Perspectives Newsletter

Fall 2013

Articles In This Issue

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6 Tips for a Holiday-Ready Breach Response Plan

It’s the time of year when everyone’s feeling festive. But will all of the holiday planning and absences create challenges for your organization’s breach preparedness this season? If some of your breach response team will be traveling or otherwise hard to reach this holiday season, the time to modify your plan of attack is now, not once a breach is identified.

Your breach response plan should already be up-to-date with:

Chain of command for communicating internally about the incident, initiating response efforts and making key decisions

  • Contact information, including after hours, for all breach response team members – one representative from each relevant area, such as IT and PR, of your business is a good rule of thumb
  • Who’s on point if a team member can’t be reached – each backup team member should be just as knowledgeable and prepared as the primary team member
  • Vendor contact information, including after hours, for all breach-support contracts, such as forensics, cyber insurance and data breach resolution

With today’s regulations and media scrutiny, there’s no time to waste in handling a breach. So be sure office closures and vacations won’t cause any hiccups if an incident occurs at your organization or one of your vendor’s offices in the coming weeks.

These six tips will help ensure your breach response plan runs smoothly even during the holidays:

1. Keep Track of Vacation and Holiday Schedules

Create and maintain a master list of vacation schedules for all response team members, including backups. Identify areas of concern to address, such as a primary member and his/her backup both being out at the same time. Be sure to determine which person will be on point during which days to address a breach.

2. Stay Organized With Current Contact Information
Ask all team members, including backups, to verify their after-hours contact information and provide one alternative contact method, such as a spouse’s or hotel’s phone number, strictly for emergency purposes. Then produce and distribute a holiday addendum to the contact list in your breach response plan. For backup members stepping into lead roles, note which days.

3. Communicate With Vendors

Check in with vendors to determine if alternate contacts are needed and available during the holidays. If so, be sure the information is available to the entire breach response team.

4. Update Out of Office Messaging

Be sure key response team members’ schedules and alternate contact information are reflected in out-of-office messages for both email and voicemail. Otherwise, an emergency message from a vendor, such as a cloud service provider that’s experienced data loss, could linger in the wrong mailbox for days.

5. Practice Your Response Plan with Primary and Backup Participants

Run through your response plan with the people who will be on point during the holidays to ensure everyone is familiar with exactly what they will need to do. Be sure to include any alternate backups who aren’t typically a part of the breach response team but may need to fill in for a vacationing colleague.

6. Identify Potential Communication Gaps

Make it clear which vacationing team members should be kept in the loop on all actions even if they are away and can’t actively participate in response efforts. Identify how often they will be updated.

Keeping your response plan current and staying organized with vacation schedules can help your response team celebrate the holidays safely and securely. Plus thinking ahead means your breach response plan can still go off without a hitch despite office closures and vacations.

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