Incident Response Plan for Data Breach

by | Jun 30, 2024

Incident Response Plan for Data Breach

Data breaches are becoming more common, with a cyber breach or ransomware attack happening every 11 seconds.

Every organization – large, medium, or small – is vulnerable. Aside from working with your IT department to ensure measures are in place to limit risk and protect data, you should be cyber ready with an incident response plan for a data breach. Our seasoned team of reputation managers at Solv Communications – Protect and Promote Your Brand will partner with you to build a tailored plan to steer you swiftly and safely through any crisis.

Our plans play a vital role in helping clients mitigate reputational risk, enhance trust, and respond during and after a cybersecurity incident.

While the scope of a communications plan will vary across organizations, there are some common elements to consider when crafting a cyber crisis communications plan.

Here are a few of them:


List potential cyber vulnerabilities – Each cyber breach or attack will present itself in various ways and affect your reputation differently. Assess all types of possible breaches and attacks and prioritize which ones present the most harm.


Build a Crisis Management Team or Crisis Communication Team. Assign each team member a role and responsibilities. Also, include their pertinent contact information in a database.


Create hold statements and messaging briefs.  Draft templates and have them pre-approved by leadership (i.e.: media statements, FAQ’s, internal briefing notes, etc.).


Outline your fan-out procedure for communications and decide in advance what platforms you’ll use to communicate with all your stakeholders (i.e.: email, verbal, dark site, etc.).


Here are some helpful steps your organisation will take in the event of a cyber security emergency.


9 Steps in Cyber Crisis Communication Planning

  1. Understand the scope of the crisis.
  2. Assemble the Crisis Communications Team.
  3. Assess the situation – gather all the facts.
  4. Craft key messaging for internal and external audiences.
  5. Communicate with your stakeholders proactively instead of reactively.
  6. Engage listening tools to monitor social media and traditional media.
  7. Document the entire crisis for leadership and legal counsel.
  8. Media train your spokesperson.
  9. Conduct a hot wash to understand what worked and what can be improved within the plan.


Download Our Incident Response Plan for Data Breach!

Unfortunately, most organizations aren’t prepared for a data breach. They don’t know where to go, who to call, or what to say. The list goes on. Solv Communications PDF is a great first step. It’s built on our decades of knowledge and lessons we’ve learned from helping our clients navigate dozens of security breaches.

Having successfully handled many cyber security incidents, we want to set you up for success as well. This incident response plan sheet will teach you the basics and help you prepare for the worst. And to ensure you’re not scrambling when a cyber-attack hits your organization. Here are just a few crucial lessons from our PDF:


Cyber Reputational Risk Analysis + Verify Legal/Regulatory Requirements


It’s crucial to understand the cyber threats that could hit your business. Start by listing potential vulnerabilities. Think of it like this: A ransomware attack could shut down your network, causing chaos, while a data leak might land you in hot water legally and tarnish your brand’s image. Prioritize these risks to focus on what could harm you the most.


There’s also a (very important) legal side to all this. In the aftermath of a data breach, you can’t just sweep things under the rug. Laws and regulations often require you to disclose the breach promptly. For instance, if you’re in Europe, the GDPR mandates that you inform affected individuals within 72 hours. Knowing these requirements ahead of time will help you act swiftly and maintain your credibility.


Plan for Each Scenario and Develop an Incident Response Plan


We all hope for the best, but being prepared for the worst is smart business sense. Gather your senior leaders and play out potential cyber-attack scenarios. What to do if a hacker hijacks your primary database? What’s the backup plan? How will you communicate with your customers? Who will you reach out to to assist you with securing your network? Identify any gaps and address them before you’re in the thick of a crisis.


Based on these scenarios, create a detailed incident response plan. Think of this plan as your trusty roadmap to steer you safely through a storm. It should cover every possible action for each scenario, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. This document shouldn’t gather dust either; keep it updated as new threats emerge. Whether it’s part of your broader crisis communication strategy or a standalone document, having this plan means you’re not scrambling when things go south.


Media Train Your Spokesperson and Team


Communication is key during a cyber breach. The right words at the right time can make a huge difference. Media training your spokesperson and team ensures they handle the pressure of a media interview with grace and confidence.

Our veteran team of former journalists and public relations specialists will train you and your leadership with mock interviews and crisis simulations. It’s like rehearsing for a play – the more you practice, the better you perform. Don’t forget to extend this training to your broader team. Everyone should know their role and how to interact with different audiences. Your IT team should be able to explain technical details in simple terms, while your customer service team must be ready to handle an influx of calls and emails.


Contact Solv


Knowing how your organization will react to a data breach is essential and will ensure you communicate swiftly and safely. Reach out to us to learn how you can be crisis resilient. We’ll help you build a solid crisis communication plan that’s tailored to your specific needs.

Nicole Harris

Nicole Harris is the Founder and CEO of Solv Communications, a leading Reputation Management and PR agency in the Prairies. As a former network television news anchor and reporter, Nicole has gained deep insight into the power of earning trust through strategic communication. Over her 15-year career in the media she has covered some of the most high- profile risk management stories including cyber breaches at Fortune 500 companies, product recalls, workplace violence and everything in between. Nicole and her team’s extensive industry knowledge and strategic guidance will help you focus on what is in your control to mitigate risk and minimize damage to your reputation. It’s all about prioritizing strategic planning to spot an issue, effectively manage it, and develop action plans to safely steer you through any situation before it damages your reputation. Nicole has developed and delivered bespoke reputation management, strategic, and media training for senior executives, board members, politicians, and celebrities.

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