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What Is Incident Response Plan In Cyber Security?

What Is Incident Response Plan In Cyber Security? We are going to answer this question in this article, so stay put.

What Is Incident Response Plan In Cyber Security

A set of instructions to assist IT personnel in detecting, responding to, and recovering from network security incidents is known as an incident response plan. Cybercrime, data loss, and service outages pose a threat to daily work, so these plans address them.

For all significant incidents, a sufficient incident response plan provides a plan of action. Some incidents result in massive data or network breaches that can have an effect on your business for days or even months. Your company needs a comprehensive, in-depth incident response plan in the event of a significant disruption in order to assist IT staff in quickly stopping, containing, and controlling the incident.


Why a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan Is Essential for Every Business

In the past years, ransomware attacks have attracted attention because they have affected businesses in every sector. It really doesn’t matter if you have a small business or a large one; the question is more about “when.” Furthermore, no data processing or storage facility is too small or insecure to be compromised.

In case of a breach, you will suffer in different ways if you do not have a comprehensive CSIRP (Cyber security incident response planning) in place: Your management team and security team will first have to work quickly to comprehend and respond. They will be prone to costly errors if they do not have a plan.

You may be legally required to notify not only those affected but also government agencies or other organizations, depending on the type of information exposed and the scope of the breach. If you do not have a CSIRP, there will be a lot of chances that you will miss steps and face additional fines or legal action.

Second, if your company suffers a significant security breach, you will need to undergo an external audit or investigation. Auditors will be able to tell that you are not taking the possibility of a data breach seriously if you don’t have recorded evidence of a CSIRP.

Additionally, an incident response plan is required by some data privacy regulations, such as the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). Therefore, you will be in violation of the CCPA if you do not have a CSIRP in place.

A CSIRP is also required by some industry-led security frameworks for businesses to be in place. For instance, you would not pass the audit if you were pursuing ISO 27001 certification but did not have a CSIRP in place. An information security incident response plan is required by ISO 27001’s Annex A. Therefore, in order to obtain ISO 27001 certification, you must have a CISPR in place unless you can demonstrate to your auditor that your company does not require one.

In the end, regardless of your company’s size, industry, or stage of growth, you should have a cyber incident response plan in place to keep your business safe and assist it in effectively recovering from a security incident.


Template for an Incident Response Plan?

A comprehensive checklist of the roles and responsibilities of an incident response team in the event of a security incident is included in an incident response plan template. Additionally, it explains the steps necessary to recognize a security incident, comprehend its impact, and mitigate its effects.

The incident response plan template offers a general structure that can be customized for a particular company. By adapting a preexisting template to your policies and organizational structure, you can save time.

Most templates for incident response plans have elements that are similar and follow a standard structure. The following elements which must all be included in the incident response plan, are covered by the majority of incident response programs.


Scope and Purpose: Determining an incident response strategy’s ultimate objectives which should include specific recovery objectives, will help you focus on addressing imminent threats more effectively. This may include specific declarations regarding the program’s scope and limitations. For instance, if you have multiple offices, your incident response plan may only address a single location, while other plans may address multiple locations.


Threat Scenarios: In order to deal with significant threats, numerous incident response plans are frequently developed by organizations. Even though this level of detail can be helpful, having a single document that can be referred to in an emergency makes it more likely that the person who is responding to the incident will take the appropriate action.

The best strategy is to develop a single master plan and look at supporting documents that take critical scenarios into special consideration. A separate incident response plan and procedure might be necessary in the following scenarios:

  • Zero-day attack on critical systems
  • Data communication loss as a result of attacks on IT networks
  • Data loss as a result of ransomware, malware, or theft
  • Intellectual property loss


Roles and Responsibilities

If your network is the target of a cyberattack, it needs to be crystal clear who will implement the response plan. Teams will be able to work more quickly and confidently during an attack if they know ahead of time the key roles of the response team and practice the incident response procedure.

To reduce confusion about who does what, the individuals in charge of carrying out the incident response should be listed in the incident response plan template with their title and contact information.

READ: How to Educate Students on Internet Safety

When confronted with an active cyber threat, the team should adhere to the actual sequence of events. Keep in mind that the procedure won’t work in every situation, so it should be flexible enough to let teams choose which steps are best for the threat at hand.

The plan should be reviewed at least quarterly to incorporate new threats and lessons learned from actual incidents.


How often should your incident response plan be reviewed?

At least, you should look over your security incident response plan once a year to make sure that your company’s security measures are working as intended, that they are in line with best practices in the industry, and that they keep up with how quickly technology changes. However, in response to alterations, your incident response procedure must adapt, including:

  • Complying with new applicable regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR);
  • Adopting new technologies;
  • Changing the structure of internal teams involved in security matters;
  • New types of threats such as public health crises cause organizations to move toward a distributed workforce;
  • A data breach at the company. When conducting a review of the policies and procedures of your organization, it is essential to ask the following questions:

Are the steps difficult to follow?

Have you begun utilizing brand-new procedures or technologies that have not yet been incorporated into your response strategies?

Will additional employee training be required to ensure that the policies and procedures are implemented correctly?


Checklist for the Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan

Below is a seven-step CSIRP checklist:

  1. To determine the likelihood and severity of risks in key areas, conduct a general risk assessment in the company and verify that your risk assessment is up to date.
  2. Identify key stakeholders and team members.
  3. Define the types of security incidents. Who is in charge of putting your plan into action and what constitutes an incident.
  4. Assets and resources should be listed.
  5. Describe the order in which the information flows.
  6. Make a few different public statements. To lessen the impact of security incidents on your reputation, be sure to prepare the appropriate letters of notification in advance.
  7. Create a log of incidents and events. You can evaluate the efficacy of your response and learn from it by keeping track of all actions taken during and after a cybersecurity incident. Additionally, this account will be of assistance to your legal team and the police both during and after the detection of a threat.


Is it required by PCI DSS to have an incident response plan?

Yes, the steps that businesses must take to implement their incident response plan are outlined in PCI DSS Requirement 12.

Set up alerts from intrusion-detection, intrusion-prevention, and file-integrity monitoring systems and implement a process to update and manage the incident response plan in response to industry and organizational changes.


Phases of Incident Response

There are six phases of Incident Response plan in cyber security

The phases of incident response are:

  1. Preparation: In the end, this phase will be the most crucial for protecting your business and will serve as the backbone of your incident response planning.


  1. Identification: This refers to the actions an organization takes to determine when its systems have been compromised. You will have a better chance of stopping an attack if you are able to spot an intrusion quickly. You can speed up the response effort and minimize damage which will save you time and money even if that is not possible.


  1. Containment: When you first learn of a breach, your first instinct might be to securely delete everything so you can simply get rid of it but that will probably hurt you because you will be destroying important evidence that you need to figure out where the breach started and come up with a plan to stop it from happening again. Instead, keep the breach contained to prevent its spread and further damage to your company. Disconnect the affected devices from the Internet if you can. Prepare both short-term and long-term containment plans. A redundant system backup is also beneficial for restoring business operations. In this case, any compromised data is not permanently lost.


  1. Eradication: A cyber incident response plan’s eradication phase focuses on repairing the flaw that allowed the data breach to occur. Again, the specifics will depend on the kind of incident but at this point, you need to figure out how the information was stolen and how to get rid of the risk.

For instance, if you were infected with malware, you would get rid of the malicious software and isolate the parts of your business that were affected. In the meantime, you would freeze an employee’s account if the attack was caused by a criminal hacker obtaining login credentials.


  1. Recovery: This is the process of reinstalling damaged systems and devices into your company’s infrastructure. It is essential to restart your business operations and systems without fear of a second breach during this time.


  1. Lessons Learned: The review of the incident and the identification of opportunities for improvement constitute the final phase of the cyber incident response plan. Meetings between members of your incident response team should be held to discuss the successes and setbacks of the plan.

Discuss what took place, why it took place, what you did to control the situation, and what could have been done differently at each stage of the process.

This conversation ought to take place between one and two weeks after the security incident which is sufficient time to reflect on the situation in retrospect while still being prompt enough to guarantee that everyone will remember it clearly.

This phase’s objective is not to criticize team members for their mistakes but rather to prevent future inefficiencies. If the procedure failed, it suggests that inadequate staff training, unclear documentation, or appropriate actions were not outlined.

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