An Incident Response plan lays out exactly how to respond in the event your business comes under cyber attack. It sets out clear and concise steps that allow you to prepare for intrusions, provides key indicators you may be being targeted, and informs you how to stop the attack and recover from it as quickly as possible.
For your Incident Response plan to be effective, you need to have eyes on your network security at all times. You also need to have (at the very least) Endpoint Security Detection and Response, logging and monitoring. This way, your IT security team can see suspicious activity and handle it, enacting your Incident Response plan as needed.
Why do I need an Incident Response plan? Won’t my IT staff know what to do?
While your IT teams may know what to do, it’s important they’re working in tandem, supporting each other as they respond. One of the first things to happen when people see their system under attack is panic. Having a plan in place helps to keep everyone calm as they react in a planned and coordinated fashion.
Not having an Incident Response plan is like not wearing your seat belt. Just because you’re hoping you won’t need it doesn’t stop something bad from happening. And just like a seat belt, having a plan in place could literally be the difference between coming out intact or not coming away from it at all.
What you need in your Incident Response plan
Firstly, it’s important to point out that an Incident Response plan is specialised to fit each individual business. The different stages of the plan vary depending on the sector the business operates in, the type of information it stores, etc.
But when it comes down to the basics, there are six key parts that should be included in any and every Incident Response plan:
Preparation – Examining and codifying risks and security measures
Identification – Recognising an incident or attack is taking place
Containment – Stopping the attack and preventing further damage
Eradication – Removing malicious files and data from your systems
Data recovery – Restoring your systems back to their state before the attack
Learnings – Examining what happened and how to stop similar attacks in the future
We cover these stages in far greater detail in our eBook, The ultimate guide to cyber security. If you’d like some greater understanding of how to prepare, protect and prevent cyber attacks from hurting your business, check it out.
Can anyone build an Incident Response plan?
Simply put, no. While you could conduct your own assessment, you run the risk of missing or not even knowing about key steps that are vital to ensuring the operation of your business.
You really need an Incident Response specialist or company to build your plan because they have the knowledge and experience behind them to create one that’s comprehensive. Such a plan allows you to respond to an attack in a calm and collected manner, as you’ll know exactly what you need to do and when.
Combined with preparation measures to boost your defences, a robust Incident Response plan can be the difference between containing and recovering from an attack, or potentially irreparable damage being done to your systems.
Incident Response plans are a specialist topic and require expert insight and understanding, so it’s best to outsource their creation to a trusted and proven source.