No organization is truly safe from cyberattacks. Even the most comprehensive cyber security strategies with state-of-the-art software falter from time to time. An incident response plan is necessary for those occasions.
What is an Incident Response Plan?
An incident response plan is a set of instructions for addressing a cyberattack and managing its aftermath. Its goal should be to minimize network downtime and costs.
Organizations will often dedicate an incident response team, such as a cyber security company, to implement this plan and execute it when necessary.
Why are Incident Response Plans Important?
A network can never be 100 percent secure. Hackers are constantly evolving their attacks to bypass the latest cyber security software. Security professionals must then issue consistent updates and patches to address these new attacks. However, if you get caught in between, where a patch has not yet been issued, your network could be left vulnerable.
In addition, phishing attacks, which don’t always need to bypass cyber security software, account for approximately 90 percent of data breaches by some estimates. It only takes one employee to click a malicious link for your entire network to become compromised.
6 Components of a Good Incident Response Plan
Incident response plans might differ depending on the size and industry of an organization, but they generally have six main components.
The first component involves preparing and educating employees about cyberattacks and what to do if one occurs. This might include reporting the incident to the IT team, disconnecting their devices from the network and more.
During this phase, the incident response team will determine the nature of the incident. Sometimes, it might not be a cyberattack at all. Other times, it could be a virus, ransomware or anything in between.
Cyber security solutions, such as intrusion prevention and behavior monitoring systems, are crucial to the identification phase.
If the incident is identified as a cyberattack, the incident response team will isolate the infected systems. This helps prevent the attack from spreading to other areas of the network.
Now, the incident response team works within the infected systems to remove the threat.
Once the threat has been removed and the isolated systems are no longer infected, they will be reconnected to the network.
6. Future Planning
The incident will be documented and analyzed to learn how to improve future response efforts and potentially introduce new cyber security mechanisms.
The above six points make incident response planning seem simple, but cyberattacks can be complex. It’s not always easy to identify breaches, and networks can sometimes be down for prolonged periods of time.
The best way to minimize network downtime and keep your organization as secure as possible is to work with cyber security professionals that take incident response planning seriously.