How well can your small business handle a digital crisis?

By Henry Brown

We all like to think it won’t happen to us. We know (perhaps vaguely) of the threats out there, but few of us think that they will ever reach us. However, it’s those who are unprepared for a digital crisis who are most susceptible to them. Whether this is due to hackers, malware, data loss, or something else, you need to make sure that you’re ready to handle what may come.

Know your scope

First of all, you have to understand the extent of your whole business’s IT scope. This means doing an inventory of all the digital technology, including hardware, any networks, and online software you might use. You should also have a list of all the data on them, and who has access to that data. Make sure that you put in place access controls that ensure that not just anyone has access to sensitive data.

Lock it down

First, you need to have the tools to detect and report a breach as soon as possible when it happens. With those tools in place, you also must have plans to shut down and localize the intrusion as best as possible. If one terminal has been hacked, for instance, you could prevent a lot of damage by stopping the terminal from accessing the network and all your other tech, as well.

Protect the data that you have

You should implement a series of protections, including a firewall, anti-malware software, end-to-end encryption and more. A provider of managed services can help ensure that you have a full cybersecurity set-up for all business IT systems. They can help you figure out how data should be handled, secured, and ensure that not only are you being safe, but you’re also being compliant with any regulations that might apply to your business.

Learn from it

If you’ve been hit by a data breach in the past, then fixing the vulnerabilities that led to it is going to be an essential step of getting back up on your feet. However, it’s not enough to cover the vulnerability you now know about. A thorough risk assessment of the whole IT scope and your existing cybersecurity is essential. You need to probe for vulnerabilities with the help of your IT team, recognize the greatest risks and do what you can to mitigate them.

Have a communication strategy

If and when a data breach does happen, you must have the means to get in touch with those who might be affected by the breach. This might mean getting in touch directly via phone or email, as well as a predetermined strategy for how to communicate with the press. Often times, trying to cover up a breach can be even more costly than the breach itself. If it’s discovered that you didn’t notify those affected, it could be very expensive indeed.

You can’t prepare for every eventuality. However, you can make sure you’ve got the right team, technology, and processes in place to get through it as smoothly and as quickly as possible


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.


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