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What to Do if Your Business Experiences a Data Breach

employee looking at computer screen with data breach

With all of the new software available that can prevent hackers from making their way into a business’ computer systems, you’d think that security breaches would be few and far between. But with time comes adaptation, and hackers will eventually learn how to make their way into the new systems, too. Even if you may think you’re fully protected, every professional should know what to do if their business experiences a data breach.

Here are 5 helpful steps for handling a data breach:

Step 1: Report the breach to law enforcement.

First and foremost you need to report the incident to law enforcement. The worst thing you can do is wait around thinking that, with combined efforts, your team can figure it out. Many times breaches occur internally, meaning one of your employees is the root cause of the problem. Trying to get your employees (especially the perpetrator) to solve the problem isn’t going to get you anywhere. It’s best to let the professionals handle the issue. As soon as a problem occurs, call the FBI U.S. Secret Service Electronic Task Force at 202-406-5708.

Step 2: Notify Attorneys and Insurance Agents.

Handling a data breach can be a long legal battle. Be sure to get in touch with your attorney and insurance carriers right away. They’ll help guide you through all of the legalities involved in the breach process. Most insurance carriers even have breach coaches who will educate you on all the do’s and don’ts of handling a data breach, including how to notify your customers.

Step 3: Work with your legal reps to notify your customers

Your customers are what will keep your business running. Anytime that their data is compromised, they should be in the know. Before you go and make an official announcement, be sure to discuss the proper procedures with your legal representatives. Many businesses see a huge financial impact from a loss of customer trust than anything else after a data breach. The businesses that inform their customers right away and ensure them that they’re proactively working to fix the issue are the ones that seem to bounce back the fastest.

Step 4: Be prepared for an investigation.

Most insurance carriers will hire forensic experts to determine the extent of the damage, but you can help by being prepared with phone numbers that the carriers may need. Be sure you have your legal and claims department numbers on hand at all times throughout the investigation process. The more helpful and diligent you are, the better position your business will be in the long run.

Step 5: Fix any security issues that may have led to the breach.

After the investigation is over, you’ll probably find a few areas that need fixing to ensure a breach doesn’t happen again. While all repairs and changes should be left to the experts, you can help by cleaning up your cyber liability risks to decrease your chances of another breach occurring.

There are so many moving parts to keep track of when a breach occurs that it can feel a bit overwhelming, especially when you’re worried about the health of your business. Thankfully, there are a few different types of insurance policies that can help keep your business afloat should a data breach ever occur, such as cyber liability insurance and business interruption insurance.

At Snellings Walters, we care about your business as if it were our own. That means if you’re hit with a data breach, we’ll be there to help guide you back up to the surface. If you need help with your business coverages, or are looking for an insurance agency that’ll have your back, get in touch with us here, or call us at 770-637-1727.