Incident Response: How to Minimize a Digital Threat

By Keith Millett | Jun 18, 2018 | Blog

Every company wants to prevent digital threats from impacting or damaging their workplace. Unfortunately, unless you turn off all of your computers, you will not be able to prevent every incoming threat; this is simply the reality of today’s world.

Fortunately, there are ways your organization can minimize digital threats and handle ones that do happen quickly and effectively. Every industry will have their own unique way of handling incidents depending on whether or not they are regulated and what type of threat is most common. Most importantly, companies need to pinpoint where the threat is coming from, cut off access to the data, and learn from the threat in order to improve their prevention strategies for the future.

Common Threats

Today, the most common digital threats to your company revolve around phishing scams or hackers who are looking to trick employees into providing information through emails, texts, phone calls, social media, or other tactics. The employee will believe they are being contacted by someone they know or a trusted source. Then, by clicking a link or giving their password or information, the employee will inadvertently grant the hacker access to their device or sensitive data.

As well, there may be instances of employees who are leaving the company and are disgruntled, have been financially bribed, or are simply uninformed on how to share data securely, so they end up releasing company data and purposefully or unintentionally harming your company.

Minimizing Threats

One of the biggest things you can do to minimize threats is implementing high-level end-user training and security awareness. Your employees have constant access to your data, so helping them understand proper security measures is very effective in minimizing digital threats. Within the office, you can have video-based training and security awareness posters to remind employees of online security best practices. More importantly, by helping employees understand the relevance of security concerns in their personal lives, not just in the workplace, you can help them understand why they must take precautions to avoid becoming victims.

It’s also crucial to research and analyze technical control methods and constantly test them. With a regular testing plan and assistance from a third party that evaluates your internal and external controls, you can be more conscious of how well you are protected from digital threats. Be aware that your testing methods may change as new threats arise or you discover better ways; this is completely normal and a great way to stay ahead of a hacker’s evolving motives.

Handling the Aftermath

When a threat occurs within your company, there are a few steps you can take to soften the blow. You may have discovered that your data was breached when an agency informs you, or perhaps you discover it on your own. If the data is still actively vulnerable, you must cut off access as soon as possible. You would also want to quickly notify clients or the public, depending on your regulatory/contractual requirements, in order to get ahead of any PR reports.

Once that’s completed, you want to gather as much information as possible on how the breach occurred. This will better help you understand what went wrong and how to implement a better protection plan for the future. As said before, you won’t be able to prevent every threat, but you can learn from each one and better implement prevention tactics for similar threats that may occur. You can also leverage cyber insurance to help manage the cost of fines and other after-effects.

Final Thoughts

No company has the option to turn off all their computers and go back to the old pen and paper ways of business. Sadly, that means we are constantly at risk of digital threats. The best we can do is be aware of the dangers and protect ourselves as diligently as possible.

CTI is wholly prepared to assist with security planning, as well as rapid incident response. As experts, we create security strategies based on documented best practices, and implement them in a timely and appropriate manner to help minimize the impact of security incidents.

Contact us today to learn more about how to protect your business data and be prepared for the inevitable.