Introduction to Incident Response

Businesses today invest time and effort into building strong cybersecurity defenses, and have systems and processes in place to prevent data breaches. However, despite all that, there are instances where a cyberattack does happen. What should be the course of action now?

In this blog, that is exactly what we discuss. We talk about what is incident response and everything it entails.

What is Incident Response

The term 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 goal 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. 

Key Elements of Incident Response 

Incident Response Plan - Every organization should have an Incident Response or IR plan that helps them identify, contain and eliminate cyberattacks. IR plans outline what constitutes an attack and provides organizations with a clear guide on what steps should be taken if an incident were to occur. 

Incident Response Team - Incident response teams consist of security professionals who are responsible for dealing with cyber attacks or data breaches when they occur. They usually consist of a number of roles including but not limited to the following; Incident response managers, security analysts, IT and security engineers and threat researchers.

Incident Response Tools - organizations use technological tools to detect and even automatically respond to security incidents. The following security tools can be utilised by incident response teams:

  1. Security Information & Event Management (SIEM) - collects data and logs from applications, infrastructure, network security tools, firewalls,etc. Correlates data from these numerous sources, if malicious activity is identified, alerts are generated so that security teams can carry out further investigation.

  2. Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) - deployed as agents on endpoints such as laptops, workstations, servers, and cloud endpoints. Designed to identify any threats on these devices, enable investigation of breaches, and can perform mitigation automatically if needed e.g.  isolating a device from a network or wiping and re-imaging it.
  3. Network Traffic Analysis (NTA) - monitors, logs, and analyses network data and communication patterns, in the hope of identifying any suspicious network traffic . Enables detection and response to security incidents traversing the core network, operational networks, and cloud networks.

Why are Incident Response plans required?

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. According to the 2019 Cost of Data Breach Report from Ponemon Institute and IBM Security, the global cost of data breaches in 2021 is expected to reach $6 trillion annually. 

Organizations who suffer a cyber attack usually are not aware of the presence of a malicious actor until it is too late or security teams within organizations don’t take appropriate action as soon as a threat is identified, either downplaying the severity of the attack or ignoring it entirely. 

Incident Response plans help organizations and their various departments and employees aptly respond to threats. 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. 

Who is responsible for Incident Response?

Organizations should have dedicated teams that are accountable and responsible for responding to cyber incidents when they occur. These teams are commonly referred to as computer security incident response teams (CSIRT), a computer emergency response team (CERT) or cyber incident response team (CIRT). These teams are responsible for enacting your organization’s Incident Response Plan in the event of a cyber attack or data breach. Their key duties include preventing, managing, and responding to security incidents. Which involves gathering threat intelligence, developing policies and procedures, and training end users in cybersecurity best practices.

In our upcoming blogs, we'll dive into incident response templates and best practices as well. 

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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