It seems as if no business is safe, with hackers targeting everyone from small businesses to banks. (Photo Courtesy: Pexel Images)
It seems as if no business is safe, with hackers targeting everyone from small businesses to banks. (Photo Courtesy: Pexel Images)

There are estimates that by the end of 2019, data breaches and cyber attacks will have cost businesses $2.1 trillion. This is around four times the amount that businesses lost in 2015, so it’s clear that online security is more essential than ever before. It seems as if no business is safe, with hackers targeting everyone from small businesses to banks. Prevention is always going to better than the cure, but knowing how to react when you suspect a data breach is essential. The faster that you respond to a cyber attack, the more that you can minimize the fallout. As businesses become more reliant on hard data, it’s vital that you understand just why early detection is important, and how it can help you reduce the impact of a cyber attack.

The Kill Chain

Back in 2011, the Cyber Kill Chain was defined, and it has become the model for helping to identify when a data breach is occurring and providing a standard response to any threat. The key steps are:

  • Reconnaissance: Make sure that you get as much information about the breach as possible.
  • Weaponization: Identify the right tools that you can use to stop deeper access. Using professional resources like the information from www.mcafee.com highlights the transition from traditional online security to more modern tools.
  • Delivery: Launch your protection response.
  • Exploitation: Finding security gaps in the attacker’s systems and using them to prevent more access.
  • Command and Control: Using remote commands to protect systems that are under attack.
  • Actions: Updating objectives and knowing whether you need to destroy sensitive data, remove it, or encrypt it.

This kill chain, when used proactively, can be used to highlight a cyber attack very quickly, and will minimize your exposure to potential threats.

Data Breach Response

It’s important that you do not panic should you recognize the signs of a cyber attack. Staying calm will help you work through the processes and ensure that any ongoing threat has some level of damage control. You should also consider the following additions to your security processes:

  • Have a response team: Ideally, you want your response team to consist of IT professionals, but having a more diverse skill set that includes HR and customer service will only make your team stronger and more flexible.
  • Have Back Up: If you’re using cloud platforms or your in-house servers have come under attack, it’s vital that you transfer your data to a backup server. This will allow you to continue workflow without interruption. As your more vulnerable IT is under attack, your team can be working to minimize the effects of it even as your sales team continues to generate profits. Early detection will ensure that you minimize exposure time to the threat.

Trying to prevent an attempt at a data breach is very difficult, and that’s why your priority should be knowing how to recognize the signs. Early breach detection is as important a consideration as overall security, and could make the difference between a hack that costs you your business and one that simply frustrates you.