5 Incident Response Best Practices Your Organization Should Consider

Incident Response refers to the processes and policies an organization utilises in response to a cyber incident such as an attack or data breach. The objective of Incident Response is to mitigate the damage of an attack i.e. reduce the recovery time, effort, costs and reputational damage associated with a cyber attack or data breach. Apart from mitigating various consequences of a cyber attack, the process of Incident Response can help organizations prevent future attacks that threaten their information security. 

In our previous blogs, we looked at what is incident response, and effective incident response templates and frameworks. In this blogs, we focus on the best practices.

There are a number of best practices organizations can adopt to get the most out of Incident Response procedures, below are five key examples:

Create an Incident Response plan

One of the best ways to approach Incident Response, is to build a plan. Creating a comprehensive plan can help organizations outline clear procedures for their employees to follow when it comes to detecting, controlling and remediating security incidents when they occur.  Strong IR plans include guidelines for roles and responsibilities, communication plans, and standardized response protocols. These factors help establish a clear procedure for responding to cyber incidents, effectively reducing their negative effects, such as reducing downtime, financial impacts as well as reputational damage.

Create a playbook for common security incidents

Cyber attacks are growing steadily, not only in the number of attacks that occur but also in sophistication and ingenuity. Cyber attacks can have devastating effects on an organization's functionality and well-being. To reduce the impact of common types of security incidents, organizations as part of their Incident Response management can create a playbook of sorts for specific cyber threats and how to mitigate them. What this achieves is that employees can have easy access to educational material that will better prepare them for security incidents in the future, thus reducing their negative effects on day-to-day operations. 

Establish a communication procedure and plan 

Employees play a crucial role in defending organizations from cyber attacks, many organizations who suffer cyber attacks fail to efficiently communicate the presence of a malicious actor to key stakeholders such as their employees. Therefore establishing a procedure for communication with a standardised process for employees to report cyber attacks and coordinate remediation and recovery attempts is critical for mitigating security breaches. Communication plans should make it clear to employees who they need to report suspicious activity to within the organization as well external regulators. Failure to appropriately communicate security breaches can open organizations up to fines and prolonged negative impacts such as downtime and financial losses. 

Keep it clear and simple 

Although Incident Response plans should be comprehensive and detailed, they still need to remain clear and simple for employees to understand. A complex plan can prove to be counterproductive when it comes to managing incident responses effectively. Sometimes instead of coming up with Incident Response strategies by yourself, it may be in your organization’s best interest to hire the help of a managed service provider or to follow Incident Response Frameworks created by either NIST or SANS. 

Learn from security incidents 

After your organization has implemented its incident response plan to deal with a security incident, it is vital that your security team documents all the evidence as well as reflect on how effective the plan was in action. Doing this allows employees to turn crisis events into an organization-wide learning experience. Periodically, the incident response team should perform an analysis of incident response activities and take note of metrics like the number of security incidents per month, the average time to detection, and average time to resolution. Tracking these and other relevant metrics over time can help evaluate the effectiveness of Incident Response within an organization. 

Does your company currently have an incident response plan in place? StickmanCyber's expert team can help review your current cybersecurity setup and set up the right incident response plan to secure your business.

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