One of the biggest assets that a business possesses is its “data”. Identifying the ‘critical assets’ and impacts associated with them is essential in understanding a business’ risk exposure.
The way a business manages its data greatly impacts its future. But since data is always at a risk of leakage or loss, you need a strong cyber project risk management plan to limit data loss and prevent organisational disruption.
The negligence against a cyber-security risk management plan, can lead to a number of unwanted outcomes. The massive Target data breach that took place in 2013 is a well-established example of this. This data breach that shook the world, affected nearly 70 million people, by leaking their credit card details and CVV number reportedly sold to card counterfeiters in the underground market. Target had to pay $10 million as compensation to its victims.
It wasn’t just the financial loss that Target suffered with this incident. A few of its board members and the CEO of the company resigned after the data loss incident. Had a strong cyber security incident response plan been put in place, the company wouldn’t have suffered the costly expense.
Benefits of a structured cyber security risk management plan
– Better Data Storage Protocols:
With the advancements in technology, organisations are storing more and more personal information about their staff, customers, assets, finances, etc. in large databases. A single database leak can affect millions of individuals.
A risk management plan prepared in advance will enable you to take the necessary steps in case a data breach occurs. It will assure you of minimal financial loss and reputation damage.
– Prevent liquidation of the company:
In cases when the loss of data has inevitably occurred on a large scale, the company may have to pay a heavy compensation that could lead to its liquidation.
A properly designed and executed plan can minimize the risk of liquidation. However, we need to remember that a cyber risk management plan is not a static thing. It has to be updated regularly in accordance to all the new changes in cyber security.
– Reduce Compensation
In the event that you get sued by the victims of your company’s data breach, the court will evaluate your company’s risk management plan. It will analyze the entire plan’s procedures, practices and the technologies that were used to mitigate the data attack.
Compensation can be highly reduced with a sound proof risk management plan set in place.
Executing your cyber security plan framework
A data breach incident is highly inevitable when you have no security measures placed. Thus, you should have cyber security included in your risk management plan. Case studies have shown that organizations that are prepared to handle such incidents are more likely to stay in the market for longer than those with no security plans set.
You don’t really have to take the hassle of drafting a risk assessment plan yourself. There are a number of websites who provide online tools and software that would help you build your risk assessment plan for you. Among the highly recommended is Business Propel, who can systematically conduct a risk assessment procedure for your business and design a custom risk management plan for you.
After you get a risk management plan designed for your business, you should be aware of how to execute the plan in case of a data breach. Follow these steps to catch hold of the incident and mitigate its effects:
– Step 1: Identify the incident:
Not every incident will involve hackers. Some of the data leakages might occur due to electronic malfunctioning, electronic thefts, untrained employees, etc. Depending upon the cause of the incident, you’ll need to put the correct response plan into action. Nonetheless, the first thing would be to prevent further data loss. Next, you should decide whether to notify the police or not.
You can also change the access passwords or keys if required. So, all these decisions will be based on the nature and scope of the incident.
– Step 2: Convene your team:
When something as big as a data breach occurs, it is crucial that you and your team should be on the same page as far as the further security of data is concerned.
You should assemble your entire team and brief them about the incident, future steps to be taken and a communication channel that’ll be followed henceforth.
– Step 3: Analyze the incident:
Your team should begin analyzing the incident and gather whatever proofs they can. All this could prove beneficial if your case is presented in the court. You can call in your lawyers to identify the information which is worthy to be preserved.
Once all the information has been gathered, you can identify the affected individuals and can start working on risk mitigation and consumer protection.
– Step 4: Involve the Law Enforcement:
Depending on the nature of your case, you could either approach the law enforcement or wait until the law enforcement approaches your organization for information.
In any case, you must be mindful of the information you’ll be giving out to the law authorities. Mention that your organization is also the victim of the identity theft. By admitting the problem up front, law proceedings might get delayed to preserve the reputation of your organization.
– Step 5: Study the Consumer Response:
You should take immediate steps to protect your customers or let them protect themselves. You could begin by publically informing them about the cyber-attack and assure them about the relevant compensation. This is extremely crucial to retain your customer base and protect your brand image.
Conclusion: Data breaches can stem from numerous causes and can lead to unexpected outcomes. This calls for a strong cyber security risk management and response plan to be prepared well in advance. If you already have a risk management plan, get the clause of cyber security added to it at the earliest.