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A Simple Guide for CEOs: How to Handle Cyber Incidents

In the age of technology, cyber incidents are a common threat to all businesses.

Here’s a simplified guide for CEOs on managing a cyber crisis:

  1. Set Up a Response Team: It’s not just an IT issue; it involves your entire business. Have a dedicated team or person (Senior Responsible Officer) ready to manage the situation from all angles.
  2. Get External Help: Bring in cybersecurity experts from outside your company. They can give unbiased advice and help manage the incident more effectively. If you have cyber insurance, contact your provider immediately.
  3. Handle Data Breaches Carefully: If customer or employee data is compromised, act quickly. Inform the affected individuals and report to relevant authorities (like the ICO) within 72 hours.
  4. Communicate Wisely: Be clear and honest in your communications. Make sure different messages are sent to different groups depending on their involvement and need for information.
  5. Think Twice Before Paying Ransoms: If hit by ransomware, be aware that paying the ransom does not guarantee your data back and could lead to more attacks.
  6. Look After Your Team: Remember, your staff will be under stress. Ensure they are supported throughout the incident to maintain morale and productivity.
  7. Learn from the Experience: After the incident, review what happened and why. Use these lessons to improve your future cybersecurity measures.
  8. Review Your Cybersecurity: Post-incident, assess your cybersecurity practices to prevent future incidents.
  9. Report the Incident: Inform authorities like the NCSC and law enforcement to help improve overall cyber security.

Following these steps can help manage a cyber incident effectively, minimizing damage to your company and maintaining trust with your customers and employees.

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