Mike McLean April 17, 2023 9 min read

Cybercrime Aftermath: How to Recover From a Cyber Attack

Man sleeping at computer displaying graphs being exploited by cyber extortion, man will have to make a plan how to recover from a cyber attack

How likely is your business to experience a cyber attack? Chances are, much more likely than you think. Did you know that there has been a 600% uptick in cybercrimes since the COVID-19 pandemic began and many businesses were forced to switch to a work-from-home regime?

It takes just one, tiny gap in your cybersecurity system or a single click on a wrong link to grant cybercriminals access to your business’s computer systems and potentially sensitive digital data.

Some cyber attacks can immediately cripple your networks, whereas others take weeks, even months, to discover. But one thing that all cyber attacks have in common is that they can all potentially cause damage to your business from which you may not be able to recover financially and reputationally.

There are no guarantees or fool-proof plans for protecting your business from the many types of cybercrime that exist. The best you can do is establish robust security protocols and educate your employees in order to minimize your risks.

Planning for a cybersecurity incident and designing and revising both incident response and recovery scenarios for different types of attacks can actually be a lifesaver for your company.

Time is of the essence when recovering from a cyber attack and an organized and carefully planned reaction is the best recipe for success. However, a recent study indicates that only 54% of 500+ employee organizations have a company-wide recovery plan. Another concerning trend was shown in Cybnet‘s findings, which say that 77% of organizations do not have a cyber security incident response plan.

If you haven’t considered the importance of a recovery plan for your business yet, now may be the right time to change that. Whether you’re putting together a team of cyber experts in-house or outsourcing help, don’t underestimate the importance of having someone within your organization that will be able to help you identify your biggest risks and teach your business how to recover from a cyber attack properly when one occurs.

What Is the Difference Between Cyber Recovery and Disaster Recovery?

Both cyber and disaster recovery systems are designed to help your company recover from the consequences of a cyber attack or a data breach. Even though they overlap to a certain extent, they have different purposes and designs. A disaster recovery plan aims to ensure business continuity following a cyber attack. On the other hand, cyber recovery provides data asset protection and prevents potential data loss in the future.

Planning for disaster recovery means that you will be better prepared to act if you discover a breach in your cybersecurity network. Since this plan focuses on business continuity, it should help you repair your system and resume operations as soon as possible.

However, if a ransomware attack were to occur and you haven’t prepared for the consequences properly, there is a very good chance that the compromised data would be synced with your backup servers if your cyber recovery protocols are not up to par, meaning that your most recent data backup would also be damaged by malware.

A cyber recovery system requires a cyber vault that is both physically and virtually isolated and functions as a data center. It is automated to control the gap between a disaster recovery system and a cyber recovery system by leaving the link open or closing it when necessary. The vault storage backup system is immutable, meaning that the data cannot be modified or compromised by crypto-locking, leaving it safe for you to restore once your network is clean.

Given that recent trends show a surge in the number of ransomware attacks on businesses, it is better to have both disaster and cyber recovery protocols in place to ensure that you can protect your data and restore it without paying the ransom. It would also allow you to resume your business processes faster and reinforce your networks to help avoid similar attacks from compromising your networks in the future.

Recovering From a Cyber Attack

recovering from a cyber attack illustration

Cyber attacks can be devastating for a business big and small. The latest data breach report by IBM indicates that the average cost of a data breach in 2021 rose to the incredible figure of $4.24 million per incident, the highest average cost in the history of this report.

This number is frightening, and when coupled with the fact that, according to Net Set Security research, malware attacks increased by almost 400% in 2020, it is clear that companies need to take these risks very seriously.

Here are some steps your business can take to recover from a cyber attack:

Follow your cyber incident response plan: Have a detailed cyber incident response plan you can follow to make your recovery process less tedious. The incident response plan should clearly assign responsibilities to teams and individuals and contain all the necessary steps your organization should take to recover as painlessly as possible.

Create a business continuity plan: If you absolutely need to resume operations while your system is still compromised, you should devise an action plan based on the situation. Find alternatives for the critical processes that were interrupted by the incident and instruct your employees on how to adjust to the new working conditions. For example, you might have to instruct your customer service department to call customers instead of emailing them or your employees could use personal computers that your cybersecurity department has approved while work computers are being restored to working order.

Use safe backups to resume operations: Finding a secure backup will be much easier if you have a cyber recovery system in place. However, you will need to wait until your network is clean and completely restored before you can restore your data.

Recover or rebuild the lost data: If you haven’t installed a cyber recovery system, but you do keep backups as a part of your disaster recovery system, you will only need to rebuild the data that you stored after the most recent clean backup. If that data was irreparably damaged, you would need to enlist expert help to rebuild it.

Analyze and improve your cybersecurity procedures: One of the most important steps you should take after a cyber incident is to analyze your security gaps and learn what you can improve. Strengthen your security protocols, change all the passwords, and instruct your employees to do the same. Educating your staff is the best method for preventing future attacks from infiltrating your systems.

The Risks of Not Having a Disaster Recovery Plan

Imagine a situation where you have just discovered that your business was hacked. You have no idea about the source of the attack, the extent of damage, or how much it’s going to cost to recover from it. On top of that, you don’t have a cyber incident response plan or disaster recovery plan for your company in place either.

A disaster recovery plan is so crucial to have because it enables you and your team to carry out a swift and organized plan for solving the crisis. Any kind of successful cyber attack can cause chaos in your network and among your staff, and that can lead to a slower response time.

To understand why having a disaster recovery plan is so important, let’s take a look at some of the possible consequences of not having one.

Data Loss

When a company suffers a cyber attack, a business’s sensitive data can be compromised. In such a situation, it is crucial to act quickly and isolate the source of the attack and all affected systems.

Companies that don’t have a recovery plan will take more time to react to a data breach than ones that do. The longer it takes to identify and isolate an attack, the harder it will be to protect your data, meaning that sensitive customer and partner information may have already fallen into the wrong hands. And if you aren’t even backing up your data securely both off and online, the damage of a data breach can be irreparable.

Business Interruption

A serious cyber incident would inevitably bring a stop to your operations if your business doesn’t have a plan for dealing with it. Having a recovery plan in place helps you resume operations much faster. A disorganized and chaotic reaction to the incident could make the situation even worse and significantly increase the amount of time and effort needed for recovery.

Any downtime would result in your company losing money both in terms of revenue and employee productivity. Smaller companies especially cannot afford to be non-operational for an extended period of time.

Expensive Recovery

The more time it takes to recover from a cyber attack, the more money a company loses. Business owners sometimes don’t realize how much it costs to recover or recreate the lost data in a data breach.

That doesn’t even include the costs associated with loss of profit, potential losses stemming from expensive lawsuits, and the cost of potential system overhauls that require all new hardware and infrastructure to be purchased and installed. The fact that many businesses, regardless of size, might never be able to financially recover from a cyber attack if are caught completely unprepared can’t be stressed enough.

Losing Clients, Vendors, and Partners

Having a disaster recovery plan is a responsible business move that your partners, vendors, and clients will appreciate. It might not be the first thing they ask you when signing a contract with your company, but it’s definitely one of the top priorities businesses today have when they are determining which businesses to cooperate with, simply because of the fact that there are no parties that can be completely unaffected in such a scenario when they are part of a partnership.

Just like businesses will always ask for proof of insurance before agreeing on a partnership of any kind, they will almost certainly want to know about your cybersecurity preparedness.

How to Recover From a Cyber Attack Without a Disaster Recovery Plan

recovering without a disaster recovery plan illustration

If you don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place, it’s bad, but it might not be the end of the world. Assuming that you act quickly and are prepared to make the necessary financial and operational sacrifices, here are some steps you can take to recover even when you’ve been caught unprepared for a cyber attack:

Allocate more resources to the recovery process: React swiftly to allocate all available human and financial resources to resolve the crisis. Some of your other business processes might suffer, but recovery must be your number one priority.

Hire experts to help you: Ask people from your business network to recommend cybersecurity and crisis management experts that can assist you with managing your response to the incident. Ensure that you get all the help you need to act promptly.

Contact your insurer for assistance: Hopefully, you have business insurance. Your insurer is one of your best allies in a crisis like this because they most likely have other clients who have gone through the same type of scenario. Report your cyber attack to your insurer right away so that your policy (which you’ve hopefully purchased to protect you in such situations) can kick in right away and prevent you from having to pay the myriad costs associated with a cyber attack on your own.

Design an ad-hoc recovery plan and implement it: When you gather all the help you can get, it’s time to create your emergency recovery plan and start implementing it as soon as possible. An ad-hoc plan is still better than not having one at all. You can then use the ad-hoc plan as a starting point for designing your official and much-needed risk management, cyber incident response, and disaster recovery plans.

How Insurance Can Help You Recover

how insurance can help you recover from a cyber attack illustration

Transferring a significant part of the financial burden of a cyber attack to your insurer could be the difference between staying in business and bankruptcy. Cyber liability insurance is dynamic coverage that can be crafted to fit the needs and specific exposures of any business. Here are just some of the costs that a comprehensive cyber liability insurance policy covers:

It can also cover third-party costs such as the costs of notifying affected customers and partners, credit monitoring, civil damages from resulting lawsuits, and even PR services required to mend reputational damage caused by the cyber attack.

If you want to learn more about cyber liability insurance you can start by chatting with one of our expert brokers. You can also sign up for the Embroker platform and get your cyber liability insurance quote in under 10 minutes.



Related Articles

Computer monitor displaying security protection shield next to bags of money and stacks of coins to represent cyber insurance cost
How Much Does Cyber Insurance Cost?

How Much Does Cyber Insurance Cost?

8 min read

What are the characteristics of your business that are considered the main drivers behind the cost of cyber liability insurance?

Read More
Man presenting risk management plan template
2024 Must-Know Cyber Attack Statistics and Trends

2024 Must-Know Cyber Attack Statistics and Trends

7 min read

Discover these eye-opening cyber attack and cybersecurity trends and statistics and learn what they could mean for your business.

Read More