So you’ve been hacked – now what?

A closeup of a computer monitor with lines of code on it
4 minute read  

Picture this: You walk into your office one day, and log into your computer like you would on any other day. Before you can take a sip of your morning coffee, a pop-up appears on the screen to inform you that you’ve been hacked and all of your valuable data has been compromised.

What would you do next? Unplug the computer? Call an IT specialist? Inform your customers? If you’re a small business owner, you may be more vulnerable than you imagine. More and more hackers have set their sights on targeting your business. While there are a number of precautions you can take to help protect yourself from a cyber attack, you have to be prepared in the event that one takes place. This article provides some expert tips that can help your small business recover if it’s been the victim of a cyber breach. You can find more helpful advice in our cyber risk guide which we’ve updated with new data highlighting how your risks may have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canadian businesses report spending a total of $7 billion directly on cyber security in 2019.

Why business owners may want to consider getting cyber insurance

Canadian small business owners need to be on high alert due to the growing threat of cyber attacks. Hackers are only getting savvier when it comes to breaching security measures with new, more creative methods than we’ve seen in the past.

In 2019, about one-fifth (21%) of the overall Canadian business population reported being impacted by cyber security incidents. Businesses that reported cyber security incidents to police services reported spending an average of $27,000 to recover.

According to a 2016 Symantec report, 54% of hackers targeted small businesses. The news is consistently littered with stories regarding cyber security and cyber attacks. It’s clear that this threat is only continuing to grow. While it’s important to use the resources available to help you combat this kind of risk, precautionary measures can only take you so far—nothing can 100% guarantee your company’s safety from cyber hackers. We hope that your small business never has to deal with this type of problem, we’d like to help you prepare in case it happens. Here are eight tips that can help you recover from a cyber breach.

8 tips to help deal with a cyber breach

Customers are actually more interested in how a company handles a breach than the fact that one occurred in the first place.

  1. Do not unplug: Sometimes the natural reaction to the idea of a cyber breach is to unplug and turn off everything in hopes you can stop it before it spreads. While this would disconnect your computer from the internet and your company’s server, which could prevent the hack from spreading, shutting a machine down can also delete valuable information on how the hack originated and how much damage has already been done. This information is crucial to rebuilding from the attack and preventing another.
  2. Call in a pro: It’s important to figure out what happened, how far the attack got and what’s been affected by the hack. Unless you’ve got a degree in post-breach forensic investigating, you’re likely in over your head at this point. Bringing in someone who specializes in cyber attacks is a good next step after identifying a hack. They’ll be able to determine important details including the scope of the damage that’s been done.
  3. Contain the situation: Once all the important information has been pulled by a specialist, every machine in the company should be taken offline simultaneously to prevent the cyber infection from spreading.
  4. Lawyer up: If you don’t have a lawyer for your business, now is the time to find one. A lawyer can help guide you on what legal obligations you have to your clients and customers following a cyber breach. If you’re a TruShield customer, you have access to our Legal Assist service: our specialists can help guide you through legal questions pertaining to your small business. Also, this would be a good time to contact your local law enforcement team to report the hack.
  5. Communicate quickly: Arguably the worst part of a cyber breach is communicating the issue to customers, employees and partners. It’s often best to take care of this quickly and to be as honest as possible. Forbes found that customers are actually more interested in how a company handles a breach than the fact that one occurred in the first place. Consider providing them with all the details you have at the time, and update them as more become available. Losing trust and loyalty from these groups is a major concern following a cyber attack, so maintaining as much trust as possible throughout the unpleasant process is very important.
  6. Eliminate the problem: This step can get pricey, but it’s an important part of your cyber breach response. You may have to get rid of computers and shut down your company website while things get cleaned up, depending on the type of breach. This is when business interruption insurance is extremely important.
  7. Fix the gaps in your security: The investigation you do following a breach will shine light on any vulnerabilities in your security system, and will allow you to fix any holes to help avoid another hack. Investing in firewall and intrusion prevention systems can give you another layer of security against the threat of cyber attacks.
  8. Revisit your coverage: There are a number of myths associated with cyber insurance for small business that can cloud your judgement and leave you vulnerable. Speak to your insurance provider about revisiting your policy to ensure you’re covered for the damages that a cyber breach can cause.

Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst is a good approach to take when it comes to cyber breaches and your small business. Knowing what to do after a cyber breach will only help you react quicker, which may help minimize the consequences.

For more information on this type of risk, visit our cyber security page and check back with the TruShield blog regularly. Interested in learning more about cyber insurance or want to get a quote? Contact us at 1.844.429.9480 or start your quote today.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.