Key Steps for Recovering from A Cyberattack

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2018
Cyberattack

The proliferation of internet and adoption of computer technologies has increased the risk of a cyberattack. And cybercrimes are regularly making headlines every now and then. Organizations are taking increased measures to tackle cybersecurity on a war footing. However, merely strengthening the cybersecurity is not enough and an organization must be resilient enough to sustain a debilitating cyberattack. Maintaining business continuity and customer confidence in the event of a cyberattack is critical and hence the company must have a planned response plan that will help it avoid any business disruption. The following key steps highlight all the important and sequential tasks that must be included in an IT disaster recovery plan.

Identify the Problem
It is critical to identify the problem and to provide a solution that prohibits it from affecting other parts of the computer network. As soon as the breach is discovered, the organization must quickly mobilize resources to implement a disaster recovery plan. Every company must have an ‘IT Disaster Recovery Plan’ in place to spring into action whenever required. A senior manager must be appointed as a leader to drive the efforts for recovery. The team leader must be a veteran who has thorough knowledge of the organization’s IT systems and who has been in the company for a long time. Management must ascertain all necessary details about the cyberattack. The firsthand information must highlight details like the nature of the attack, the timestamp of the attack, the assets affected, the employees affected and the business impact. The crisis management team must be cross-functional and it must comprise of various professionals like IT Security specialists, networking professional, security personnel and lawyers.

It is recommended that even managers from the public relations department be involved because PR professionals will have to cater to queries and concerns of customers, suppliers, business partners and other external stakeholders who may be impacted by the breach. It is necessary for organization to maintain low profile and build the confidence of its stakeholder till operations are back to normal. Simultaneously, IT department must embark on a tortuous journey for disconnecting all devices from the IT network and removing all the affected assets or components from the system. Instead of scraping these assets, it is advised to send them to cybersecurity forensic specialists for a thorough investigation. Next, the organization must start functions with a clean environment with limited number of machines connected to the printer. These machines must have fully formatted disk drives that have only essential software installed on them. By quickly establishing clean environment, the IT department guarantees business continuity and specialists can move ahead in conducting a detailed probe about the cyber breach.

Investigate and identify the root cause
Organizations will be required to involve a number of external cybersecurity consultants or experts who will have to spend a considerable amount of time on the premises for conducting a thorough investigation. It is essential that the organization has all the necessary contracts in place so that the concerned professionals can immediately begin their investigation process. All the necessary cooperation must be extended to these external contractors’ so that a detailed report can be obtained. Moreover, a project coordinator must be assigned the job of coordinating with different specialists so that the recovery process is right on track. Usually, the investigation is the most time-consuming part of the recovery process. While the investigation goes on, IT department must set up new servers, install critical software and get the computers up and running in the new environment.

Follow –up and build a solid legal defense
An organization’s PR team might have done a great job in retaining the confidence of external stakeholders, but there is a high chance that irked customers will file a lawsuit to claim losses or damages. Previously, companies like Yahoo have faced class-action lawsuits when confidential customer data was leaked after a cyberattack. Considering the legal hassles, organizations must liaison with local law enforcement officers. even before a cyber incident occurs. By doing so, companies can promptly report to and involve legal authorities can be promptly reported and involved after a cybercrime has occurred. Customers and other authorities always appreciate a company that takes quick and prompt efforts to protect customer data in the face of adversity.

The care and responsibility shown by the company during a crisis situation goes a long way in improving customer relationships. Despite the efforts taken by the company, there will always remain disgruntled customers who will always claim hefty and unjustified compensations. In order to deal with such customers, companies are offering services like free identity theft protection and credit monitoring services that will provide meaningful compensation to customers in the event of a cyberattack. Organizations must hire expert legal professionals to formulate policies regarding these initiatives.

Improve and Prevent future breaches
New company policies will need to be formulated after the organization has bounced back after the cyberattack. The loopholes identified by the cybersecurity experts need to be closed. Moreover, organizations have to upgrade to new systems or procure new hardware to prevent any future breaches. Statistics reveal that investing in online security technologies, advanced firewalls and encryption technologies has helped organizations save millions of dollars by containing security breaches. The senior management must rethink about hiring professional and incident response teams that are well-prepared to thwart future cyberattacks. A risk assessment plan must be formulated and security threats must be evaluated periodically. It is suggested to form a risk committee that monitors cybersecurity threats periodically. Cybersecurity must gain precedence and it must always be on the agenda during the board meeting. Realizing the growing menace of cybercrime, many organizations have begun to appoint Chief Information Security Office at the board level. Finally, the management has to add the newly identified risks to its contingency plan and update the IT disaster recovery plan.

Conclusion: –
Merely maintaining stringent security measure is not enough for an organization to counteract cyber threats. It must develop the capability of sustaining a cyberattack by having a well-defined response plan in place. Organizations have to not only quickly recover from a cyberattack but they also have to enhance security measures for preventing future attacks. The key steps discussed in the article will help any organization to withstand and also to emerge out stronger after a cybercrime has occurred.

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