1) Act quickly. Report the breach immediately to local law enforcement. Notify important suppliers, vendors and partners.
2) Alert your customers. If there is a data breach involving customers’ personal information, activate your plan to alert them. The information compromised could be incredibly harmful to your customers, so alert them as soon as possible.
3) Investigate. If you do not have the resources to do an internal investigation, consult a third party. The quicker the breach can be dealt with, the fewer negative effects your company will endure.
4) Take measures to lessen the chance of a future breach. Fortunately, a data breach can be a good learning tool for your company. Analyze why the breach happened and take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has many resources available to assist you and your company in recovering from a data breach.
If your company handles critical assets such as customers’ personal data, intellectual property or proprietary corporate data, you are at risk of a data breach. It doesn’t matter if you are a Fortune 500 company or a small “ma and pa” shop—cyber thieves are always looking for their next score. It is often assumed that smaller businesses can escape attention from cyber crooks, but according to Verizon Communication’s 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report, 31 percent of data breaches were at companies with 100 or fewer employees. No company of any size is completely safe from a data breach.