website-hackerIt’s unfortunate, but data breaches are a common occurrence in today’s business climate. It’s not only wise, but it’s accurate to assume that your small to mid-sized business can get hit with a data breach in the very near future. While you may have spent hours upon hours preparing for an imminent data disaster, you might not have prepared for what to do after the fact. That is, what do you do when the damage is already done – during that grey period where you’re not sure what exactly happened and what to do about it?

Get the Word Out to Your Customers

Your immediate responsibility is to your customers. This is especially true if you’re dealing with sensitive personal or financial data. Immediately inform your customers of what happened and advise them to change all of their account information immediately. This must be handled delicately. You must simultaneously inform your customers that something bad has happened while convincing them that you have it completely under control.

Find Out What Happened as Fast as Possible

This is where the damage control wheels really start to spin. You’ll need to figure out the type of hack that took place, who committed it and what type of damage was done. During your initial review of your site and infrastructure, it may seem like everything’s under control and that you know the culprit. However, this can’t officially be determined until every nook and cranny of your system has been inspected. You can’t leave anything open or vulnerable to a malicious attack or further data breach. Your business and customers depend on it.

Beef Up Security In Three Steps

  1. Check Your Code – This step isn’t rocket science. Ask any app or web developer and they’ll tell the plethora of ways you can have vulnerabilities in your code. Examine your code. Do some extra research, and make sure this type of data breach doesn’t happen again. Or if it does, a stronger code structure will ensure that it doesn’t do nearly as much damage.
  1. Shore Up Your Computers – Take an honest inventory of your infrastructure. There may be inherent vulnerabilities in your computing system that can be fixed with an infrastructure provider like Rackspace. Don’t skim on the most crucial aspect of running your business. Get the help and resources you need to deliver a more secure hosting environment for your customers.
  1. Pay Attention – Finally, pay attention to your overall security measures. This is incredibly important for small businesses and startups. Since there isn’t a huge budget for data security specialists, your IT staff needs to be made up of jack-of-all-trades IT pros. Really, this means that your team needs to be focused, or at least have a high level of awareness of your system’s potential security weaknesses. From there, they’ll be able to respond quickly and appropriately if and when your next data breach occurs.

The bottom line is that your business cannot afford to lose any more money or customer loyalty from data breaches. Rest assured that you will lose plenty of both if you’re repeatedly confronted data breach-related downtime.

Image Credit: chanpipat at

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