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Cyberattacks are more prevalent than ever, and small businesses are hit the hardest. While cybersecurity advancements have been made to combat these attacks, hackers are constantly finding new ways to outsmart defense measures. Unfortunately, that means it’s not a matter of if but when a small business will face a cyberattack.

While there isn’t a bulletproof way to protect a small business, there are things that can be done to minimize the damages in the wake of a cyberattack. A swift response is crucial to survival, which means already having response procedures.

Here is a cyberattack response guide for small businesses to prepare, address, and recover from an active cyberattack.

Preliminary Steps

Designate a Response Team

A cybersecurity incident affects the entire company, so it’s essential to designate an internal response team of members from multiple departments to help identify and address cyberattacks. The team should include members of the IT department. However, it should also have members of the HR department to manage employee stress and concerns.

Identify Critical Assets and Vulnerabilities

Once a designated cyberattack response team is in place, the next step is identifying the small business’s critical assets and vulnerabilities.

Active Response Plan Steps

Once all the preliminary precautionary measures are outlined, the next step is to create a detailed response checklist to help the team swiftly and correctly respond to an attack.


Once it’s discovered that the system has been compromised, the first step is to identify the source and type of attack.


Computer viruses can spread quickly from one device to another. Once a device is infected, the virus can then spread to other devices on the same network. This is why isolating infected devices as soon as possible is crucial.


Once the threat has been contained, it will need to be eradicated. Eradication could involve a variety of complex processes, such as removing malware, restoring files, and reinstalling operating systems.


Recovery is one of the most critical steps in the response plan. Once the threat has been eradicated, clean up all systems and restore lost data.

Lessons Learned

Once the cyberattack has been contained and the systems have been restored, take some time to assess the situation and identify any areas where the business’s security could be improved. Use the knowledge gained during recovery to strengthen any security policies and procedures.

Final Steps


Cyberattacks should be communicated to all affected parties. Depending on the scale of the attack, this could involve internal and external communications.

Having a Cyberattack Plan is Key

Cyberattacks impact thousands of businesses daily, and small businesses are hurt the most. A detailed response plan can help a small business recover from a cyberattack faster to get back on track.

Have questions about creating a personalized cyberattack response plan or data recovery plan? Contact us to meet with our team of cybersecurity experts.