Data Breach Investigations: Time-consuming stages and Ways to Improve


According to the 2019 Verizon DBIR report, over 55% of data breaches take months or longer to detect. In reality, when they are actually exposed, the damage has already been done. Such occurrences that take place from the inside usually go unnoticed for long periods. This means that criminal investigations may not get initiated when they should. And even if an examination has begun, it could take a considerable amount of time to get completed because of the challenge of detecting and correlating exact data and communicating the results to stakeholders.

Here is how companies can speed up their data security criminal investigations.

When a data leak occurs or any kind of cyber attack involving company data, organizations must have the resources and properties of moving quickly without wasting crucial time. They need to find out what took place, when, how and why. This can help avoid significant financial and reputational outcomes.

Recognizing the danger

The difficulty: The initial step in any data security criminal investigation is to know and understand what took place. However, several inquiries usually get slowed down due to the time taken to discover the incident. This is mainly seen of data breaches due to insiders, as they often do not set off typical alerting systems such as legacy DLP tools or outdated security solutions. In the absence of a robust data or document security solution such as digital rights management, a data leak can take place as prevalent DLP tools may not necessarily be a proactive method of preventing data leaks. For example, an authorized user may print a document and then take that outside the company. Document DRM can be used to disable document printing, thus preventing this situation from occurring.

Speeding up the process: To correct the situation, a comprehensive active policy response by internal staff and third-party vendors must activate a warning. When the signal is set off, investigators must be armed with the necessary tools they need to gather context. In an ideal situation, you need an integrated and programmed process such as digital rights management to control document use rather than a system that just informs on suspicious user or information activity.

Bottom line: A data or document security solution must be proactive to prevent data leakage. Some organizations have rudimentary DLP alerts or referrals that do not have enough teeth. Also, in the case of an incident, investigative strategies must be proactive too. A robust toolset can speed up time to detect through its dynamic approach.

Gathering the right team

The difficulty: Most companies are not aware of the right person to wear the cloak of data security investigations when needed – i.e. who should be the data controller. In some other cases, this role is tasked upon the chief security officer or chief information officer who could be called to preside over a disparate team. Due to a lack of feedback circuits and cooperation between analysts and investigators, an investigation could slow down.

Speeding up the process: It can help to construct a cross-disciplinary data-security threat management team, instead of being dependent on a separate functional setup. An efficient team must display cross-functional capacities, in addition to the ability to obtain the requisite data, investigating it across specialities and departments, and leveraging any resources required to boost the investigation.

Bottom line: To enhance data security investigations, it is crucial to put a robust plan in place of who will be responsible and accountable and for what. It can help to decide which team will communicate before an actual data breach takes place.

Assembling context

The difficulty: To begin with, investigators are aware that something unfortunate took place, but they do not have much information to support it. In many cases, it is seen that such investigators are slowed down due to the struggle of finding and comparing exact user and information activity with specific log-based tools. Simply put, it can be challenging to gather context.

Speeding up the process: To support forensic investigations, video recordings and permanent logs must be kept. A data breach investigation can go as planned and quickly when investigators are able to connect data points easily and realize who was responsible for what, where, how, where and why. In this regard, video logs can be particularly vital as they can help security and IT teams to collaborate on what transpired.

Bottom line: Invest in a holistic data or document security program such as digital rights management that can help prevent such incidents from taking place. It can help in ensuring that data leaks are less likely by tightly controlling document access and how it can be used by authorized individuals.

The areas mentioned above, where investigations are typically slowed down, are scenarios where team members can look for continual improvement. If your organization is in danger of a data breach or simply to prevent any such data leaks from ever occurring, it can help to institute a reliable document security management system, such as digital rights management that is proactive in nature.

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