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A Data Breach Response Plan for NJ Businesses

A cyberattack can be devastating to your business. More and more businesses and government organizations are attacked every single day. You can no longer assume that since you’re a small business, it won’t happen to you.

These costs of these breaches are becoming astronomical. About 60% of businesses don’t last six months after an attack.

The faster you’re able to respond to a data breach, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to recover from an attack.

Read on to learn about the steps you need to take in a data breach response plan.

Understanding the Types of Attacks

Your first step in responding to a data breach is understanding the types of cyberattacks. Each type of cyberattack will require a different response. These are some of the most common attacks that are plaguing businesses and government organizations.


Companies fall victim to phishing attacks every day.

A phishing attack is much more sophisticated than someone asking you to send money to a Nigerian prince.

These are emails that look like legitimate emails from companies and brands that you already know and trust. For example, they can send a mass email to your staff claiming to be from PayPal, asking them to reset their passwords.

What they don’t realize is that it took them to another page asking them to click or download something, which installs malware onto their computers.

The best way to respond to a phishing attack is to isolate the infected machine as soon as possible. That will prevent the malware from spreading through the network.

You then must perform antivirus scans to make sure that the malware is isolated and doesn’t take any sensitive data.


Ransomware is a malicious software that is used to break into your networks. The way a hacker can install the software is through a phishing attack or through a security vulnerability on a computer or server.

A ransomware attack is so severe, it can cause businesses to layoff employees. Local governments in Union County and in Dover have been under attack, too. These attacks cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Ransomware is when a hacker infiltrates your networks and holds your computer or your entire network hostage unless you pay them a ransom. The ransom is usually paid in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

The key to surviving this type of attack is to have a backup of your systems, preferably off-site. Too many organizations don’t have a backup or the hacker has the backup as well. That leaves people with no choice to pay the ransom.

Assessing the Damage

Once you contain the cyberattack, you need to take the next steps and figure out how bad the attack was.

You want to know how the attack started, whether it was human error or if there was a system vulnerability that was exploited.

You’ll want to assess the data that was breached and how sensitive the data is. You also need to determine if the lost data can be restored or if it’s lost.

Reporting the Cyberattack

If you suffered a data breach, you must report the attack as soon as possible. You should file a call the authorities and file a police report.

You’ll also have to notify your customers and vendors, especially if you suspect that their personal data was compromised. In this email, document what information was compromised, when, and what your customers and vendors can do to safeguard their information to prevent issues like ID theft.

What Insurance Will Cover (And What it Won’t)

You may assume that your business insurance will cover everything you need and you’re protected. That’s not always the case. General liability insurance typically covers property damage and bodily harm.

Cyber liability insurance is a separate policy that you should purchase to protect your business in the event of a data breach.

The amount of coverage that you have will depend on your policy. Some policies will cover credit monitoring for those affected by the breach, business interruption costs, and public relations costs to restore public trust.

Perform a Security Audit

Once the dust has settled, take the steps to ensure that such an attack doesn’t happen again.

A security audit needs to be done to determine the source of the attack, how systems were breached, and what will be done to prevent the next attack

In this step, you’ll want to check your email logs and all of your machines to make sure that they are up to date with the latest security software.

A security audit isn’t something that you only do once. You should do it regularly to ensure that you stay one step ahead of hackers.

Have a Formal Data Breach Response Plan

If you want to help your business survive a cyberattack, you must have a formal response plan. Most IT professionals suggest that your data breach response plan has a three-pronged approach.

The first part is focused on prevention. You’ll want to focus on updating software regularly, training employees, and performing regular security audits.

Detection needs to be another part of your cybersecurity strategy. Some data breaches can go undetected for months, and you want to have a plan in place to analyze your systems to detect any breaches.

The response is the final part of your plan. This outlines the specific steps that will be taken the moment a data breach is detected.

You Can’t Assume a Data Breach Won’t Happen to Your Business

A data breach is no longer a question of if. It’s a matter of when it happens. You need to take the steps to protect your business in the event of an attack.

That starts by having a data breach response plan that focuses on prevention, detection, and having a response plan in place. You can further protect your business by having cyber liability insurance.

Contact us today to find out how we can help protect your business.