A security incident can topple an organisation’s reputation and revenue in a short amount of time. As billionaire Warren Buffet once said, “it takes 20 years to develop a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Keeping that in mind, it’s ideal to have an incident response plan in place before a security breach occurs.
An incident response plan is a set of instructions intended to facilitate an organisation in detecting, responding to and recovering from network security incidents such as cybercrime, data loss and service disruptions. Having a plan in place contributes to the development of cybersecurity as well as overall organisational resilience. Since most small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have limited resources and funds, incident response is usually given less attention. However, failing to respond swiftly and effectively when a cyberattack occurs can cost far more than putting an incident response plan in place.
Essential Elements of an Incident Response Plan
Every incident response plan should include the following five critical elements in order to successfully address the wide range of security issues that an organisation can face:
Incident Identification and Rapid Response
It’s critical to evaluate the threat effectively and decide whether to implement the incident response plan. This requires two prerequisites:
- An authorized person to initiate the plan
- An online/offline place for the incident response team to meet and discuss
The sooner the incident is detected and addressed, the less severe the impact.
- Tools to take all machines offline after forensic analysis
- Solutions to regulate access to the organisation’s IT environment and keep hackers out of the network
Measures to employ standby machines to ensure operational continuity
Roles and Responsibilities
An incident could occur in the middle of the night or at an unexpected time. That’s why it’s critical to establish the roles and responsibilities of your incident response team members. They could be called in at any time. You must also have a reserve team in case any of the primary contacts are unavailable.
In a cyber incident, time is critical, and everyone must know what to do.
Detection and Analysis
This is, without a doubt, one of the most crucial elements of an incident response plan. It emphasises documenting everything, from how an incident is detected to how to report, analyse and contain the threat. The aim is to create a playbook that includes approaches for detecting and analysing a wide range of risks.
Containment, Eradication and Recovery
- Containment specifies the methods for restricting the incident’s scope. A ransomware attack, for example, must be tackled very differently compared to an insider threat.
- Eradication is all about techniques to eliminate a threat from all affected systems.
- Because incidents cannot always be prevented, recovery efforts concentrate on reducing potential harm and resuming operations as quickly as possible.
Considerations for an Incident Response Plan
An incident response plan must address any concerns that arise from an evolving threat landscape. Before you start crafting your plan, there are several considerations to be made, including:
- Building an incident response plan should not be a one-off exercise. It should be reviewed regularly to consider the most recent technical and environmental changes that may influence your organisation.
- Your incident response plan and the team working on it must be supported and guided by top management.
- It’s critical to document the contact information of key personnel for emergency communication.
- Every person in the incident response team must maintain accountability.
- Deploy the appropriate tools and procedures to improve the effectiveness of the incident response.
- Your security, backup and compliance postures must all be given the same attention.
We live in an era where only resilient organisations can navigate the complexities created by technological advancements and other unexpected external influences. That’s why having an incident response plan is essential.
Trying to develop and deploy an incident response plan on your own might be more than you can handle while running an organisation. Partnering with a specialist like us can take the load off your shoulders and give you the advantage of having an expert on your side. Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.
To understand organisational resilience in depth, download “The Ultimate Guide to Organisational Resilience”