Common mistakes in cyber incident response planning

A cyber incident response plan is a key element of business security. Having the right measures in place ensures minimal disruption to your business in case of data breaches, cyber-attacks, and other security risks.

But even the most prepared businesses can fall prey to common mistakes. We have outlined three common mistakes in cyber incident response planning that can hinder response efforts, and how you can avoid them.

1. Failing to test backups

One surefire way to defend your organisation against ransomware attacks is to regularly back up data. But you must also test and review these backups to ensure they work as intended. If not, your business can still suffer the effects of data breaches despite your efforts. 

If you have cloud backups, test download and restore times to ensure they meet your needs. It’s also important to check that incident response is covered in your contracts with cloud providers. This adds extra protection against issues like being unable to access forensic images of servers, emails, and other remote assets. 

In cases of targeted attacks with deep malware infections, you will need to restore complete backups of the operating system. Test the restore speed of full system backups frequently to ensure quick recovery when you need it. 


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2. Not having an incident response retainer

Choosing to use an incident response retainer is a practical decision every business must consider. For some companies, recurring expense is not financially feasible. However, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved with not using a retainer. 

Firstly, organisations that don’t use an incident response retainer will have to contact multiple security firms during an incident to find one with availability. Cybersecurity firms are in high demand and most will prioritise retainer customers. When a firm with availability has been found, onboarding and preparation will have to happen while the incident is still ongoing and before any action can be taken.

Secondly, without an established service level agreement, you may have to pay a substantially higher hourly rate for incident response services. 

Businesses with an incident response retainer are assured of a high standard of service and can act fast in times of need, without having to shop around for the right provider and wait in line. This ensures your business can move on swiftly and minimise the consequences of cyber-attacks. 

3. No clear chain of command

Part of cyber incident response planning is setting up an internal response team. But many organisations make the mistake of not designating a person to lead the charge. As a result, the speed of response can falter as people are uncertain of their roles and decision-making capacity. 

To mitigate this risk, set up an incident response team with the right person who you trust to make major decisions during a breach or crisis. Choose a strong leader to oversee the team and ensure each member has clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Allow this team to operate with ultimate authority to respond to incidents as needed, without having to escalate to management and use up precious time. 

Be prepared with the right cybersecurity support


Having the right incident response plan in place can turn a data breach into a minor inconvenience instead of a serious threat to your business. 

We can help you enhance your incident response plan with our cybersecurity as a service membership. Manage your business with peace of mind while our team offers 24/7 monitoring and incident response in times of crisis.



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