5 Ways to Prepare for a Cyber Attack

It is no longer a question of if your organization will be hacked but a question of when. 

Security teams must be prepared to deal with breaches and cybersecurity attacks, or they will be ineffective. 

While threat prevention solutions are more critical than ever, they are also not enough. Organizations need to develop a successful defense-in-depth cybersecurity strategy that includes multiple layers of defense and an effective response strategy to ensure cyber-resilience.   

Organizations and security teams are increasingly considering how to prepare for a cybersecurity incident. In this blog, we explore the five most important things you need to do at your organization when the worst happens. Employing these steps can do as much or more to limit the impacts of a security incident as the preventative security tools you may have in place.  That is why it’s essential to have a cyber-response plan. Join us as we navigate these essential steps, shedding light on how organizations can transform their approach from reactive to proactive, ensuring survival and the ability to thrive in the face of cyber adversities. 


1. Understand Your Risk:

Understanding your organization’s specific risk profile is essential in preparing for a cybersecurity breach. This involves conducting thorough risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities within your IT infrastructure and business operations. By analyzing past incidents, current security trends, and forecasting potential future threats, you can gauge the likelihood and impact of different types of cyberattacks. 

This understanding allows you to tailor your cybersecurity strategies effectively, ensuring resources are allocated where they’re most needed. Like other types of business risk, organizations can’t wholly eliminate cyber risks. That means you need to understand which threats are potentially existential and which are necessary to accept for business continuity.   


2. Know Your Attack Surfaces:

Effective Cyber-resilience is informed by your risk profile. Understanding your attack surface is a critical aspect of technical risk awareness. 

An attack surface encompasses all the possible points where an unauthorized user can try to enter data or extract data from your environment. This includes technical aspects like unpatched software or exposed servers and human factors like employee susceptibility to phishing attacks. 

You should limit your attack surface as much as possible and ideally use a defense-in-depth architecture that will make it harder for threat actors to turn an initial breach into significant damage.   

Knowing where threats will come from and how they will move through your environment gives you a leg up on effectively responding to attacks.


3. Prepare a Response Team

Having a well-defined incident response plan is crucial. Knowing who will be responsible for what tasks will help you act fast and efficiently in the high-stress situation that a cyberattack can often be. 

This plan should outline specific procedures to follow during a breach, detailing roles, responsibilities, and internal communication protocols. The team, equipped with the necessary skills and authority, should be capable of quickly containing and mitigating damage.  

This preparation also involves regular training and simulation exercises to ensure the team can act efficiently under pressure. Keeping a specialized incident response firm on retainer for organizations without in-house capabilities can provide crucial expertise and resources during and after a breach. 


4. Have a Communication Strategy:

When a breach happens, you want to be able to focus on addressing and resolving the technical issues, to get normal business operations back as fast as possible.  However, you cannot overlook the reputational impact of cybersecurity incidents. The relationship with customers, partners and other key stakeholders is essential to maintain. 

Being the victim of a cyber breach is a great way to get propelled into news headlines nationwide. A comprehensive communication strategy is vital to be prepared for that while the remediation process is ongoing.   

The key is to be transparent, timely, and clear in your communications. Preparing templates and protocols in advance can help swiftly address stakeholder concerns, minimize misinformation, and maintain trust. Oversharing or under sharing details of the incident may have significant impacts, and fumbling the communications aspect of handling a security breach can have much more significant and long-lasting impacts than the immediate damages of a cyberattack. Effective communication during a crisis helps manage the situation and plays a crucial role in upholding the organization’s reputation. 


5. Meet Your Legal Obligations:

Cybersecurity breaches often carry legal implications, especially concerning data protection and privacy laws. Organizations must be aware of their legal obligations, which can vary depending on the industry and geographical location. 

This includes understanding the requirements for reporting breaches to authorities, notifying affected individuals, and compliance with regulations like HIPAA or the [SEC Disclosure rules]. Failure to meet these legal obligations can result in hefty fines and legal action. It also increases reputational damage the organizations may suffer because of an incident.  

Preparing for these legal aspects involves having a legal team or advisor well-versed in cybersecurity law and regulations. That guidance needs to be used to ensure complaint response and security measures and to inform the communication strategy the organization will employ.  

Having an organizational awareness of the legal implications of a security breach is essential to navigating such a challenge effectively. If you’re being hacked, it’s too late to properly address those concerns, which is why it’s a critical component of your incident response plan.  



Cyber-resilience is not just about having strong initial defenses but about being prepared to respond when things go wrong. A strategic blend of risk awareness, targeted defense measures, and proactive planning is essential to position your organization to withstand cyber threats and emerge more robust in their aftermath. 

At Atlantic Data Security (ADS), we understand the complexities and challenges of preparing for and responding to cybersecurity breaches. Our team of experts is equipped to help you assess your risk, understand your attack surfaces, and develop a robust incident response plan. We can assist in crafting an effective communication strategy and ensure you meet all your legal obligations. 

If you need guidance in fortifying your cyber-resilience or require assistance in the aftermath of a breach, don’t hesitate to contact us. Let ADS be your partner in navigating the cybersecurity landscape, ensuring that your organization is protected and prepared. Reach out to us today to secure your digital future. 


Talk to an Atlantic Data Security Advisor

Allow our experts to help you with your specific need.