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05. March 2021

The Dreaded Data Breach: What to Do When Your Organization’s Data Privacy Is Compromised

It’s best to have a plan in place before data privacy is compromised. Keep these steps in mind and add them to the governance of your data to be prepared.

Data is a part of everything we do, from how individuals pay their bills to how organizations interact with their consumers, so when a data breach happens–and they do–you need to be on top of it to keep your organization moving forward. It’s best to have a plan in place before data privacy is compromised so that you aren’t playing catch-up trying to contain and track the breach. Keep these steps in mind and add them to the governance of your data to be prepared.

4 Steps to Take When Your Organization’s Data Privacy Is Compromised

1. Communicate the Data Breach

One important step, if not the most important step, to take when the privacy of the data associated with your company is compromised is to communicate the breach. The breach needs to be communicated with everyone in your organization, all partners, any consumers about whom you store private data, and the state that regulates your data compliance.

Being open and transparent about the breach lends a certain amount of trust that your organization knows how to handle the breach. You’ll want to communicate all the steps you are taking and the major steps of your investigation, especially the type of data that was accessed. Even if the private data of your consumers wasn’t specifically targeted, your consumers need to know that their data could potentially be at risk.

Know Your State Laws About Data Breaches

When it comes to major data breaches, it’s vital you understand what laws your state has in place for what to do when an organization’s data is compromised. For example, if you live in California, then you need to be aware of both California state laws and the CCPA regulations that are relevant to the breach. It’s especially important to pay attention to wider, industry-focused regulations such as HIPAA, which may have different statutes about compromised data in different states.

2. Contain and Isolate the Data Compromise

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A key part of dealing with a privacy compromise is containing and isolating the breach. What this means is that you already have the infrastructure in place, such as a Security Information and Events Management system, that is set up to detect abnormal activity or access to private data. Having security infrastructure in place gives you a head start when a breach happens because it allows the system to automatically find, track, and isolate the breach, preventing any further compromises at the moment by locking down the system completely.

Knowing about data breaches as they happen enhances the trust your organization garners from the public and any consumers who use your organization. In this case, knowing is always better than not knowing. If you don’t already have a SIEM system in place, now is the time to get one to head off any compromises that could negatively impact your organization.

Contain Access to Data

In this case, limiting the access employees, partners, and consumers have to any data involved in your organization means battening down the hatches and changing the security protocols for data access. In a practical sense, this means changing the passwords, security keys, and encryption that are already in place for everyone connected to the organization.

3. Understand the Issue

You must understand when and how the data breach happened. The best way to do this is to employ forensic data analysis to pin down where the breach happened, if there were any clues leading up to the breach, and if there were any human errors that might have contributed to it. Some steps to understanding the issue should be taken in advance and others after, like:

  • Keeping up automated, 24/7 data capture on all traffic
  • Inspecting traffic for abnormalities in data access
  • Storing and recording all network information
  • Analyzing data capture

Knowing the root of your issue – specifically how data was accessed from outside of the organization and the type of data that was breached – is your first step to preventing further data breaches in the future. It’s a good idea to have some forensic measures in place so that, if a breach happens, you can respond with an immediate investigation. One of the best things you can do is have an automated program capture data on all data traffic.

4. Make a Prevention Plan

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Your last step in dealing with compromised data is to make a prevention plan to forestall any future breaches. A prevention plan usually means combing through all the relevant privacy laws to make sure that your organization is compliant with all aspects of these laws. Other parts of your prevention plan will be shoring up your security defenses to make it more difficult to breach your system, as well as setting up certain security and forensic measures.

Invest in Automated Systems

You will also want to look into how you can reduce any human error that may have contributed to the breach. The easiest way to do this is to invest in an automated process for data privacy management, including automated search and analysis programs, generating automatic security reports that identify weaknesses in privacy protection, and transferring all of your data to a secure cloud-based system that gives administrators instant access to the organization’s data in the case of a breach.

Each of these parts of your prevention plan will save you time and resources, enabling you to have better privacy regulations and better response times in the event of a breach.

How Aparavi Helps with Data Breaches

Aparavi’s Data Intelligence & Automation Platform helps prevent data breaches and handle any that have already occurred by making it easier to see where your data lives. With Aparavi, you can:

  1. Ensure data security: Quickly locate high-risk data types to enact proper security measures and avoid potential breaches.
  2. Integrate The Aparavi Platform into security training: With our easy-to-use platform, any level of user can find data efficiently and act on it.
  3. Mitigate the impact of data security breaches and limit liability: Immediately scan the breached storage location to see what types of information was breached, and identify the users impacted by the breach, so you can contact consumers who were impacted and the relevant authority within the required time frame (in the case of GDPR, within 72 hours).

Data breaches that compromise the security of your organization’s private data can happen, and when they do you will be better off if you are prepared to handle every aspect of the breach. There are important steps to follow, including keeping up transparent communication about the breach, containing and isolating the breach, doing an analysis of what was compromised, and making a prevention plan with privacy regulation laws in mind. To learn more about protecting your organization’s data privacy, contact Aparavi, the experts in data intelligence and automation.