6 things to include in a data breach response plan

Just like taxes, data breaches aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, in 2023, Gartner expects over $188.3 billion will be spent on risk management and security solutions. 

So how can we invest that money? Well, the data breach response plan (DBRP) is an information security solution that every business needs to have in its security toolkit. Essentially an emergency response plan, an effective DBRP can help us respond to a security breach quickly, investigate the cause better than Magnum P.I. and help limit as much damage as possible to keep our operations moving. 

When we’re making a DBRP, there are 6 things we need to include to make our plans as foolproof as possible. 

1. A data breach response team

The data breach response team is a squad of employees that maintain all aspects of our DBRPs – planning, execution, maintenance, etc. They’re the Charlie’s Angels to our organisations, helping to protect us from data breaches while updating our data security strategies. The members of a response team are often the first ones to jump into action when a security breach is discovered.

Members of response teams need to come from all departments as diverse expertise can make more efficient response plans. A DBRP needs to have a section on who the individual members are, their roles, and how they can be contacted.

2. Incident response procedures and policies

When it comes to cyber security, we can’t leave things for another day. If malicious entities want to acquire our business’ sensitive information, then we need to have security measures in place to respond to them ASAP. Our DBRPs need to have incident response practices and policies – regulations that outline how we will respond to a data breach.

Let’s cut to the chase, our incident response procedures need to cover the following:

Taking the time to document our procedures isn’t about giving ourselves a break from our work (that’s what lunch is for!). Documenting our company’s processes is important for protecting people’s personal data in case of a breach. These documents provide references for how to respond to incidents quickly, helping us remain compliant with our industry and the law.

3. Records of the incident

Unlike our first attempt at trying out a new recipe and burning the food, information security is something we can’t afford to forget. Data security is important to our business’ success. So, when breaches do occur, we need to know all the details of the incident as well as we know our favourite movie quotes. An IT emergency response plan needs to have protocols in place that outline what our investigations need to uncover. 

Here’s what our records need to include:

Our records need to be more detailed than an award-winning photograph. Gathering more information about a breach will allow us to bring our A-game when answering customers’ questions. As a bonus, it also gives us insights into our security culture and posture, helping us to improve them and reduce data breaches.

4. Contact details for necessary personnel

This point is so important it has to have its own section! During a crisis, being able to contact the right people can help us kickstart our emergency response plans as seamlessly as possible. The contact details – phone numbers, email addresses, and names – a company puts into its data breach response plan need to be updated whenever they’re changed. It’s also a great idea to get in touch with these personnel regularly to guarantee that details are never out of date.

During a breach, we can’t afford to spend time looking up the contact numbers of law enforcement agencies or key players in our data security strategies. If we gather all this information early and catalogue it, everything will be right at our fingertips, making our plans more responsive and taking some of the stress of the situation away.

5. A plan for communications 

Quick question: what’s the easiest way to keep everyone in the loop? The answer’s simple – a communication strategy. Our communication strategies ought to contain customisable messages that explain the incident, the steps we’re taking to address the issue, and what it means for those impacted.

Typically, we have separate communication strategies for:

By developing communication plans, we can keep our messages consistent and clear for all parties. Trust us, transparency will help smooth out any wrinkles while the breach is being investigated.

6. Security awareness and training

Knowing how to handle data breaches and upholding data protection regulations can take an organisation’s cyber security culture from a solid C to an A+. A data breach response plan is made better when cyber security awareness training is incorporated into it. With routine training sessions, we can educate our employees on how to better protect themselves and company data from threats.

Let’s protect ourselves with a comprehensive DBRP

Protecting data is integral to organisational success. If a cybercriminal were to gain access to our networks, the aftermath would be less than ideal. But, with a security breach emergency response plan in place, we can mitigate risks and respond to threats simultaneously.

The cyber security specialists at Atarix are experts in all things data security, from data encryption to response plans and more. With an Atarix data breach professional at their side, businesses can maximise their security and response efforts for greater compliance, now and in the future.