May is Scam Awareness Month and we have been doing our best to promote best practice when operating online. Last week, our blog looked at what individuals can do to protect themselves online and the common scam methods hackers use.

Understanding the attack methods and technologies used by hackers is crucial for organisations and individuals to raise awareness and to prevent unauthorised access to networks. However, there is little focus from organisations on how the business copes following a successful breach.

It is common for organisations to have Business Continuity Plans in place for environmental threats such as flooding but many forget to plan for a Cyber Security incident. Cyber Security incidents can have business continuity implications and impacts that extend far beyond IT, such as the loss of critical information and intellectual property.

The importance of Business Continuity Planning when it comes to information is something that almost every organisation has to deal with now that many businesses operate online and many are now storing most of their data online.

Organisations need to ensure that they integrate their IT response to illicit activity with the business aspects of the organisation’s Business Continuity Programme and structure, so that if an event does occur, the organisation ensures a timely and coordinated response.

Adopting an Information Security standard framework within your organisation such as ISO27001 or a methodology such as IAMM can help your business plan and develop a response strategy. These standards include guidance for how IT should respond to assess the breadth and severity of information accessed, control the situation, and communicate the impact of Cyber incidents to the leadership.

Below are three steps organisations need to take into account:

Put in place leadership teams and align response strategies IN ADVANCE. In the case of a breach, the appropriate organisational leadership team needs to be assembled to enable effective response and decision making.

Plan the response procedure and align it to current Business Continuity Plans. This ensures the leadership receives timely information, gives insight and ownership of impact assessment, permits clear communication with stakeholders and designates effort expenditure to seniors already responsible for some activities in this regard. Planning the response procedure also ensures adequate executive leadership and participation.

Crisis communications. External inquiries could inundate customer-facing groups with questions on the situation, impact, and the business’s response. It is important that appropriate leadership be prepared to respond effectively. A security incident could be externally visible; leadership may need immediately to control social media and other online outlets as appropriate.

Having a solid Business Continuity Plan is crucial but won’t be effective if it isn’t exercised and tested regularly.

For more information on how we can help you design your Business Continuity Plan and exercise Crisis Management around information incidents, please contact