Cyber attacks can come in various forms including malware infection, server DDoS, and data breaches. Any of these can have a significant effect on the operations of your business. Thus, it is essential to be fully prepared in case your business network is compromised by malicious actors. A plan to help you prepare and react to future cybersecurity compromises is known as an incident response plan.
What is an Incident Response Plan
An incident response plan consists of people, processes, and technology that are designed to help manage a cybersecurity incident.
It is based on the principle of creating a plan before it is necessary.
An incident response plan is an organized and pre-planned approach that organizations can use to manage the aftermath of a security breach or cyber-attack in order to mitigate its effects on the asset and operations of the target business.
Incident response is not only about the technology and tools. It is a plan that may involve technical staff, management, departmental representatives, external auditors, and cyber security consultants.
Importance of Incident Response Plan
The full consequences of a security incident cannot be predicted. An incident response plan is needed to mitigate the fallout of security attacks.
Loss of customers’ and shareholders’ trust, legal fines, and loss of partners may result from a cybersecurity incident.
An incident response plan provides a systematic approach to react and limit such effects on the business.
An improperly managed cybersecurity incident can quickly escalate into a much bigger problem capable of causing complete system collapse or business failure.
An incident response plan will help your organization minimize its losses, reduce the effect of exploited vulnerabilities, restore service and processes quicker, and reduce the risk of future cyber breaches.
Who Manages an Incident Response Plan?
Several people and groups are part of an incident response team. In some organizations, there is a dedicated team known as the computer security incident response team (CSIRT) in charge of incidence response.
The incident response manager is the director who oversees and coordinates the organization’s actions during detection, response, analysis, and containment of a security incident.
Security analysts support the manager and investigate the affected network and system to determine the time, location, extent of the compromise, and other details of the incident. They help to recover artifacts of the cyber attack and preserve evidence for future use.
Threat researchers provide the context for an incident. They scan the internet for threat intelligence as well as discover and identify important information that may have been leaked to the public or sold on underground forums.
Components of an Incident Response Plan
Reducing the impact of a cybersecurity breach include the following:
i. Power off the system
All the machines affected by the breach must be segmented and powered off. This step must be carried out unless you are a cybersecurity expert who knows what they are doing.
ii. Don’t delete data
Do not delete data on the affected system to allow forensic investigators to analyze and trace the breach so as to block future attacks.
There should be a clear structure in the plan of who needs to know immediately the security breach is discovered and those who must be informed later. The frontline responders are to be contacted first.
Employees, customers, and the public also need to know, especially those who have been targeted in the same attack.
3. Team Training
It is important to train your team so that they are always able to discover and identify cyber security incidents and also be able to respond in an organized way to minimize losses from such events. Employees should understand the type of incident they are likely to face such as phishing and how to deal with them.
System managers and admins require extra training in incident response to quickly discover the compromise of personally identifiable and sensitive data.
Preparation for a cybersecurity incident is the most important step. It may involve simulating a security incident in order to keep your team alert.
4. Post-Incident Report
Finally, an incident response plan should indicate how reports are collected, prepared, and communicated to stakeholders.
This involved briefing your incident response team too. This step provides insight on how the security could have been prevented and how to be more security-conscious in the future to prevent future incidents.
Post-incident analysis may also help to discover defensive automation opportunities that may have been able to stop the initial attack.
As part of the post mortem analysis, customers, vendors, and partners may be informed on how the issue affected them and the preventive steps taken.
Effective incident response requires careful and thoughtful planning, ongoing monitoring as well as clear metrics measurement to ensure that the organization’s goals have been met.
Periodic testing of the incident response plan helps to ensure it is still effective against the latest cyber security threats. Regular training of all team members and personnel involved in the application and implementation of the incident response plan is crucial.
Executives must keep in mind the incident response plan can work best when it encompasses all aspects of the business and not just the technology and tools.
Incident response planning requires serious investment in tools and multi-disciplinary personnel that may be too costly for SMBs to maintain. MSPs can help you manage the complex task of incident response.
Get in touch with SDTEK to discuss the best incident response plan solution for your business.