Dealing with a cyber-attack

Author: Nigel Simmons FCCA
June 8, 2024

Most businesses have exposure to cyber risk.

Almost every modern business relies on computer networks for day-to-day operations, and this means that most firms are exposed to cyber risk. A cyber-attack is any attempt to steal data, damage or disrupt a computer system.

In the event of a cyber-attack, it’s important to manage the incident appropriately and mitigate risks.

It’s best to focus on critical assets and functions to minimise the impact of the breach. As soon as a cyber-attack is detected, it’s important to isolate the affected systems or networks, to prevent further damage. This may involve physically disconnecting any compromised devices from the internet and shutting down any affected servers.

Next, you should assess the damage. Conduct a thorough assessment of the attack to understand its scope and impact. Identify compromised data, systems, and assets to determine the extent of the breach. At this stage, it may be worth engaging the services of cyber security experts who have experience of incident response.

They can provide guidance on containment, recovery and help your business to get back on its feet quickly. Depending on the nature of the attack and applicable regulations, notify relevant parties such as customers, employees, and regulatory authorities about the breach. Transparency is crucial in building trust and managing any potential reputational damage.

Once the damage has been assessed, the focus can shift to restoring affected systems using data from your backups. Any updates or security patches should be deployed in order to fix whatever vulnerabilities allowed the cyber-attack to occur in the first place. Passwords and login details should be changed in order to prevent any further unauthorised access.

Once your systems are back up and running, they should be monitored for any signs of further suspicious activity. Once everything has been sorted out, take the opportunity to review and learn from the situation to prevent any future cyber-attacks from occurring.

Operational efficiency can also be significantly improved through data analysis. By identifying inefficiencies and streamlining processes, firms can optimise resource allocation and reduce costs. Small and medium sized firms can also explore new revenue streams through data monetization, whether that’s selling insights back to customers or developing data driven products or services.

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