3 Reasons You Need An Incident Response Plan

You might be wondering what an incident response plan is. But first, let’s talk about the prevalence of cyberattacks. Cyberattacks are on the rise, and no organization is safe. In 2020, ransomware increased an astonishing 435 percent, and malware went up by a full 358 percent year-over-year. There were more than 10 million DDoS attacks, and reports of identity theft doubled

The price of these attacks is overwhelming. Experts estimate the global cost of cybercrime will reach $10.5 trillion per year by 2025. That’s despite the ever-more sophisticated security measures adopted by safety-conscious individuals and businesses. 

While prevention is critical to mitigating risk, it’s not possible to eliminate cybercrime-related risk altogether. That’s why an incident response plan is critical. Fast action reduces losses and supports rapid recovery. 

What Is an Incident Response Plan? 

Though cyberattacks are inevitable, the extent of the damage isn’t preordained. Actions taken before, during, and after an incident can influence the impact of a breach on the business.

However, catching breaches early, eliminating threats, and launching effective recovery efforts doesn’t happen by accident. A comprehensive incident response plan mitigates damage by outlining the specific procedures that will ensure threats are identified and destroyed quickly. 

Common elements of an incident response plan include: 

  • Identification of response team members, as well as each member’s role and related responsibilities
  • A robust business continuity plan that considers multiple scenarios
  • A catalog of the resources necessary to execute the plan, including staff, vendors, hardware, and software
  • Detailed network and data recovery processes 
  • An outline of required communications: internal alerts, regulatory reports, customer notifications, and press statements 

An incident response plan, therefore, offers a step-by-step process for restoring the business to full function as soon as possible. 

3 Reasons You Need an Incident Response Plan 

The consequences of a mismanaged incident are grave. Companies who fall victim to cybercrime experience repercussions that can last years. The top three reasons you need an incident response plan are: 

  • Protecting data
  • Preserving your reputation
  • Preventing revenue loss

When the approach to incident response is improvised in the heat of the moment, it’s simply not effective. You may lack the staffing, tools, and resources necessary for containing and eliminating the threat. As a result, recovery occurs by degrees, and it takes far longer than it would with a comprehensive incident response plan in place. 

Worse still, many organizations discover that damage could have been prevented altogether if there had been a disciplined approach to the incident response that included thorough preparation and a process for identifying and containing threats early. Protecting data, preserving your reputation, and preventing revenue loss are the three biggest reasons you need an incident response plan. 

What Are the Four Major Stages of Incident Response?  

Incident response professionals break incident response into four distinct stages, each of which is critically important to the success of the program. The stages are: 

1. Preparation

Without a deep understanding of your infrastructure’s strengths, capabilities, and vulnerabilities, it is not possible to prevent cyberattacks, identify breaches, and resolve incidents quickly and efficiently. The preparation phase includes a complete inventory of existing assets, whether and how they are currently protected, and an action plan to address any existing vulnerabilities. 

This phase also offers an opportunity to create incident response steps for detecting, eliminating, and recovering from cyberattacks. 

2. Detection and Analysis 

The incident response plan sets up a structured process for detecting suspicious activity. During the detection and analysis phase, that portion of the plan guides specific incident response team members in monitoring assets, examining anomalies, and analyzing data to determine whether the threat is valid—and if so, what sort of threat it is. Knowing the type of threat guides phase three: Containment, Eradication, and Recovery. 

3. Containment, Eradication, and Recovery

The goal of an incident response plan is to minimize risk—and to prevent damage to the extent possible when an attack occurs. During this phase, the threat is contained to prevent further spread, and then it is eradicated altogether. Finally, systems and data are restored quickly to ensure smooth business operations. 

4. Post-Incident Activity 

The final phase is where learning occurs, and it leads back to the preparation phase in a full circle. Once recovery is complete, incident response team members determine the root cause of the incident, evaluate the incident response plan’s effectiveness, and make any adjustments that will improve the process when future incidents occur.

How To Get Started with Creating an Incident Response Plan

If you don’t already have incident response expertise on staff, don’t worry. You are not alone. Many companies find that their current IT professionals lack the specialized skill set required to develop customized incident response steps for their particular business. 

Locus has expertise and experience in supporting clients for the recruitment and IT staffing of security professionals across professional services, managed services, support, and architecture, as well as overall company risk management and exposure. Visit Locus online or call to schedule a consultation today.