The Key Phases Your Incident Response Plan Must Cover
Experts predict that cybercrime will inflict $6 trillion in damage this year. While there is no way to completely prevent cybercrime from occurring, a good incident response plan can control and minimize the effects of cyberattacks on companies and their clients.
While every company needs a customized plan to achieve the best results, every major incident response plan needs to cover the same key phases. Keep reading now to learn what those phases are, what they need to address, and how you can construct or improve your plan for maximum effectiveness and protection against all cyber threats.
“Experts predict that cybercrime will inflict $6 trillion in damage this year.”
Essential Phases of an Incident Response Plan
Common incident response planning models range from four to seven steps. They all contain the same key phases, however. The only differences between them lie in how they group the phases in each step.
Regardless of how they group them, the essential phases of every effective cyber incident response plan are:
Skipping any of these steps leaves your organization open to threats, damages, liability, and loss.
Globally, criminal actors can hack even the safest systems in less than five hours. Importantly, however, this timeframe represents only their initial breach of a system. Companies equipped to identify and respond to cyberattacks quickly can shut down infiltrations before any serious harm is done.
In order to respond with the necessary speed, companies need to:
This preparation lays the groundwork for all the other steps in the plan. Without a plan in place and trained, experienced staff, companies cannot act with the speed and efficiency they need to contain and control breaches to prevent a full-blown catastrophe.
Some companies are not equipped to handle this kind of IT security in-house. Others find that it isn’t cost-effective to do so. In either case, the best solution is to hire professionals to handle it for you.
Identification or Detection
Whether you prefer to call it “identification” or “detection” this step involves:
Collecting and documenting information on the incident is critical. Having accurate and complete breach information is key in later steps such as recovery and follow up as it creates a foundation for future security improvements and the prevention of more incidents.
Without the right procedures in place, it is impossible to identify and take the correct steps to gather data, report the incident, and make the right choices about containment.
Both detection and information gathering can be automated to greater or less degrees. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint endpoint detection and response capabilities provide advanced attack detections that are near real-time and actionable. Security analysts can prioritize alerts effectively, gain visibility into the full scope of a breach, and take response actions to remediate threats.
The goal of the containment phase of a cyber incident response plan is to limit damage as much as possible when an incident occurs. This can potentially involve drastic action, such as taking portions of a system offline or even shutting an entire system down to prevent further access by infiltrating parties. Importantly, in many cases, some portions of a system may need to remain online to help track and control the breach.
In any case, it is important to:
Companies may also include additional tasks at this step, such as:
Preparation plays a key role here, as the faster a company or its IT service can contain an incident the less damage they are likely to suffer overall. Even small gains in speed and effectiveness here can pay huge dividends.
Eradication cannot happen until the containment phase is complete. If companies rush into eradication without finishing all aspects of containment, they can:
When it is time for the eradication phase, companies will wipe their systems of any trace of the incident and the threat that caused it. This may involve:
Eradication also involves verifying that all relevant parties received notifications of the incident, its aftermath, and its resolution. This phase must be handled by qualified and experienced IT professionals.
The recovery phase is where your operations return to normal. This can involve:
The more prepared a company is for an incident, the faster they can return to normal operations.
The follow up phase can go by many names, including:
However you refer to it, this phase calls for the parties involved to do a thorough review of the incident from start to finish. Common questions that companies seek to answer are:
Answering these questions helps organizations increase their resistance to incursions and improve their responses. It can also play a key role in limiting liability for damages by proving that the incident response plan steps in place and actions taken were appropriate and effective.
Making a Plan
The first step in how to create an incident response plan is to conduct an assessment. Risk assessments based on the NIST 800-30 framework are particularly powerful. Your assessment should help you identify:
This information will provide you with the groundwork you need to begin constructing a plan. The next steps are to:
For many companies, the process of creating and implementing an incident response plan is simply not feasible. Often, companies simply do not have the expertise or staff available in-house to set up, manage, and monitor their IT systems to the extent necessary to protect against cyberattacks.
When that happens, outsourcing IT services can be the best option. Outsourcing enables companies to:
Managed IT services are appropriate for companies of all sizes and offer much more than just incident response planning. They also provide:
Learn more about how managed IT services can build a powerful incident response plan for you and give your company the protection and competitive edge it needs. Browse our blog or contact us today and let our experts help you source the solutions you need.