The call center is suddenly overwhelmed by calls, a large number of angry customers complain about the failure of an important service and demand information about the extent and duration of the interruption. IT staff recognize isolated symptoms of malfunctions, but cannot explain the real cause. The first social media postings report on the malfunction and provide information on how your own data can be protected or the service can still be used. Corporate communications, the IT department and other departments begin with measures to contain and deal with the incident, unfortunately often independently of each other.
A complete picture of the situation is not available. Corporate communications does not answer press inquiries or does not answer them adequately due to the lack of information. Departments shift responsibilities for dealing with the incident. Stakeholders receive different information – or none at all. Recovery measures are incorrectly prioritized or contain some (mostly data protection) side effects, and it is not uncommon for them to completely fail the service they had hoped for. Gaps in the alerting and escalation chain mean that urgent processes are forgotten. Everyone involved is under high psychological stress, which in turn leads to a large number of technical errors.
The speed and complexity of a cyber incident and the stress of employees regularly overwhelm the affected companies, as the media repeatedly report. Monetary losses due to production downtime and GDPR fines as well as a negative reputation are often the result – often accompanied by a loss of interpretative sovereignty in the crisis. And this despite the fact that suitable software has been procured and processes for incident detection and management have been introduced.
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