The modern threat environment makes it challenging to protect organizations. An organization’s integrity depends on its response to a cyber attack. Any organization that manages to brush itself up after an incident will likely regain its reputation and sustain the least damage. The best way to ensure that is through a robust incident response plan.
This article discusses the structure of an effective cyber incident response plan. Also, it sheds light on the essential functions and security requirements necessary to make it an effective security plan.
What Is An Incident Response Plan?
A cyber incident response plan outlines an organization’s procedure after a security breach. The main goal of IRP is to ensure that the organization remains ahead of security incidents and acts accordingly. Doing so can reduce the damage and prevent similar incidents in the future.
IRP is a set of instructions that offers a structured approach to detect, solve, and restore the damage after a cybersecurity breach. The IRP plan highlights and specifies the roles and responsibilities of the IR team at the time of the attack.
The IR team, also called CSIRT, ensures that they can counteract the breach as per their plan in less time with more efficiency. In this way, they can keep the damage and recovery cost minimal.
Such plans are pretty helpful in dealing with daily work threats like DDoS and data loss.
Why Is an Incident Response Plan Essential To Have?
Below are the top three reasons that emphasize the importance of IRP. So, let’s overview them:
– Data Protection
Data protection is the first and top priority for any business. When you have a comprehensive IRP plan, there are high chances that you won’t lose your data. Companies can create data backups or move their business data in the cloud environment. Also, they need to follow the privacy regulations to avoid penalties.
– Maintain Customers Trust and Brand Reputation
The most unfortunate aspect of a security breach is that they can lose all or most of their trusted customers. Also, their brand name gets affected. But when businesses have an IRP, they know how to tackle everything according to their plan. Neither they lose customers, nor their reputation gets at stake.
– Protect Revenue
A data breach cost an organization $3.86 million in 2020. These figures are likely to increase with time, meaning a large sum of revenue is at stake when a breach hits any organization. Having the CIRP even protects your business from the loss of income. The less time your company takes to detect the breach, the less revenue will be lost.
Hence, you must draft and deploy a detailed cyber incident response plan for all these reasons.
6 Effective Cyber Incident Response Plan
Organizations need to develop a responsive set of capabilities as part of their incident response plan to respond to cyber incidents. SANS published their Incident Handler’s Handbook a few years ago. It remains the standard for IR plans and includes a six-step framework to build your company plan.
Below is an insight into the steps to create a cyber incident response plan:
Preparation for any potential security incident is key to a successful response. Develop playbooks that guide the SOC when triaging an incident. It gives clear instructions on prioritizing an incident and when it escalates. These should be high level and focused on specific areas such as DDoS, malware, insider threat, and phishing. Test these playbooks and procedures on the people and teams using them. Tabletop exercises are an excellent way to solidify the knowledge and see if there’s room for improvement.
During the identification phase, keep an accurate log of your incident. Be sure to note the time of each step within the incident to establish the full timeline of what has taken place. Note each unique IOC you find; stay ahead to re-execute IOCs as more data about the intrusion is uncovered. Store this log securely for future analysis and investigation.
The next stage is to contain the incident to reduce the risk of further compromise on your network. or ensure that the already infected devices can be rebuilt. Once all systems are in a known good state, you should remove the incident identifier and all unique fingerprints. It ensures that the data is also stored in a secure manner.
Once the incident is successfully contained, then the eradication of the threat begins. This will vary depending on what caused a device to compromise. Patching devices or disabling compromised accounts are examples of what you might need in the eradication phase of the plan.
The goal of the recovery phase of an incident is to restore standard service to the business. If clean backups are available, use them to restore service. At the same time, any compromised device will need rebuilding to ensure a clean recovery. Also, extra monitoring of affected devices might need implementation.
6. Lessons Learned
Once the threat has been fully remediated, the next step will involve answering the question ‘how do we stop this from happening again?’. A meeting known as a Post Incident Review (PIR) takes place. It includes representatives from all teams involved in the incident. It is the platform to discuss what went well during the incident and what needs improvements. Here the incident response plan refines based on the outcome of the PIR, procedures, and playbooks are amended to reflect any agreed changes.
The IR team can also create awareness messages for all staff members, including the top management. The message should include what happened and what lessons they learned from the IR team. Moreover, the message can also have the end-users if it impacts them.
With the increase in cyberattacks, companies should identify and contain network and security incidents. If they can’t locate and control the problem, the risk of having similar attacks on the network rises. Thus, it’s high time for the companies to come forward and invest in CIRP to maintain the integrity of their business.