Meanwhile, ancillary costs associated with cyber breaches can be hard to quantify. Share-price dips that occur after a breach tend to be temporary, with stocks typically rebounding within three months. But customer loyalty and brand reputation don’t seem to recover at generally predictable rates.

Meanwhile, financial regulators are fighting to safeguard end-client assets and information in the event of cyber attacks on financial firms. To this end, regulators have issued best-practice rules and guidelines, and they continue to probe firms’ activities to identify procedural soft spots for future regulation, often aided by sophisticated analytical tools for sifting large datasets.

It isn’t always clear when your firm has been hacked, but fortunately, there are some indicators. Among them:

  • Unusual outbound network traffic

  • Anomalies in privileged-user account activity

  • Multiple requests for the same file

  • Geographical irregularities

  • Database extractions

  • Unexpected system patching

If a cyber breach does take place, try to learn as much as possible. How did the attack come about in the first place? Why were you a target? Was the attacker trying to gain access to certain information, disrupt business, or take over systems to enact a larger attack? Understanding the attackers' motivations can help you formulate an improved security plan.