Hackers are not always faceless strangers from the internet.
Recently a client came to us after they were targeted in a cybersecurity attack. Their data was breached – including sensitive government data they’d collected from their clients in the process of doing work with them. They assumed it was an external attack. And they were wrong.
Turns out a new employee had actually joined their organization with the intent of stealing data and holding it ransom. Scary thought. All of a sudden, screening new hires has even more pressure.
But really, whether the attack comes from within your organization or from unknown hackers, the result is the same. You’re left with huge questions:
- How can you minimize and/or contain the damage?
- How can you ensure your business survives a cyberattack?
- What can you do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
- How will your business survive if it does happen again?
When any organization falls victim to a cyberattack, specific steps must be taken to inform all affected parties and limit the potential damage. And while the hard costs of this can add up quickly, they are nothing compared to the cost to an organization’s reputation.
What are some of the hard costs associated with a cyberattack?
Downtime costs – How many people in your organization can’t work because of being locked out of your systems, how many sales can’t be completed, how much revenue are you losing because of the damage to your reputation?
Investigation costs – How much will it cost to hire professionals to investigate the attack (alongside the police in many cases), determine the extent of the attack, and what allowed it to happen?
Ransom costs – What if your data or your client’s data is being held ransom, how much will criminals be asking for? Where will that money come from?
PR costs – How will you handle reputation management, and how long will you need PR to help with that after the attack?
Legal costs – Your legal team will be key in helping make sure you are able to stay ahead of potential lawsuits or that you are prepared for any lawsuits that do arise.
So let’s go back to the questions and add some answers.
- How can you minimize and/or contain the damage? Get forensics help and police involved as soon as possible.
- How can you ensure your business survives? Get legal advice and PR advice as soon as possible.
- What can you do to make sure it doesn’t happen again? Work with your forensic specialists to identify weak areas and fortify them.
- How will your business survive if it does happen again? Get cyber risk insurance coverage in place to help you deal with the costs of a cyberattack.
Back to the story we started with. They were able to identify and arrest the individual. They worked with police and a specialized forensics team to improve their security – and their new employee program. And they’ve since put cyber risk insurance in place.
The sad part of this story is that they were offered cyber risk insurance coverage when it was time for their annual renewal…and they decided they couldn’t afford the premium.