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3 Must-Haves in Your Cybersecurity Incident Response

Cyber threats are becoming increasingly more common and challenging to deal with. In fact, more than two-thirds of companies answering Deloitte’s recent survey experienced between 1 and 10 data breaches and other security incidents in 2021.

If your organization does get attacked, you need to be prepared.

How can you best minimize harm and recover from a cybersecurity incident without further harming your business performance and reputation?

A comprehensive cybersecurity incident response must include these 3 aspects:

  1. Detection and analysis
  2. Containment and remediation
  3. Disaster recovery and impact mitigation

1. Detection and Analysis

When responding to cybersecurity incidents, time is of the essence. The sooner you can detect and analyze an incident, the better chance you have of minimizing damage to your organization. To do this effectively, you need a few key things in place:

Robust Detection and Analysis Capabilities

The first step in responding to a security incident is finding out that one has occurred in the first place. This requires robust detection capabilities, so you can catch any breach as soon as possible. But it’s not enough to just detect an incident – you also need to be able to analyze the nature and scope of the underlying threat quickly and effectively.

Comprehensive View of IT Infrastructure

To properly respond to a security incident, you need to have a comprehensive view of your entire IT infrastructure. This way, you can detect threats regardless of what part of your system they originate in and understand the full extent of the damage they may have caused.

Pattern Recognition Across Multiple Security Alerts

When analyzing a security incident, you have to consider not just the alert itself, but also any other incidents that might be connected to it. This way, you can trace back other actions taken by the attacker. Once you can piece together a complete picture of the attack vector you can consider the best route to eradicate it.

2. Containment and Remediation

Once you discover the source of an attack and establish which areas of your system have been compromised, you need to contain and eradicate the threat vector.

Since not all threats can be removed instantly, you have to start by protecting the most essential assets first. Your cybersecurity program should include a comprehensive risk assessment to establish a priority list of all elements comprising your IT infrastructure. You can then triage containment efforts in reference to your company’s risk tolerance while dealing with an active attack. 

To minimize harm to your company, you should design a set of clear guidelines for remediation and associated tasks. Ensure that your cybersecurity team knows what steps to follow before they have to handle any active threats. Once an active cyber incident occurs, you want to remove unnecessary steps and save time and effort for the actual containment and remediation effort.

Guide your team through the steps required to handle common types of malware and attack vectors. While cyber threats are unpredictable, you can minimize the harm they cause by preparing for any likely scenarios.

3. Disaster Recovery and Mitigation of Business Impacts

Even once an attack vector is eradicated, your organization has to deal with its effects on your systems and associated business impact.

Given the growing prevalence of ransomware, you should have comprehensive and regular backups of your company data. By maintaining backup copies of your business assets, you can protect essential information from being taken hostage and recover anything that could have been lost to a breach.

Plan for minimizing downtime to any parts of your system. Determine the proper steps required to return any affected services back online and avoid further financial losses.

Once all the technical aspects of disaster recovery are taken care of, your organization has to handle any consequences to the business as a whole.

First, ensure that your organization complies with any relevant federal and state requirements for reporting on a cyber incident in your jurisdiction. Depending on the nature of your business and the scope of attack, you may need to formally report the extent of the breach to relevant authorities.

Second, you may have to make a number of statements to both internal and external stakeholders. Cybersecurity does not exist in a vacuum, so consider which parties have been affected by the attack and what needs to be communicated to them. Relevant stakeholders may include:

  • Employees
  • Executives
  • Customers
  • Partners
  • Board of directors
  • Shareholders

By taking responsibility for the breach and announcing the steps your organization will be taking to prevent such attacks from affecting the business in the future, you can begin to repair your organization’s reputation with customers, partners, and the general public.

Final Thoughts

The stakes for enterprises dealing with threats are very high. After all, cybersecurity failure is listed as one of the top global risks in the World Economic Forum’s 2022 report. While you cannot guarantee that your organization can avoid every threat, if you are adequately prepared the impact on your business can be less severe.

Move away from a reactive cybersecurity approach and instead begin proactively preparing for a security breach well before one happens.

You can start by conducting a comprehensive risk assessment and craft an incident response strategy based on the resulting risk profile. If you’d like expert assistance on establishing an incident response plan or handling your threat containment and remediation efforts, Pareto Cyber has a team of security experts ready to help.