How to Prepare for Data Breaches
A basketball coach might have said this quote, but it also applies to data breaches. With the right preparation, you can handle an incident without any missteps and confusion. It begins with establishing an incident response team that includes the technical team members, executives, legal team members, communications team, etc. So, if and when an incident occurs, each member will have critical insight into handling it.
The will to succeed is important, but what’s more important is the will to prepare
Establishing a chain of command to coordinate the incident responses carefully is also crucial. Everyone should know exactly what their roles and responsibilities are.
Apart from the right team, you need the right technology to detect a breach and equipment that can respond to an incident. Most of this equipment is placed off-network. This way, it doesn’t get compromised in case of an attack. You also have to focus on regular data backups and states stored off-network to bring your systems back online smoothly and seamlessly.
To determine the technology you need, you have to start with the kind of data you have. During data breach litigation and eDiscovery, you will be dealing with a large volume of data in the form of records, social media, emails, and more. Instead of focusing on everything, focus on what’s most important.
What Steps Should You Take? A Detailed Analysis of Data Breach Response
When it comes to a data breach prevention plan, one of the main challenges you might face is limited visibility. Your security system should be able to detect events that otherwise would be under the radar. You need a centralized system that can analyze and correlate data and integrate security tools.
Apart from this, here are a few steps you can take to prepare for security incidents and data breaches:
The first step is to identify compromised or stolen data and resources. You should know exactly which business processes were affected by the attack. By knowing which systems were compromised, you can determine the attack’s intent.
Determine the Data
Next, you must look into the regulator requirements that must be addressed immediately. In most cases, you will have to save all logs and critical data off-line for at least a year.
If your organization is required to follow regulatory guidelines, you might have to report the breach to the authorities. These can be regulatory bodies or even federal law enforcement. Failure to report the incident on time might lead to significant fines.
All the evidence pertaining to the security breach must be preserved. Preserving the crime scene must be included in your response plan so that the evidence remains admissible in court. You can hire a digital presence team to ensure that critical evidence is preserved while following legal guidelines.
It is imperative to quarantine the impacted systems to avoid spreading the attack. However, it is also important to perform a forensic balance, for which you will need to make the redundant systems available.
Quarantine and Redundancy
You need the right tools to find the point of entry of the attack path. It will also help you know the time of the attack and the malware used. Once you know the attack path and malware, you must analyze every device along the path. Apart from this, you also have to identify devices that might have been compromised.
Trace Attack Chain
All the employees, even if they don’t work in security or IT teams, must be made cyber-aware. In most cases, security attacks impact the whole employee base. With the proper training, they will be able to respond to the attack the right way and even help prevent incidents.
Best Practices To Prevent Data Breaches in Your Organization
Many public and private organizations today understand the importance of protecting the sensitive information of their customers, partners, and employees. However, even with stringent measures, data breaches have become surprisingly common. In fact, something may happen regardless of how many security measures you put in place. However, there are some best practices to prevent a data breach or at least reduce the possibility of its likelihood. Let’s take a look at those:
Before you can investigate the breach, you must identify its extent. Cybercriminals usually target personally identifiable information (PII) and nonpublic personal information (NPI). This information is then sold on the Dark Web. Apart from this, they might also steal intellectual information, such as trade secrets. You are responsible for ensuring that all the information is protected and disaggregated.
You should also know your data collection, transmission, storage, and processing systems. To do this, you can use an asset detection technology that can catalog virtual machines, on-premise servers, agents, hosts, networks, applications, workloads, logs, files, social media records, and more. To prevent a data breach, all the assets should be continually monitored. Using eDiscovery software, such as Casepoint, ensures that you are able to upload and process data easily. Its built-in AI and advanced search features will help you review data faster.
Identify Breach Or Process
Users can cover different types of identities. As a part of your data breach prevention strategy, you should identify standard users, privileged users, software update agents, contractors, and more. Each user can be an access point, making them a data breach risk.
Identify Users With Access
Once you have identified users, locations, and devices with access to sensitive data, each needs to be assessed for its risk level. Since you keep adding users, locations, and devices to your organizations, it can create new risks. This can create new challenges.
For instance, a standard user with access to an on-premise application that doesn’t have any sensitive data is considered low risk. However, a privileged user accessing sensitive information in a cloud-based database is considered high risk. It is crucial to assess the risk level of each user and keep updating this information as your organization grows.
Assess The Risk Level
A data breach response plan outlines the steps you should take in the event of a security or data breach. It should cover what constitutes an incident, who will be involved in the response team, and the follow-up steps you will have to take.
In case of a data breach, your immediate steps will determine how well your business recovers from it. Staying calm and professional while handling the breach will show the authorities and customers that you can bounce back from this. A panicked and disordered response will not only upset your customers but also impact your ability to recover from the attack.
With a data breach response plan, you will know exactly what steps your security team can take after an attack. It will enable you to react decisively and quickly and limit the breach’s impact.
Initiate A Data Breach Response Plan
Now that you have a plan, it’s time to recruit your players. A typical incident response team will have members from the legal team, IT team, security team, human resources team, communications team, business continuity officers, and governance team. However, depending on your organization, it might vary. You can also involve some stakeholders in the team. Make sure to add partners such as PR firms, law firms, and other authorities.
Assemble Incident Response Team
When it comes to mitigating risks, establishing a set of controls is crucial. It will help you understand how the cybercriminal might be able to gain access to the data. Employing these controls will also reduce the likelihood of data breaches. Here are some examples of security controls:
- Vulnerability Monitoring
- Identify and Access Management
- Security Patch Updates
You can create a cybersecurity policy incorporating risk analysis and tolerance. It will also document the procedures and processes you have incorporated for mitigating data breach risks. It should include objectives, scope, responsibilities, and specific goals.
Users should only have access to information required to perform their jobs. The focus of privileged data access should be on a need-to-know basis. In a cloud-based ecosystem, this can be difficult because it connects different business-critical applications, such as Electronic Health Records (EHR), or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Since these applications have different definitions of user roles, limiting access can be difficult.
In a large enterprise, employees often change roles within the company, which can create even more challenges. So, in cases like this, you must keep updating the user access as required. With Casepoint’s role-based security, you will be able to ensure that all your data compliance and privacy needs are met.
Limit Access To Necessary Users
Privileged users are the ones with the riskiest identities in the organization. These privileged users can be human users, such as system administrators, or even machines, such as software update agents. Depending on the risk level, you need to implement security controls. But, this isn’t enough. You also have to monitor these security controls.
In some cases, malicious actors start by gaining standard user credentials and more access to give that account privileged access. These anomalous privileged access requests should be monitored. It will help you detect a compromised account and prevent a data breach.
Monitor Security Controls
As your organization grows, you incorporate more web-based applications. In order to thwart cybersecurity attacks, you must have a strong password policy and a strong passphrase.
Your password policy should incorporate the best practices to prevent data breach, including:
- More than 10 characters
- At least one special character
- At least one number
- At least one uppercase letter
Consider providing a password management program account to your employees so they create unique passwords.
Establish a Strong Password
Almost every organization is required to meet some form of eDiscovery compliance requirements. It is important to note that compliance doesn’t equal security, however, it can give you insights into your organization’s policy on security controls.
While point-in-time audits can be helpful, it isn’t always enough. You also have to document all activities pertaining to your security controls. This documentation will also give insights into the maturity of your cybersecurity program and enable you to improve it. An eDiscovery solution like Casepoint can help you with it. Thanks to their powerful and time-saving technology, you will be able to respond faster to data breaches, FOIA requests, and GDPR and CCPA data subject access requests.
Conduct An Audit to Prove Governance
Why is Cyber Incident and Data Breach Response Management Important?
A data breach doesn’t only impact the operations of your organization but also its reputation. Regulators expect you to demonstrate your ability to address risks and maintain a record of all security incidents. In case of a data breach, you are expected to respond quickly and efficiently. Considering these events as a one-off is no longer acceptable.
Security incidents are now multi-jurisdictional. If you look at the EU, regulations might be the same, but regulators aren’t. After a breach, you have little time to report to the regulators. It is important to remember that a data breach is a legal incident and should be reported to the affected parties and regulators within the set timeframe. You are responsible for identifying the affected data, determining if it meets the data breach criteria, and creating a report. It is possible to automate and synchronize the complex breach response process.
Creating a data breach prevention plan requires you to change your thinking process and think about the best practices for preventing data breaches. Assume that a data breach has already occurred. In that case, are there any issues in the security architecture that prevent you from seeing it? Is your existing system capable of detecting out-of-the-ordinary behavior? How long does it take for your network to find the breach and determine your response? Is your team ready to respond to the breach?
Once you answer these questions and follow the above-mentioned data breach prevention tips, you can combine them with your security technology assessment, incident response drills, and regular wargaming to create a data breach prevention plan and minimize the attack’s impact.