If you read the headlines this morning, there’s a pretty good chance that you came across a news story about a cybersecurity attack. Unfortunately, this has become the new norm, and it’s only going to get worse.
This can be attributed to the fact that most businesses are going through the process of digital transformation. While this can help enhance productivity and reduce costs, it also creates a massive target for cybercriminals.
Nowadays bad actors have a much bigger digital landscape to infect with malware, ransomware, or hack with their highly evolved and sophisticated attacks.
For businesses of all sizes, these security events can have a significant impact on their bottom line. In fact, according to Cisco, enterprise email fraud cost companies as much as $5.3 billion while ransomware attacks cost around $1 billion in 2016.
Cybersecurity failures often occur when employees are duped into clicking links in sophisticated phishing emails. Sometimes security teams can also be guilty of opening the doors to a data breach when they forget to change default passwords (this is especially true when it comes to connected devices).
Lack of visibility on enterprise networks is also another problem, so security professionals need to take that into consideration when developing their network security strategy.
To combat the growing security threat, it’s essential for enterprises to establish an incident response plan and take a proactive approach to your cybersecurity.
What’s an Incident Response Plan?
An incident response or IT incident plan can be described as a strategic, organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a security breach. It’s crucial to have one because it’ll be vital to improving your security posture, reduce the risk of a data breach, and minimize downtime to ensure business continuity.
In other words, the primary idea here is to limit the damage while minimizing recovery time and costs. When businesses don’t have a plan to properly contain and manage a security breach, it can quickly escalate into a much bigger problem that takes down the whole network.
Following this approach also enables enterprises to better prepare for the unknown while identifying the most reliable methods to rapidly flag security incidents. The response plan will also help the organization establish a set of best practices that can help negate a data breach.
What Are the Key Characteristics of an Incident Response Plan?
According to Cisco, a robust emergency incident response plan should cover potential security events with detailed instructions on how to respond to them. These threats can come in the form of network intrusions, malware infections, data breaches, and distributed denial-of-service attacks.
Lack of preparation will result in not detecting attacks. Furthermore, when a threat is detected, the company can also be faced with a lack of proper protocols and tools to contain and respond to threats (and this often leads to chaos during the recovery process).
As a result, an effective cybersecurity incident response plan should cover the following:
Enterprise security teams should implement security tools to help quickly identify security events. They should also actively engage in staff training to educate employees about how they can identify and respond to potential threats.
Technologies should also be implemented to identify a security event. This means that there should be a process in place that helps security professionals quickly ascertain if some anomalies in the system are actually a security incident.
To preserve your business reputation, your incident response plan should have adequate instructions on how one should go about isolating affected systems to limit the damage. What is more, it should also have a set of best practices on how to efficiently manage the fallout from an attack.
Eradication always starts with finding the root cause of a security incident. Once that’s identified, security teams can go about removing the infected or breached systems from the production environment.
Once the eradication phase is complete, recovered systems can be reintroduced into the production environment. However, you have to first engage in extensive testing to ensure that the threat has been completely wiped out.
This step cannot be ignored because it’s the only way to improve your future response efforts. By analyzing the incident, streamlining forensic analysis, and learning from it, you can also find new ways to further enhance your overall cybersecurity strategy and related protocols.
The incident response plan should also have instructions on how the organization should respond to negative publicity. Furthermore, everyone’s roles and responsibilities need be clearly defined along with the specific tools and resources that should be used to recover breached data.
Whether companies leverage security operations centers or managed detection and response services, they need to take steps to ensure that their security incident response plan actually works. This can be achieved by regularly conducting security audits, simulating attacks, proactively hunting for threats, and engaging in penetration testing.
Without testing out your incident response plan (and your current security posture), your business can risk significant downtime in the event of an actual security breach.