Data breaches or ransomware attacks are a scary reality for any small to medium enterprise. If you operate on the grid (or store your information on the cloud), your whole company could be at risk of a cyber incident at all times.

Statistics estimate that the average company could be affected by a virtual attack on its systems every 5 seconds. This figure might even be an underestimation of the true danger.

The importance of a cyber incident response plan protects your company, your employees, and your customers in the event of an attack.

Here are 5 things to do in the event that your company is affected by a ransomware attack or data breach.

1. Escalate the Issue
The first thing anyone in the company should do in the event of a ransomware attack or data breach is to escalate the issue to the correct department. Stop using linked, active systems immediately, and inform the appropriate company sector that you suspect there has been an attack or breach on the system.

This allows for quick damage control and immediate action in the event of an attack or breach.

2. Inform Everyone Connected
The second step is to inform everyone connected of the breach or attack.

People who don’t know that there’s been an attack on the system can, through the lack of knowledge, put the system at an even greater risk.

  • Any employee who is connected to the system should disconnect immediately.
  • Advise employees to change their passwords with immediate effect.
  • Impose a no USB rule throughout the company in the event of a breach; this makes further cyber incidents less likely and stops the current one from spreading even further.
  • Advise employees to disconnect smartphones from any associated company files or accounts. Like fewer flash drives in company computers, it stops potential ransomware from spreading.

3. Secure All Systems
Secure all systems, including servers, email servers, and computer systems immediately.

Do not submit to ransomware attacks. Advise employees to never agree with an attacker’s demands, but to focus on heightened device security both at home and work.

Company systems can be secured with a professional cybersecurity team, and this is strongly advised.

4. Find Professional Help
All companies, especially small ones, should have a third-party online security provider. Discuss the cyber incident response plan with your security provider ahead of time – and make sure they know what to do in the event of an attack.

Larger companies are advised to allocate a cybersecurity department that is constantly assessing and negating the company’s risk.

5. Inform the Authorities
A company should always inform the authorities in the event of a data breach or attack. Law enforcement is far from powerless in finding and prosecuting ransomware attackers.

Purporting a cyberattack is still against the law and it can be part of a company’s response strategy. Law enforcement action can allow a faster, safer resolution.