Almost every organization is experiencing rapid growth in identities they have to manage, including cloud identities, third-party partners, and machine identities. This proliferation of identities, many of which are privileged, is expanding the attack surface.
A data breach response guide that provides a panoramic view of identities, risks, and controls to safeguard modern work and reduce the risk of breaches is important for enterprises.
Preventing a Data Breach
With technological advances, hackers can crack a four-letter, two-digit password in less than a second. Securing your employees, customers, and business partners requires more than strong password policies. It requires identity and access management (IAM), which helps you assign one digital identity to each individual, authenticate all long-ins, and authorize access to specific resources.
IAM also makes it easy for IT administrators to manage privileges so that only authorized users can access the sensitive information your company holds. This reduces the risk of data breaches and other security risks, such as malware and ransomware attacks.
A data breach can still happen even if your organization has an incident response plan and formal teams. Attackers can steal an employee’s device to access their work files, break into a company office to grab physical documents and hard drives or place skimming devices on physical credit card readers to get individuals’ payment information.
To avoid such an attack, your company must implement a Zero Trust security framework that prioritizes identity and incorporates IAM technologies and practices.
Notifying the Right People
Most businesses understand that a breach should be reported to authorities immediately. However, they may need to determine how long the impact can last or the number of people affected. In order to protect individuals and prevent phishing scams, companies need to notify them as quickly as possible.
The first step is to determine whether or not the information is sensitive or required by law to be protected. This is essential because it will influence your steps to protect the data. It will also help you decide what individuals must be informed about the breach.
You should also consider the type of information involved in the breach and the likelihood that it could be used for malicious purposes, such as identity theft or fraud. For example, stolen names and Social Security numbers are often used to sign up for credit cards and commit tax identity theft.
To avoid a potential breach in the future, you should ensure that employees are aware of best practice security measures and regularly receive training. This can reduce the risk of identity-related breaches by ensuring that only the necessary information is collected and stored. You should also implement granular access authorization and monitor privileged sessions to prevent security risks from occurring. You should also remove orphaned accounts that were last accessed a while ago, as these can serve as entry points for cybercriminals.
Data integrity and availability are critical to every organization’s operation. Organizations must restore this information quickly after a breach to keep up with their business processes. This includes restoring data from backups to ensure the continued availability of the information. Remembering the importance of restoring confidentiality is also important, which means ensuring unauthorized individuals cannot access sensitive information.
This year, the number of identity-related breaches has skyrocketed to record levels, reflecting that advanced cybercriminals have found exploitable holes in legacy security systems designed for management, not protection. These weaknesses are compounded by the normalization of work-from-anywhere environments and the resulting proliferation of identities. Unmanaged privileged accounts and credentials, whether IT admin, remote worker or third-party resource, open doors to critical network assets. Often, these accounts have elevated privileges, allowing fast-tracked access to sensitive data and exploitation of other accounts.
Protecting the Company’s Reputation
A data breach can affect a company’s reputation in more ways than just financial loss. A hacker’s ability to use a stolen set of credentials (usernames, passwords, and other information) to gain access to multiple systems can damage a company’s brand and potentially lead to lawsuits or regulatory fines.
When a security incident occurs, addressing the issues publicly can help protect the company’s reputation. Organizations can also limit damage to their reputation by ensuring that employees are aware of what type of risk or issue they should report and the process for doing so. This requires training and communication programs to ensure that all employees understand the risks associated with a data breach, how they can damage the company’s reputation, and what type of “warning signs” they should look out for.
Identity protection, which authenticates all identities across the enterprise (human or machine, on-prem or in the cloud), can prevent cyberattacks and minimize business impact. The top preventative strategies identified in the study included MFA, timely reviews of privileged access (40%), continuous discovery of all users and privileges (34%), and revoked access upon detection of high-risk events (28%). These can all be implemented through privilege management that adheres to the Principle of Least Privilege. To ensure the strongest defenses, a unified identity security platform is required to enable identity and privileged access management and integrated with a Zero Trust security framework.