means to improve and upgrade your security procedures to mitigate the risk of another incident occurring. An in-depth review of the entire incident will highlight certain failings and outline procedures that need to be implemented or worked on. It’s likely that there were weak spots that were targeted in the break-in, so make sure that these are addressed. For example, you could buy and install bars and cages to protect server rooms, implement a new policy for locking windows, ensure that burglar alarms are tested at least twice a year and install CCTV and surveillance video. All Emergency Services can offer assistance so that you can get the 24/7 protection and security that your business needs.
You should also review first incident response so that you’re better prepared for future incidents. If you find that there are any specific failings, include them in your staff training so that they can be improved upon. Finally, if you’ve had to purchase new equipment following the break-in, ensure that any documentation is relevant and updated. Also, review your insurance policy so that you know you’re covered for your new setup.
Inform Clients and The Bank
It may be necessary to inform clients about the break-in if the incident has hampered your cash flow and may make it difficult to make payments on time. They should be more understanding if there are mitigating circumstances. You should also contact your bank if financial documents have been stolen, and freeze any accounts that could be targeted. Basically, go to every length to ensure that the criminals have no way to steal any more money or data, while giving the relevant authorities the best chance to catch them.
In addition to physical break-ins, modern enterprises must also be able to tackle the ongoing threats and risks posed online. Hacks and attacks can be particularly devastating for a small business as they’re more sophisticated, and are capable of stealing masses of sensitive information. The huge costs of losing customer and client data are matched by the detrimental effect on reputation and brand image. Fortunately, it is possible to limit the impact with a robust plan of action following a breach.
What To Do In The Aftermath
The hackers are likely to have stolen sensitive information by the time that you discover a breach, so your attention should be focused on recovery. Begin by disconnecting the device, computer or server that was the target of the attack from any company networks; then copy and store activity and access logs to another device. You can then attempt to identify the nature of the breach and the types of data that have been stolen. You may also want to get in touch with a lawyer that specializes in online security breaches so that you get the best advice about legal obligations.
Ciklum Interaction Solutions executive Oleksandr Maidaniuk recommends a five point strategy for managing data breaches with an emphasis on communication between internal and external parties. He recommends being open and sincere with anyone affected and accepting responsibility, while providing details about the situation and why it took place. To placate affected parties and recover your relationship and reputation, you should do this via clean and concise notification letters. Also try to offer a solution or special offer. Finally, educate everyone involved to prevent future issues, and begin a dialogue with clients, analysts and other relevant industry bodies to discuss the root of the problem.
Prevent Future Breaches
To give your business the best chance of preventing future breaches, you should monitor the threat landscape on a daily basis, and train and educate staff so that there is a company culture centered on security and its benefits across every department. A periodic sweep of connected devices and equipment will also help to catch malware, phishing and fraud threats, and highlight new security problems. David Zetoony, partner with law enterprise Bryan Cave, concludes: “If you view each breach as a learning exercise, you won’t be able to stop them necessarily,” Zetoony said. “But you can learn how to respond to them more efficiently, quickly, and with less impact to your business and your customers.”