4 December 2023
Cyberattacks and breaches are a reality for most businesses, and 48.8% of C-suite and other executives expect the number and size of these events to increase. Cybersecurity incident response is an effective method to curtail — or even prevent — the effects of a cyber incident.
Many believe small and medium businesses are at less risk of these threats. However, 83% of SMBs are financially unprepared for cyberattack recovery, making an incident response plan crucial for small businesses. Getting strategic about cybersecurity in the current threat landscape should shift from being reactive to proactive, and a cybersecurity incident response plan is a significant part of this approach.
A cybersecurity incident response plan outlines the processes and procedures your organization should follow when handling a breach. It gives your team a list of protocols everyone can access, detailing all relevant actions your team should take. It should also list specific procedures to protect customer data and recover systems after your team has identified and mitigated a threat.
Your CIRP should meet three primary criteria:
An effective cybersecurity incident response plan is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Over 60% of small businesses experienced a cyberattack in 2022, and experts predict cybercrime costs will grow 15% annually, reaching $10.5 trillion by 2025. A CIRP could mean the difference between a success and an expensive lesson. Incident response is important because it guides your actions, helps you stay calm, and supports real-time strategic decisions.
Compared to the expense of a cyber breach, an incident response plan is a low-cost option that yields significant benefits. It empowers organizations to maintain more robust cybersecurity. Here are some benefits of an incident response plan.
Your CIRP must be detailed and actionable to ensure you can respond effectively to a cyber incident. Though the process will differ depending on your organization and its needs, here are some fundamental steps you can take.
Your CIRP should align with your overarching cybersecurity policy. Creating your response plan is the perfect time to make or revisit your policy and include specific designations.
A cybersecurity incident affects everyone in your organization, so your response team should include at least one dedicated person from each department. Start with your IT department and assign the responsibility for identifying and containing the source of the attack and instructing other employees to take specific actions.
Depending on your organization's needs, you should designate a human resources professional to handle internal communications and someone from your customer service team to notify and communicate with your clients. Assign roles to public relations and legal professionals if needed.
One of the most critical considerations for your incident response team is that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities so they can act.
In a cyber incident, your teams must know where to prioritize their efforts. Most organizations have two principal focus areas — assets and flaws. The first step is to identify where you are most vulnerable. Human error causes 95% of breaches, so your employees could represent a weak point. Educate them on how to prevent unauthorized access. Outsourcing impartial experts can help you identify gaps in your cybersecurity profile.
Second, identify your critical assets, like customer data or proprietary information. When you have a clear picture of these two areas, your team will know where and how to focus their efforts during a cyber incident.
Even if you have an in-house IT security team, a cyber incident's effects could require external support. A managed service provider with cybersecurity experience and capabilities could be instrumental in auditing and repairing the situation. In addition, they can train your employees in line with your unique business requirements. Conduct thorough research and find a team of trusted experts to elevate your cybersecurity profile and assist with incident response measures when needed.
Having backup resources is also essential so you know you can move all your critical data quickly when needed. Your MSP can help you find the best data backup option and set up automatic backups to help keep your data safe.
Amid a cyber incident, your time will likely have a lot to remember, and a checklist removes the guesswork from this high-stress time. Your response will differ depending on your cybersecurity needs and profile, but example steps could include the following.
A tried-and-tested CIRP is more valuable than a theoretical one. Discuss creating a test environment with your MSP to identify and address weaknesses in your response plan before an incident occurs. The cybersecurity landscape is ever-changing, so updating your CIRP to reflect new threats is also vital. A CIRP is a flexible document — be adaptable when reviewing yours.
Cyber threats constantly evolve, and robust cybersecurity protocols can protect your organization from a cyber incident's cost, downtime, and reputational damage. A cybersecurity incident response plan is one tool, but a preventive approach is critical. Framework IT can help you secure your data, starting with minimum security measures and building from there.
Partnering with us grants you automatic access to off-site storage, on-site backups, security awareness training, and other services designed to strengthen your cybersecurity profile.
Contact us to learn how to get out of the cycle of reactive IT today.