How to Create an Incident Response Plan

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An incident response planAn incident response plan can help staff more effectively detect, respond to and recover from cybersecurity incidents. It focuses on looking ahead and having a concrete strategy and game plan in place that key staff can use in the event of a security breach.

What Is an Incident Response Plan?

An incident response plan is essentially a set of instructions designed to address various cybersecurity threats, such as data loss, service outages, cyber crimes and other events that could negatively impact normal business operations. It generally consists of six main phases that outline important terms that need to be addressed in the event of an incident.

Incident Response Plan Steps

Preparation

The first and most important step in creating an incident response plan is the preparation phase. To ensure that their business remains protected, it is important for employers to properly train all employees regarding their roles in the plan. Each employee should know and understand their responsibilities in the event of a data breach or other cybersecurity incident. Employers should also take the initiative to create incident response drill scenarios and undergo mock data breaches. Finally, employers must ensure that all aspects of their plan are fully funded in advance to allow for a smooth and rapid recovery following a cyberattack.

Identification

An incident response plan can help effectively address a cybersecurity issueTo effectively address a cybersecurity issue, businesses must be realistic about where the weak points are within their systems. The identification phase of an incident response plan aims to determine whether or not a business has been breached and where this cybersecurity event originated. When creating an incident response plan, business leaders should address when the event occurred, how it was discovered, who discovered it, the scope of the compromise, how the incident has impacted operations, whether or not the source of entry has been detected and if any other areas have been impacted.

Containment

When cybersecurity incidents occur, many businesses make the mistake of simply wiping their systems clean of all data. This not only eliminates important evidence that could be used to deter future cybersecurity incidents, but it also causes delays which can extend the time needed for businesses to return to normal operations. The purpose of containment is to stop the effects of an incident before it can cause further damage, without losing any compromised data forever. Having a backup system in place is only the first step. Businesses should also review their remote access protocols, harden their passwords, review their multi-factor authentication and confirm that all administrative access credentials are secure.

Eradication

While containing the incident at hand is an important step in an incident response plan, businesses must also determine the cause of the breach. If a business fails to determine the root cause, there is a high chance that the incident could occur again in the future. Eradication involves a series of strategies, such as patching systems, removing malware and applying updates. This can be accomplished by employees or performed by a reputable third-party. Once the cause of the incident has been eliminated, businesses can move onto the next phase of the plan.

Recovery

minimize downtime with incident response planTo help minimize downtime and help ensure that cybersecurity threats do not continue to threaten the daily operations of a business, it is important to include a recovery phase in the incident response plan. This recovery phase should focus on restoring any affected systems back to a stable business environment. During recovery, businesses should have the ability to get their systems back up and running without fear of another cyber-attack. When creating this phase of the plan, it is important to consider when systems can be recovered, can a trusted backup be used, how long the affected system should be closely monitored and what tools are in place to help prevent a similar incident.

Review and Implementation

Once an incident response plan has been created, the final steps involve the review and implementation of the plan. The sooner that an incident response plan is implemented, the safer a business will be against certain cyber threats. It is always a good idea to seek the expertise of a risk management firm experienced in cyber risks. Having a risk management consulting team can be used to plan and implement solutions for all types of cybersecurity issues.

Speak to the Risk Management Consulting Firm Today

Businesses in all industries are susceptible to cyber-attacks. It is important for companies to be prepared for if and when these incidents occur by having a thorough incident response plan in place. For more information or for help creating an incident response plan, reach out to Hartman Executive Advisors.

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