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A data breach can be a distressing experience for any company. As large retailers, including Home Depot, Staples and Kmart, as well as banks and health care organizations, have experienced in the last year, cyberattacks can occur at any time and come from any source.

Unfortunately, in the modern world, you can’t have it both ways. It is impossible to automate your data and remain competitive, yet disengage from connected technology. Data collection is simply a fact of life that we must all accept, yet at the same time, businesses must be held increasingly accountable for security and protecting individuals’ privacy.

Luckily, breaches can at times be avoided and at other times minimized. The following is a list of things that organizations can do to avoid data theft:

  • Limit data sharing with third parties
  • Encrypt online payment pages
  • Ignore suspicious or unknown emails
  • Restrict the number of pages with which you share your credit card information
  • Avoid oversharing on social media
  • Change PINs and passwords frequently
  • Freeze credit accounts you believe have been breached
  • Monitor accounts for dubious charges

Once you’ve adopted these simple guidelines, it is important to continue to be vigilant for data breaches, given that hackers will resort to all types of methods to infiltrate business databases. To cover your bases, take the following five steps if a data breach is suspected:

  1. Communication is key following a data breach. Alert your team that a breach has occurred and accept responsibility as a company. Also, be open and clear as to why the breach happened. Then, proceed to inform affected users how they should resolve the effects of an intrusion. Finally, have an honest discussion with your team about the source of the problem in an effort to avoid the same issue in the future.
  1. Get your IT engineers on the case. Forensics are vital in analyzing network traffic and determining why a breach occurred. So, proactively capture all traffic in and out of your organizations, including storing all data packets for future analysis. The archived traffic can then be examined by security professionals to detect anomalies and to establish when and where a breach came to pass.
  1. Adopt a proactive security system. Although firewalls can prevent certain types of external attacks, they cannot combat malware that has entered the company’s network. A multilayered approach, which includes hierarchical searches by dates, events, IP addresses and severity, is best when addressing security solutions.
  1. Review the data that may have been stolen to determine the extent of the damage. Change all passwords and call the credit bureaus to notify them you have been breached so they can put a fraud alert on your files. Immediately contact all financial institutions, such as banks and credit card companies, to prevent unauthorized transactions.
  1. Finally, most states have laws in place to deal with data breaches, such as notifying those individuals who may have been the victim of data theft. Ensure that your staff has signed confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements to avoid extensive liability in case an employee has been responsible for the intrusion. Also, enacting a privacy policy will be the first step to protecting data from further corruption.

As corporate data breaches increase in number and severity, access to the original malicious packet data is key to quickly understanding the source and depth of network security events. With its unique ability to store critical network traffic before, after, and around hundreds of alerts per day month after month, Savvius Vigil 2.0 is the only solution that enables network forensics in investigations of breaches that occurred far enough in the past that network traffic is no longer available with traditional solutions. Check out Savvius Vigil today or get in touch with one of our security experts for more information at (925) 937-3200.