As many companies have already discovered, it’s only a matter time before you’re hit with a cyber attack of some sort. The question is how will you respond. A strategic plan could make the difference between your company quickly recovering — or faced with the possibility of losing millions of dollars.
According to the latest statistics, cybercrime is costing companies around the world damages to the tune of $450 billion a year. Along with that, the media cost of cybercrime has increased at a rate of nearly 200 percent during the past five years.
To paint an even clearer picture of how massive the illegal cyber attack business has become, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) noted that if it was a legitimate company it would fall just behind Apple as the largest in the United States. It impacts $445 billion annually compared to the $647 billion Apple generates and the $391 billion by Exxon Mobil. NSA former director Keith Alexander described it as the “greatest transfer of wealth in history.”
Based on its projections, the CSIS said in its report that there is no “credible scenario in which cybercrime losses diminish.”
“Cybercrime is here to stay,” said Stewart Baker, one of the study’s lead author, who was interviewed by Bloomberg. “The real question is do we know what cybercrime is costing us?”
Develop a cyber attack response plan
In addition to preventative security measures, companies need to minimize the damages caused by cyber attacks. Here are several steps that are essential to your response plan.
Form an incident response team. Determine the key personnel need to respond to a breach, including the technical team, PR officials, the human relations department, legal experts, and data protection experts. Examine possible scenarios caused by a cyber attack, including the loss of personal information of employees and customers. It’s also important to outline the steps that will quickly be taken by the team after an incident, including legal action.
Identify measures for business continuity. Commit your IT team to the task of securing IT systems after a breach — limiting the potential for further damage. If a section is compromised, that area should be immediately suspended. In a worse case scenario, the entire network may need to be shut down. In that case, determine what will be necessary to get operations resuming.
Prepare a PR plan. Whether the breach compromises the personal information of employees or customers, develop a plan on how those identified will be informed. Be upfront about the extent of the breach.