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The importance of Incident Response

27 September 2021

The importance of incident response is such that it can have a massive impact on the life of a business.

A security incident and cyber-attack can cost an organisation time, money, its reputation and, ultimately, its customers. Having an effective incident response function will minimise these negative impacts.

This blog will look at the importance of incident response and how implementing an effective team will help your organisation.

Failure to prepare…

While many threat and risk management solutions help organisations deal with low-level security events with automated responses, having an incident response plan delivered by an experienced team will determine your success in responding to an attack.

The importance of Incident Response

What does Incident Response mean?

Incident response refers to how an organisation plans, and therefore manages a cyber-attack inflicted upon them. Examples of an attack can include: 

  • Denial of service/DDoS attacks
  • Data breaches
  • Malware outbreaks
  • Insider threats
  • Network intrusions

What is an Incident Response Plan?

Unfortunately, not all networks or assets are 100% secure. Therefore, an incident response (IR) plan helps an organisation mitigate risk, contain a threat, and recover from an attack.

According to TechTarget;

“An incident response plan is the set of instructions an incident response team follows when an event occurs. If developed correctly, it should include procedures to detect, respond to and limit the effects of a security incident.”

An effective incident response via implementing a strategic and tactical plan supports an organisation in managing and minimising any nefarious action(s).

Failure to provide a clear, detailed, and guided process can negatively impact an organisation and its assets. A defined incident response plan goes a long way in achieving this.

The plan is typically made up of policies and procedures to enable in-house cyber experts to identify, control and respond to a breach or attack. Furthermore, the plan also includes outlining the specific personnel and teams needed to manage each particular task.

incident response

What is an Incident Response Team?

An Incident Response team refers to the people responsible for implementing an organisation’s IR plan.

An IR team is made up of specialist professionals who prepare for and react to any organisational threat or emergency within a cybersecurity context. This is where the importance of incident response comes into play.

IR teams are charged with preventing, managing, and responding to any cyber breaches or attacks. The team also extends to researching threats, developing and updating effective IRPs, and educating staff on cybersecurity best practices.

Examples of an incident response team are:

  • An outsourced or in-house team within a security operations centre (SOC)
  • In-house experts such as IT or security departments.
  • An external team that acts when an incident occurs.

As stated above, a defined incident response plan will ultimately define the incident response team and its responsibilities.

What are the team roles?

The incident response team may require several roles to ensure that cybersecurity incidents are managed, and all actions are coordinated effectively.

The team roles are not limited to but include:

  • Government and law enforcement.
  • Senior / Executive management.
  • Incident manager.
  • Technical lead/recovery manager.
  • Crisis management, business continuity, disaster recovery.
  • Investigators and analysts, Cybersecurity specialists.
  • IT and infrastructure.
  • Other departments, including legal, Public Relations, HR, and customer services.

An important point to note (albeit an obvious one) is that the IT or team with strong cybersecurity experience must lead an organisations response to an attack. The team should be supported by every other major organisational unit should support (in particular Legal and HR). 

The IR team will undertake the following process:

  • Investigation and analysis.
  • Communications.
  • Training and awareness.
  • Documentation and timeline development.
The key to any successful project is effective communication

How to get the best out of the team?

  • The IR team has one simple aim – to coordinate and align its resources and team members during a cybersecurity incident. By doing so, the team will minimise the impact of an attack and quickly restore an organisation to its daily functions. Cyberattacks are only efficiently dealt with when there is will defined team by getting specific with job titles and assigning each team member a task.
  • The key to any successful project is effective communication. In the context of incident response, it is vital. For example, simple steps such as circulating contact information internally will help staff know who to contact during a security incident.
  • Share important external contacts with staff and understand when, how, and who to contact the team.  

How Sapphire supports organisations with Incident Response

As a cybersecurity provider with over 25 years’ cybersecurity experience across all sectors Sapphire’s incident response service is available 24x7x365 through our managed services

Our incident response team also has access to resources such as:

  • National computer emergency response teams (CERTs).
  • Specialist research resources
  • Law enforcement
  • Intelligence partners.

The importance of incident response can not be understated. As we said before, failure to prepare and prepare to fail.

Want to learn more about Incident Response?

Contact a member of our team today.

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