Incident response teams depend on receiving timely, accurate information that allows them to respond rapidly in times of threat. For this to be successful, teams require access to accurate, real-time intelligence on any threats in their area of responsibility.
Prioritization criteria must also be clear as well as any known security incidents that should warrant full-fledged responses to be effective in this process.
What is Incident Response Management?
Incident response management refers to the practice of devising and executing an organization’s incident response plan, including activities such as creating policies, playbooks and tools designed for emergency situations that will detect and respond effectively against threats.
At the foundation of incident response management lies preparation, which begins with conducting a risk evaluation to assess existing vulnerabilities and prioritize assets that need protection. With this data in hand, responses for specific threat types may be prioritized accordingly and reconfiguration systems reconfigured accordingly to cover these assets without gaps in coverage.
As part of the detection and identification phase, IT monitoring can detect, evaluate and triage security incidents such as attacks. This involves identifying their source as well as their severity. Next step can be taken to stop an incident from spreading further while restoring control over IT resources.
Effective incident response relies on teams being able to quickly and accurately identify threats. Many organizations opt to partner with cybersecurity vendors that specialize in monitoring and detecting cyber attacks in real-time; this may supplement an internal team, or in some instances even replace it entirely.
Key Elements of Incident Response Management
An incident response management plan serves as a roadmap for responding to security incidents. It includes advance preparation; creating and training an incident response team; policies, processes and playbooks for incident responses; deploying tools and services that assist incident response; as well as deployment tools that assist during these situations.
An effective incident response management plan entails policies and playbooks which define general incident handling priorities as well as procedures and actions necessary for responding to security incidents. Policies typically lay out general, high-level priorities while playbooks offer more in-depth responses.
Organizations should also develop and implement an incident response communication process in order to ensure all team members understand how they can collaborate during an emergency situation. Furthermore, regular security drills or incidents should be held so as to test out these plans and gauge any weaknesses in them.
As threats increase, businesses must invest in incident response management to mitigate damage they cause. A strong incident response plan can minimize business disruption, limit data loss and meet regulatory requirements while strengthening businesses in an environment where cyber attacks are inevitable and attackers increasingly sophisticated. A next-generation security solution such as user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA), network detection and response (NDR), security orchestration automation and response (SOAR), or user entity behavior analytics (UEBA), and can even reduce alert fatigue by automating threat triage, expediting ticketing processes, freeing human resources to focus on more high value tasks – further strengthening businesses against attacks in this complex world of increasing cyber threats and sophisticated attackers!
Why is an Incident Response Plan Important?
An incident response plan is an essential tool in responding to cybersecurity incidents, helping organizations detect and mitigate threats in order to minimize damage to IT infrastructure, business operations and customer data. Furthermore, having one in place allows them to quickly respond and recover from cyberattacks as soon as they occur.
Successful incident response plans must balance a high level of detail with flexibility to address an array of scenarios, which can be accomplished by creating standard playbooks containing step-by-step processes specific to specific incidents. Such playbooks offer greater consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness than using an ad hoc approach when responding to incidents.
An effective incident response plan must also include a section for prioritizing incidents based on their impact to the organization, in order to allocate resources effectively and ensure that critical issues are taken care of first. Communication procedures with internal stakeholders such as human resources teams and law enforcement officials must also be established. Testing processes for affected systems, bringing them back online and announcing closure of an incident should also be established and documented accordingly. Identifying lessons learned from both real and simulated incidents allows organizations to address any vulnerabilities in security controls, policies or procedures that failed during an attack attack and improve them accordingly.
Incident Response Management Best Practices
An effective incident response management plan must also include communication guidelines to assist in response to an incident, which include who to communicate with during such incidents, as well as when and what type of message should be delivered to each group. Being prepared can prevent unnecessary confusion during a critical incident response situation.
Example: Implementing an incident reporting process at executive levels can ensure the necessary actions can be taken, while having standard terms to communicate the severity of an incident to teams can also help. For example, using “severity 1” and “severity 2” helps people understand its importance before receiving more details about it.
Stakeholders should be included on your incident response team, such as external third parties, law enforcement officials and regulatory bodies. A predefined plan to report and communicate with these groups can expedite response time and minimize potential brand damage.
Finally, an effective incident response management process must include regular trainings and tabletop exercises so everyone is clear on the steps they need to take when an attack happens. Technology that automates and streamlines response processes is an ideal way to reduce complexity and speed resolution times.
How incident response works?
Ideal CSIRT teams typically include cybersecurity professionals equipped with the ability to detect and respond to cyber attacks, along with representatives from legal, risk management, human resources and communications who can assess any possible repercussions of an incident for business operations. It would also be advantageous if there was an on-call communications specialist available who can prepare and oversee external responses following any security breaches.
Once a team is assembled, it’s essential that the organization develops and communicates an incident severity level. A numbering system enables team members to assess customer impacts quickly and prioritize fixes quickly; for example, severity 1 incidents typically cause minor inconvenience for users and require pager notifications right away while severity 3 incidents require the team’s availability during business hours.
Your organization must also determine whether its incident response (IR) needs will be managed internally or outsourced to an outside provider. Outsourcing may be especially helpful for smaller organizations that face more serious threats; outsourcing offers numerous incident response services like penetration testing and threat hunting as well as remediation and recovery assistance from service providers.
Incident response technologies
Security teams rely on several tools to detect and respond to incidents, including: Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), which collects log data from applications, infrastructure, network security tools and firewalls; correlation engines which detect patterns indicative of threats; endpoint Detection Response Technology (EDRT), deployed as agents onto laptops, workstations servers and cloud endpoints to detect threats in real-time for real time investigation and response including automatic mitigation such as wiping out infected machines remotely and reimaging.
Organizations need a comprehensive incident response plan and team in place in order to mitigate the impacts of cyber attacks and breaches, but in addition it’s critical that they employ tools which support incident response efforts by automating and streamlining various stages, including alert fatigue reduction, triaging alerts more efficiently, automatically investigating threats as they emerge, as well as faster detection and elimination of malicious activity.
Dependent upon the severity of an attack, organizations may also need to notify law enforcement or other stakeholders such as employees and customers. Therefore, having a team that includes security specialists as well as key individuals from legal, risk management, human resources, business continuity/disaster recovery/public relations and physical security is imperative for managing an incident effectively.
Incident Response Management Q&A
Security teams need to know exactly what their plans will entail in order to plan accordingly and reduce risks, provide clear action plans in an incident situation and learn from past experiences for improved future processes. Therefore, developing and testing an incident response plan should be considered essential. Doing so will reduce business impact risks while providing clear action plans during an incident and allow teams to learn from experiences gained throughout their experiences in improving processes going forward.
Assembling an incident response team should consist of people from various functional areas – for example IT, forensics, human resources and legal. Doing this will ensure your team has all of the expertise needed to remain calm during stressful incidents.
Successful incident response begins by quickly detecting attacks, mitigating their effects and isolating them from further attacks – this will lessen future attacks while making recovering from data breaches easier.
The Detect step includes implementing protective technological solutions and conducting employee security awareness training, reviewing your security strategy for threats that may emerge in the future, responding quickly when incidents do occur, mitigating damage caused by incidents to ensure they don’t spread across infrastructure components, responding quickly when an incident has occurred and eliminating further incidents as quickly as possible while recovering affected systems back to normal operations while identifying improvements that will help to avoid recurrences of similar events and finally Evaluating systems to identify ways of improving them in future incidents.