4 Critical Steps for Responding to a Cyber Attack

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4 Critical Steps for Responding to a Cyber Attack

Companies around the world are relying on cloud-based services, remote Internet access, e-mail and a great deal of other Internet applications, in order to make their business run smoothly. The growing use of those services increases the possibility of a cyber-attack and that threat is becoming greater every day.

Every company must understand the volume of damage those attacks can cause, and they must do everything in their power to try and prevent them from ever occurring. There are a number of steps they can take to achieve that, such as backing up their data on a regular basis, patching their software, using the SSL certificate, having a strong password policy and, of course, having a good web hosting provider.

However, even the most secure websites sometimes fall prey to hackers who manage to bypass their security and find their way in. The best weapon that companies must have in such cases is a prompt response. Acting swiftly with a focused response is of the utmost importance when it comes to protection. Every business owner must understand the risks of a cyber-attack and the consequences it can have on both their business and their customers.

So, what to do when the worst happens? Let’s take a look at some of the critical steps that must be taken in order to respond to a cyber-attack in the best possible way.

Get Your Incidents Response Team Ready to Act


Your incidents response team should effectively assess the situation when a cyber-attack occurs. This team should consist of data protection experts, a tech team that will identify the breach, intellectual property experts who will help minimize the damage and recover every piece of stolen information, employee representatives who will deal with incidents that affect employees, as well as legal representatives who will provide advice on all the legal implications of a cyber-attack.

Your incidents response team must always be on standby, ready to quickly and effectively deal with any kind of situation regarding data breach.

Secure Your IT Systems

Securing your systems is crucial for the protection of your data and minimizing the damage done. This is where many businesses make a mistake of taking the whole system offline or just removing the malware. Malware is only a symptom of an attack, and you should isolate only the compromised segment of your network and then work on identifying the source of the breach.

Since hackers often use admin passwords, you need to change them the second you detect the breach. You should change your access control list, which is usually an automated process, since that is the quickest way of effectively doing so.

If you immediately go offline, hackers will know that they have been spotted and they will go silent, preventing you from identifying them. Not to mention that you will lose a considerable amount of data. Therefore, the best thing to do is to leave the compromised machine online, but block it from Internet access. Place an isolated VLAN or implement a firewall to prevent the compromised machine from communicating outside your company. That way, you will keep it from doing damage to your network and you will ensure your business keeps going forward.

Set Your Backups in Motion


You must have a good crash plan for your website. You need to have your backups ready to go in case your systems become too compromised. You certainly have a lot of sensitive data, especially when it comes to your customers’ personal information, which you cannot allow to get stolen. Therefore, it is extremely important to backup your data on a regular basis, to ensure you don’t lose anything. That way, you can restore it easily in case a breach happens. Make sure you have a good web hosting provider that has reliable servers and offers you great backup options.

Notify the Authorities


Notifying the authorities about the cyber-attack on your organization is essential, since that will not only help your reputation, but also your customers. Your customers need to be aware of the possibility that their personal information has been accessed by hackers and you need to let them know that you have done everything in your power to protect that information.

When bringing the attack to the attention of the proper authorities, make sure that you provide them with all the evidence related to the attack, so that they can easily assess the situation and help you prevent any unwanted legal action. It’s also important to share the information about the attack with other organizations, as they may have been victims to similar attacks as well.

These people can offer you advice on dealing with data security breaches. This intelligence-sharing works both ways and communication with other companies is always good for business.

Due to the ever-increasing cyber security threats, it is paramount that you and your team stay alert if the worst case scenario happens. You may have the best website security, but that doesn’t stop hackers from finding their way into your systems and causing a lot of damage.

So, make sure you have a plan prepared to deal with a potential cyber-attack and protect both your business and your customers. Remember that a quick response is the best response, but being smart about it is key. Responding to a cyber-attack must be strategically planned in advance, so make sure you have the best teams at your disposal, to achieve that goal with ultimate success.

Do You Have a Crash Plan for Your Website?

If you use your website primarily for lead generation, it won’t hurt you too much if it goes down for a couple of hours or for a whole day. However, if your business transactions deeply rely on your website, even a couple of hours of downtime could cause severe damages to your business in terms of money, time, number of customers and not to mention the resources needed to get the site back up and running.

Having a crash plan for your site is very important if you plan on running a successful business, and this is why we are addressing this matter today.

Consider these strategies in order to prevent disastrous crashes that could severely damage your business.



One of the essential steps towards ensuring your e-commerce’s safety is performing daily backups of all the systems included in your site. However, part of your data will always be located on the external servers of your hosting provider.

All web hosting providers say that they backup your site, but you have to test them.

How do you do this? Simply upload a certain file to your website and delete it a couple of minutes after. After you have done this, ask your host to go and retrieve that file.

If your provider doesn’t get the file back in less than thirty minutes, then that service is not any good.

Nevertheless, even if your host is on time, you should backup your entire site by yourself. Consider using some free software such as FileZilla in order to copy all the relevant files and data to your internal systems via the control panel of your site.

Monitoring and Logging


I can’t stress this enough – you simply can’t leave everything to the web hosting provider if your website is used for generating revenue. As I’ve said before, it is important to keep a certain level of backup control on your own.

Another way you can achieve this is to make and run a manual log in which you will write what changes have been made to your site, when they were made and who made them.

All of these things will greatly increase the restoration speed of your website in case of a catastrophe. One other thing that you should put into work is a website monitoring service. This service will send an email to notify you if your website is currently down. The email is sent to the location you previously designated. There is a huge variety of website monitoring services, so learn more about them in order to choose the one that suits you the most.



Many hosting services claim they have 100 % uptime, but, in reality, there is no such thing, and many hosts like to sugar coat their service.

This is why it is important to choose a reliable and trustworthy service. If your current service is complicated for cooperation, get rid of that firm. It’s much better to have a hosting company that listens and is responsive, rather than one that is cheap but has a low quality service.

The next thing to consider is the level of service your business really needs. If you choose shared hosting, your site will be located on a computer with many other sites.

Although this option is cheap, you can’t really use it for customer or order data, as security is very low. For this type of website, you will need to get VPS (virtual private server) hosting. This is a dedicated server that is private and it is secured on a physical server via visualization technology. The most advanced hosting method is a dedicated physical server, which can handle high end sites that have huge daily traffic. Before choosing any of these, you should do even more research about the different types of hosting out there.

One last thing before we wrap up – if your website is subject to an outage, stay calm. The first thing you should do is call your hosting provider and see what’s happening. As soon as you are able, inform your customers about the problem you are experiencing and let them know when things will get back to normal. It is very important to communicate with your clients in order to reduce the damage.

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