Your network will never be completely secure. However, preparing both your network and your employees can help mitigate losses in the case of a security breach or any potential crisis. Here’s where a robust incident response and, subsequently, a strong incident response plan comes in. 

IBM defines incident response as the organization’s “systematic reaction to an information security breach attempt.” But simply having an incident response is not enough. Organizations have to go the extra mile to develop an incident response plan. When the situation is dire, your next best step is to rely on a strong incident response plan to prevent your enterprise from incurring further damages. 

Why Do You Need an Incident Response Plan? 

An incident response plan is a set of instructions designed to assist IT personnel in detecting, responding to, and recovering from network security incidents. These plans address a broad range of IT issues from cybercrime to service outages that threaten daily operations. In the wake of a security incident, the incident response plan will activate certain actions to make sure that the malicious attack is contained and eradicated. Examples of these types of security incidents include phishing scams, Business Email Compromise, Email Account Compromise, and other data breaches that threaten your company’s operations.

Benefits of Planning Ahead

Setting up a robust plan is beneficial to the company in many ways. Even if your company has not had any threatening security breaches, any organization is vulnerable to cyber threats, no matter how big or small. Specific advantages of having an incident response plan include: 

Cost Reduction 

According to Statista, the global average cost of a data breach in 2021 was $4.24 million. An effective incident response plan can act to reduce these costs significantly. 

Better Data Protection

Any enterprise has the responsibility to protect its data and other assets. By setting up an incident response plan ahead of time, you can mitigate the potential data loss that you’ll suffer from an incident. Incident response plans help protect backups, ensure the sufficiency of identity and access management, timely patch vulnerabilities, offer rapid response to alerts, and carefully analyze logs and event data by placing those measures ahead of time.

Getting Started

To get started, you can follow this guideline on creating a sound incident response plan for your organization. According to SANS Institute’s Incident Handlers Handbook, there are 6 steps an incident response plan Team should follow: 

Step 1: Preparation

Prepare a plan that defines the entire incident response process. This includes assigning roles and responsibilities, and creating documentation to help staff recognize incidents and follow standard procedures.

Step 2: Identification

The team should not only be able to detect suspicious activities that can be a security threat, but also immediately collect additional evidence and decide on the severity of the threat. Documentation should be done during this stage as understanding the “Who, What, Where, Why, and How” of the incident will be useful when prosecuting the attackers later on in court. 

Step 3: Containment

Once an incident is identified, the threat should be immediately contained to prevent further damage. There are two phases to containment: 

  1. Short-term containment: For example, isolating a network that is under attack.
  1. Long-term containment: For example, applying temporary fixes to affected systems to allow them to be used in production, while rebuilding clean systems. This phase prepares the enterprise to bring these clean systems online during the recovery stage.

Step 4: Eradication

This involves removing all malware or threats from the environment, as well as updating system security so that vulnerabilities have been patched.

Step 5: Recovery

Once an incident has been resolved, the team conducts a thorough post-mortem analysis of the issue and associated root causes to prevent future incidents from happening.

Step 6: Lessons Learned

A comprehensive review of resolved incidents is done to improve cyber security and attain faster incident resolution methods. This phase will require identifying how information regarding the resolved incidents will be collected and summarized.   

Typically the incident response team is in charge of implementing the phases within the incident response plan. 

However, putting together an in-house incident response team might not be that easy as the demand for competent security professionals is higher than ever. And since your SOC team will face challenges like managing false positives, interacting with end-users, analyzing incidents, and a lot more they could be overwhelmed if a serious breach occurs.

In this case, you will probably need to hire a third-party IR company to deal with the situation. You can also opt to add a new cybersecurity tool to your technology stack. When you do so, check if the tool includes IR. There are some email security service platforms that carry this feature, while others don’t. When you work with platforms that have IR, like Perception Point, you put your enterprise at a safer vantage point. This way, you can offload the burden of vetting incoming threats via email or collaboration channels so your team can focus on more pressing security matters.

Perception Point’s support services allow your team to be better equipped to prevent serious breaches. While your main SOC team deals with daily IT operations, our IR capabilities can help keep cyberattacks at bay. Connect with us to learn more about how this can happen for your enterprise. 

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