Coordinated Response
Services and tools for incident response management

Five Stages of Data Breach Grief

Ricky Link in an article on the Dark Reading web site suggests that customers aren’t the only victims of a data breach.

Mr. Link suggests that the organization and even the security team go through the 5 stages of grief identified by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying:

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

Data Breach Denial

There was no data breach, was there? It wasn’t that big?


How the [expletive deleted] did this happen?


How about a second chance? This won’t happen again.

Data Breach Depression

What are we going to do now? How will this affect our business?


Once a data breach is an accepted fact, the post mortem (to continue with the death metaphor) can begin.

Coal Fire

Ricky Link is the Managing Director for Coalfire in the Dallas, Texas office. His article provides valuable insight when dealing with a data breach. He also provides a table with the 17 major data breaches in 2014 with over 313 million records exposed across the 17 breaches.

Coordinated Response

We don’t recommend reflecting the 5 stages of grief in your incident response plan, but it makes sense to recognize the stages during plan development. What actions advance the response beyond these gates?

Let us help you with a cybersecurity  incident response plan review so your plan moves incidents rapidly to an optimal resolution.