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Zarwin Baum Breakfast Series Recap: Anatomy of a Cyber Data Breach

As part of the ongoing Zarwin Baum Breakfast Series, on September 13, our firm hosted ‘Anatomy of a Cyber Data Breach,’ featuring expert opinions from Zarwin Baum shareholder Ted Schaer, Beth Fitch of Righi Fitch Law Group, Ken Pyle of DFDR Consulting, and John Nahas of Marsh Risk Consulting. First discussing the importance of proactive preparation, the panel of experts dove into the five stages of a cyber breach, and what each stage entails.

With cyber data breaches on the rise, preparation has become increasingly important. Schaer said companies should be familiar with the type of information hackers are seeking out, which includes Personally Identifiable Information (PII) like social security numbers, Protected Health Information (PHI) like medical records and healthcare payments, and credit card information. Even documents that may seem harmless can be a risk – Nahas noted that hackers can find ways to monetize anything. Effective preparation also requires a comprehensive data breach plan that specifically notes how each department should respond, and what the data security laws are in your state.

Successfully prepared companies will have an easier time navigating a cyber-attack, but the process can still get dicey. Here are the 5 stages of a cyber breach and how to handle them:

Stage 1: Suspect a Breach. Whether it’s a system irregularity, a report from an employee or vendor, or a customer complaint, no suspicious activity should be ignored. Fitch stresses that all employees and stakeholders should understand their responsibility in reporting anything unusual.

Stage 2: Confirm the Breach. If the compromised system contains private data, then a breach can be confirmed. At this point, timing is critical. Schaer suggests immediately contacting your legal counsel before making any decisions.

Stage 3: Remediate. Close the hacker’s method of entry and mobilize all teams to perform their assigned cyber breach duties. This includes internal and external teams, the legal team, the forensics team, and the PR team.

Stage 4: Assess the Damage. Determine the scope of the breach by identifying who and what was compromised. Preserve the evidence, including what occurred, when it occurred, and why it occurred.

Stage 5: Mitigate. Notify stakeholders, law enforcement and the public of the data breach your company experienced. Oftentimes, the attempt to cover up a hack is more damaging than the hack itself.

With best practices in place, companies can overcome cyber breaches. It’s important to remember, however, that past data breaches don’t necessarily predict future exposures, because risk is always evolving.

To continue the conversation on cyber data breaches, contact Ted Schaer at

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Making-A-Difference at S. Weir Mitchell School

Mitchell Group Photo

Philadelphia elementary school students and teachers can expect to come back to refreshed classrooms in September, thanks to the team at Zarwin Baum. On June 27, nearly two dozen Zarwin Baum attorneys and associates spent the day priming, painting and brightening up the classrooms and hallways, with hues of red, yellow, green and blue, at S. Weir Mitchell Elementary School in Southwest Philadelphia.

This beautification effort is a part of the firm’s ongoing commitment to serving the community through charitable and philanthropic activities. In 2014, Zarwin Baum adopted Mitchell Elementary after hearing about the lack of resources in some of Philadelphia’s public schools, and seeing a need that it could help fulfill. Since that time, the firm has provided ongoing support through quarterly fundraising and the donation of refurbished computers, printers, tables, bookcases, and a host of school supplies and upgraded technology, ensuring young people have the tools they need to succeed.

As a ‘Thank You’ for the firm’s hard work, students and school administrators gave the Zarwin Baum team a framed, hand-painted piece of artwork, depicting the Philadelphia skyline, and with messages of gratitude and appreciation.

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Risk Management: Your Business on Social Media

At this point, it’s clear: You don’t have to work in the tech industry to feel the impact of an evolving digital landscape. Social media is one aspect that affects virtually all types of businesses. At first, companies’ use of social media was primarily focused on marketing. It quickly grew to encompass much more, including customer service and client relations. Some of the smartest business owners make social media strategy a priority, because most agree that the benefits outweigh the risks. It is important, however, to understand the conflicts that may arise from social media use:

  • Ensure ownership of company social media accounts; organizations have found themselves in unfavorable positions when an employee or third party agency owns the rights to their online presence.
  • A company doesn’t have to actively use social media to be at risk. The online activities of employees have implications, and if someone posts something controversial, there could be legal consequences for the business.
  • If an employee is overly promotional on social media and doesn’t disclose their connection to the organization, the FTC may choose to investigate.
  • To thwart hackers, ensure all social media accounts are highly secure. Use unique, complex passwords for each account and keep track of which employees have access.

While social mediums typically present more opportunities than liabilities, it is always wise to identify the issues that may come about. Additionally, providing employees with an outline of social media policy is a great way for a company to protect itself.

Read more about social media risk management on

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