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Cybersecurity

A cybersecurity incident response plan is a well-documented set of instructions designed to recover your business quickly in the event of a breach.
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Why Your Business Must Have a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan

If your organization has not yet experienced a cybersecurity event, it’s only a question of time. Size, industry, niche – none of these offer any protection from attackers today. To help reduce your risk and provide some level of protection, it’s critical to have a cybersecurity incident response plan in place.

What Is a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan?

A cybersecurity incident response plan is a well-documented set of instructions designed to recover your business quickly in the event of a breach, including:

Help you prepare for cybersecurity incidents

Help you detect attacks

Help you respond to incidents

Help you recover from cybersecurity attacks

These four areas constitute the four stages of a security incident response plan.

The Four Stages

Your cybersecurity incident response plan should include four specific stages.

Preparing

The first stage deals with preparations for security incidents. Who is on the response team? What is their contact information? What is their role? When do team members need to be contacted? Your response team is a critical line of defense against cyberattacks.

This stage also deals with prevention. Preventative steps should be outlined in your current information security policy but should also include conducting regular risk assessments, taking active steps to prevent malware, and more.

Detection/Analysis

The next stage is detecting attacks and threats. Once an incident has occurred, your organization must determine how to respond. Note that because threats are so vast and varied, it’s impossible to create a specific response to each type. Instead, determine your vulnerabilities and the most likely attack types you will experience.

While you may be able to detect precursors that indicate an imminent attack in some cases, that is not always true. In some instances, you will need to detect indicators that show an attack is occurring or has already occurred. In some cases, you may need to set rules that automatically notify authorities such as the local police, the FBI, or the FTC.

Response

The next stage is your response to the threat/attack. This should be based on the type of attack, but also on whether the attack was caught before it occurred, while active, or after the attack has finished. There are three parts to this stage – containment, eradication, and recovery.

Containment is only possible if you catch the attack before it happens or while it is occurring. Your containment strategy should include the potential damage to and theft of resources, the need to preserve evidence of the attack, maintaining service availability, the resources (including time) required to deal with the attack, and how long it will take for the solution to be implemented.

Eradication steps will vary based on the type of attack and other factors. The goal here is to stop the attack by closing vulnerabilities, removing malware, and other steps. After eradication, recovery can begin, which will include updating your security plan, recovering damaged/lost data, informing stakeholders, and more.

Without a cybersecurity incident response plan, your organization may be caught unprepared. It’s not a question of if you’ll experience an attack, but when. Being prepared can save time and resources while preserving your reputation.

Recovery

After eradication, recovery can begin, which will include updating your security plan, recovering damaged/lost data, informing stakeholders, and more. It’s important to analyze what occurred and what conditions allowed it to occur, addressing underlying vulnerabilities, and providing training for employees to help prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.

Without a cybersecurity incident response plan, your organization may be caught unprepared. It’s not a question of if you’ll experience an attack, but when. Being prepared can save time and resources while preserving your reputation.