10 Things Your Small Business Data Breach Response Plan Must Have


10 Things Your Small Business Data Breach Response Plan Must Have

The 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity Report from cybersecurity software company Keeper found hackers have breached half of the 28 million small businesses in the U.S. With small businesses becoming increasingly under cyber-security and data breach threats, it’s vital they have a comprehensive and solid data breach response plan in place.

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What You Need in a Data Breach Response Plan

If you’re a small business looking to make the wise move of implementing a data breach response plan into the culture of your business, take a look at the following ten things that every small business data breach response plan should include.

Determine How Vulnerable You Are to an Attack

Which industry do you operate in? Some industries are naturally more vulnerable to cyber-attacks than others. According to the 2016 IBM X-Force Cyber Security Intelligence Index, healthcare comes out on top of the most cyber-attacked industries.



Determining how vulnerable your business is to falling victim of a data breach should be the first thing you research when devising a response plan, as this will give you a clearer picture of how much time, money and effort should be put into a cyber-attack response strategy.

Identify Data That Constitutes a Data Breach

Every data breach response plan needs to define the type of data that would constitute a data breach. Generally speaking, data that contains customer and employee information, such as credit card numbers and social security numbers, would create serious issues for a business if stolen or compromised.

State and International laws require victims to be informed if such data has been compromised. It is therefore vital that the security of such data is prioritized in a data breach response plan.

Classify Data Assets

Once you have identified what your business’s primary data assets are, classify them in order of importance. Make the classification system simple and easy to follow, compromising of High, Medium and Low assets.

This way, if a breach occurs, you’ll know which assets need to be given priority over others.

Empower the Response Team

When devising your response plan, spend time of empowering a response team. In order to save your business money by having to bring in outside help, align the response plan with existing business continuity plans. Consequently, the response team will be able to make effective and timely decisions in the wake of a data breach.

Who Is Responsible for What During a Data Breach?

When working on the responsibilities of the response team, map out precisely who takes on which roles if a breach of data should rear its head. This is a cost-effective and easy-to-implement way to help limit the amount of damage and control processes in the wake of a security breach.

Create a Communication Plan of Attack

Your data breach response plan should include a communications strategy, which outlines how the likes of employees, customers or even the public would be notified and communicated with in the event of a cyber-attack.

If you’re a small business on a tight budget, ensure the plan includes a cost-effective communications’ strategy, such as using social media or email notifications to inform stakeholders if a security issue had arisen.

When You Might Need to Bring in External Help

Small businesses typically have small teams, which lack in IT, security and other specialized professionals. Part of your plan should include at what point when a data attack occurs will external support, such as IT and security practices, be brought in.

Get the Right Legal Support

A breach of valuable data can create a legal minefield and for small businesses, the costs associated with rectifying such a legal minefield can be eternally crippling.

It is therefore imperative to have a legal support team in place to deal with the legalities of the breach to help limit the damages should a breach of vital data occur.

Make Data Breach Insurance Requirements Part of Your Response Plan

If a small business has its data compromised without any data breach insurance in place, the financial and reputational damage the cyber-attack can create, can be enough to end the business.

Cyber breach insurance offers protection and support to businesses that become victim to a data breach.

When devising your data breach plan, spend time determining whether to take the precaution of taking out data breach insurance. If you do decide to pay for such insurance, be sure to include the details of the insurer in your plan, such as the phone number and policy number, so you can contact them with ease, should an attack take place.

Practice Makes Perfect!

Once you have a solid data breach response plan in place, don’t just hide it away and forget about it until you need to rely on it when an attack happens. Practice the plan and its different steps with your team, regularly.

Running through the plan won’t take up too much time or require a large investment of money. What it will however mean, if a breach does occur, your small business is ready for it!

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Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead


Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a professional freelance writer and journalist based in the United Kingdom. Since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read Gabrielle’s blog here.

One Reaction

  1. Aira Bongco

    A good plan of action must be in place. This will help you and your team to be on the same page in case an attack happens.

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