A Data Breach Response Plan for Small Businesses

Did you know that if your business collects customer information and or stores customer data electronically, then you can become a potential target for a data breach? Generally speaking, a data breach happens when someone accesses or tries to steal information from your company, such as personal records, financial information, or sensitive company records. Since technology has been evolving rapidly since the new millenium, data breaches are becoming more common in today’s world, so we wanted to discuss with you how your small business can handle data breaches and stay prepared. This is why it’s critical that every small business has a data breach response plan in place.

What is a data breach?

A data breach is any time that there is a cybersecurity threat that puts sensitive information into the wrong hands. As we mentioned before, technology is advancing, and rapidly. This puts us small businesses of the world in a position where we will be storing quite a lot of information that could be open to data breaches. Although, data breaches aren’t always simply done by hackers or cyber criminals, but instead can come from multiple sources.

There are three primary cases of data breaches in small businesses in the past based on claims we’ve taken here at our agency. Sometimes, it can be as simple as an employee clicking a spam link in a sketchy email – this is called a phishing scam. While it was one of your loyal and honest employees that caused the breach, simply put, accidents can happen online. Another case is when an employee has a grudge against the company, and before leaving, they take sensitive information with them. Finally, there are the rest of the claims we’ve seen (which actually takes up the smallest percentage overall), being hackers and cyber criminal breaches.

If you’re unsure whether or not your company can be targeted for a breach, then it’s likely probable that you could be at risk. In fact, 50% of small businesses reported experiencing data breaches between 2015 and 2016 (source), and that number is always raising. Not to mention, according to Gemalto, 1,792 incidents were recorded throughout the world in 2016 that resulted in a compromised loss of over $1.4 billion in data records, which was 86% higher than in 2015 (source). The risk is very real here in 2018 folks.

How a Data Breach Impacts your Small Business

If it isn’t already apparent, a data breach can be detrimental to businesses of all sizes, but it definitely hurts more for small businesses. You’ve worked hard to build up your investment with your business, and we don’t want to see that go to waste! If your business gets breached, here’s what could happen as a result:

  • Finances – This is especially more common with hackers and cyber criminal breaches, but your finances could be at serious risk just from one breach. If they get access to your bank accounts, then they can drain the money out of them. Additionally, if your website gets attacked, then that could mean lost business for you while it’s down.
  • Reputation – Yes, your reputation could be at a serious loss if word gets out that your company was breached. If a customer loses their personal information during a breach, they could go online and leave you a negative review on Google or Facebook that strays others away from working with you.
  • Ideas – Your ideas or the “edge” that your company has on your competitors could be at risk in a breach as well. Losing finances or your reputation in your space is bad enough, but if your intellectual property is breached as well, it could be difficult to ever get ahead again, let alone stay afloat.


Crafting a Data Breach Response Plan

With all of this risk associated with data breaches, we want to make sure your small business stays prepared in whatever ways we can think of. Here are a proactive steps you can take that should help you with staying clear of breaches:

  • Stay Updated – Make sure that all of your programs, Windows operating systems, or Mac operating systems are up to date. Security measures are included in updates, so this is important to your business’ cyber security.
  • Keep your Eyes Peeled –  It’s best to keep your eyes open for any places that could cause a breach. This includes keeping an eye open for emails that are from falsified senders looking to get you roped into a phishing scam. This could also mean setting up two-step  authentication on all of your accounts, which means you are required to enter your password and another piece of information, such as a secret question. This can help ensure that outsiders who shouldn’t be in your accounts will have a harder time getting in.
  • Move to the Cloud – If all of your company’s sensitive data is stored on your company’s computers themselves, you may want to consider looking into cloud storage, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or Skydrive. Having a backup in the cloud can be critical if your data is all stolen.


Staying Protected

It’s best to take these steps to ensure that your business stays clear from data breaches online. With the right data breach response plan, you can stay weary of claims that happen online through cyber attacks. Although, you can’t always predict when someone will get past your security, or even when an inside job will happen with a sour employee. For that reason, we offer cyber liability insurance packages built for any size business that will protect your peace of mind in the cyber world. If your sensitive information is breached, then you can be compensated by the coverage our competitive packages offer. Reach out to one of our professional agents to get started today, and we’d be happy to discuss your business’ individual needs in terms of cyber liability packages.