The Importance of Data Governance & Quick, Reliable, Cybersecurity Data Remediation

Jeffrey Wolff, Director of Corporate Solutions at IPRO
Jeffrey Wolff, Director of Corporate Solutions at <a href='https://topworkplaces.com/company/ipro-tech/' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' style='color:blue !important'>IPRO</a>

Jeffrey Wolff, Director of Corporate Solutions at IPRO

For many companies, the question isn’t if their data will be breached from a cybersecurity attack – it’s when. Some large companies are fending off cybersecurity attacks on a weekly if not daily basis.

In light of that, erecting barriers to attacks, while essential, is just part of what companies should be doing to prepare.

Companies should also regularly assess their stored data to know what’s in it and be better prepared to act if a breach occurs – especially as it relates to Protected Health Information (PHI), Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Intellectual Property (IP).

Once a cyberattack occurs, the public expects an organization to act quickly. Companies must rapidly figure out what was in the data that was taken and take action to mitigate the exposure of damaging data.

Often, companies don’t immediately know they were breached. In 2022, it took an average of 277 days—about 9 months—to identify and contain a breach, according to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report for 2022. Shortening the time it takes to identify and contain a data breach to 200 days or less can save money and build trust with customers.

On July 11, 2022, Lubbock Heart & Surgical Hospital was a victim of a cybersecurity attack and was able to terminate unauthorized access by July 12. However, it took the hospital until Sept. 9 to identify and assess the data taken and announce the breach publicly. The hospital issued a statement saying it would mail notification letters to patients “whose information may have been involved in a data security incident that disrupted the operations of some of its IT systems.”

How fast can your company figure out what data and information was breached if you experience a cyberattack? The answer to that question often depends on how well prepared your company was before the breach and actions you take afterwards.

So, what are some best practices that companies should follow before and after a breach?

Establish clear, company wide data management policies

How long does your company keep key records, customer information and contracts? A surprising number of companies do not have established, companywide policies on data management – and even fewer consistently execute those policies across the organization.

The minimization of Redundant, Obsolete and Trivial (ROT) data makes it easier for organizations to protect the useful data they have, while also reducing the risk for not only experiencing a data breach but also reducing the time it takes to identify one.

If your company has less data stored, there will be less for thieves to take. Companies should adopt data policies at the highest level and put processes in place to regularly dispose of old, outdated data – especially when it contains information that is potentially damaging for your customers or clients.

Good data management policies also reduce the amount of time it takes a company to respond to a breach.

Ensure your company meets data regulation requirements in the countries and regions where you operate

In Europe, companies no longer have a choice – they must adopt and follow data minimization best practices because of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

GDPR is the toughest privacy and security law in the world. Under article 17 of GDPR, “The data subject shall have the right to obtain from the controller the erasure of personal data concerning him or her without undue delay and the controller shall have the obligation to erase personal data without undue delay.”

So, data minimization for data involving individuals is not just a best practice – it’s required in the European Union for records containing personal data, but it’s a good practice in other countries, too.

Be prepared for data and document remediation

Companies should establish a relationship with a partner or vendor that can provide the company with the ability to analyze, remediate and monitor the data that was breached. You need legal technology that can immediately assess whether data was taken across all content sources, including email and their attachments, file storage locations, communication tools such as Microsoft Teams or Slack, text messages and more. Companies also need tools that can restore, delete and move data that was breached

What is cybersecurity remediation?

Remediation in cybersecurity refers to addressing a breach and limiting the amount of damage that breach can potentially cause to your business.

Cybersecurity remediation is a structured approach that your organization should create and use to intercept IT security threats before they do harm, as well as to resolve any issues that may have already occurred.

With the strong remediation practices in place, your cybersecurity team will be equipped to eliminate suspicious activities and malicious attacks in the form of malware, ransomware, phishing and other threats.

Many remediation processes fail to successfully verify if the threat is entirely eliminated. If you want to contain and end the problem for good, your remediation processes must involve the detection of the cause.

That is why the remediation processes your security team employs must involve gathering accurate and ample information concerning the incident. It may feel unnecessary and expensive to implement these processes and secure these tools, but it’s imperative and will save time and customer trust in the long run.

Investing now saves money – and possibly your brand’s reputation

By investing now and being prepared, your company can potentially save millions of dollars down the road if you’re in a good position to respond to a data breach. Both your executives and your IT team will sleep better at night knowing you’re prepared. You don’t want to be the company that has to explain to customers why it’s taking your company so long to let them know if their data has been exposed.