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A Data Breach happens when confidential, private or protected information is accessed by someone who is not authorized to do so. This could be the result of hacking that exposes sensitive company data, or a malicious insider that accesses and shares information to damage the company or individuals.

Whether it’s hackers stealing information or personal data being exposed due to an error, a Data Breach can cause serious financial, legal and reputational damage to companies. Consumers are increasingly aware of the value of their information and if they can’t trust that an organisation takes data protection seriously, they will go to competitors that do.

The first thing you need to do when a breach occurs is make sure that all impacted consumers are informed in a timely manner. This involves a comprehensive communications plan that includes contact details, disclosure strategies and actual mitigation steps.

Once the initial response is completed, it’s important to understand what went wrong in the first place. This involves a forensics team who capture forensic images of the affected systems and investigate what happened. This also includes the identification of secondary risks for users and systems.

Depending on the situation, it may be necessary to identify all of the compromised information and how it was used. This can help prevent further attacks and limit the damage done. For example, if a large amount of personal information was published on your website in error, it is worth checking to see if the data has been archived by internet search engines. If this is the case, you’ll need to contact those sites and request that they remove the information.