Unfortunately, data breaches have become a relatively common security issue online, affecting organizations of all sizes and leaving millions of users’ information exposed. As a business owner, your clients and customers rely on you to keep their information safe. This includes payment data, names, addresses, and anything else you may have stored in your system.
Hopefully, your business will never fall victim to a data breach. However, it’s important to plan for the possibility. By understanding what to do after a data breach, you can take the necessary steps to mitigate damage and prevent the same issues from occurring again.
1. Update Your Online Logins
When a data breach occurs, your usernames, passwords, and other login information are no longer secure. Therefore, one of the first steps you’ll need to take is to update passwords on all of your online accounts – especially those associated with your business.
If you have other users who are authorized with separate accounts (such as on your hosting platform), this is a good time to have them change their passwords as well. While updating your password, take some time to opt into additional security measures that may help prevent a future data breach, such as multi-factor authentication.
2. Contact All Relevant Parties
Next is one of the most difficult steps: notifying your customers and all other relevant parties (such as financial institutions) of the data breach. In most states, your business has a legal obligation to inform these parties about the data breach, so make sure you’re familiar with (and abiding by) laws in the state where your business is registered and operated.
Depending on the nature of the data breach, you may also need to contact the media. This is often the case when a data breach has potentially compromised sensitive medical information. It may also be a good idea to reach out to local law enforcement and file a report. That way, the authorities can investigate the source of the breach.
3. Address Security Vulnerabilities
To prevent future data breaches, addressing, and fixing any security vulnerabilities must also be a priority. If the source of the breach is not obvious, you may need to put together an investigation team to get to the bottom of the cause. From there, you can take the necessary steps to ramp up security and hopefully prevent another breach from occurring down the road.
4. Switch to a Dedicated Server
If you don’t already have dedicated hosting in place, now is the time to make the switch. Dedicated servers provide unrivaled security for your website and give you the best opportunity to keep your data (and your clients’ data) safe. If you want to take things even further, you might consider enrolling in a managed dedicated server host. This option provides greater security and peace of mind knowing that your server will be monitored at all times.