What is Incident Response
The term “incidental response” refers to the process by which an organization responds to a data breach or cyberattack, including the manner in which the organization attempts to manage the incident’s consequences. The ultimate goal is to manage the incident effectively, limiting damage and minimizing recovery time and costs, as well as collateral damage such as brand reputation.
At the very least, organizations should have a well-defined incident response strategy. This plan should define what constitutes an incident in the context of the business and outline a clear, guided procedure to follow in the event of an incident. Additionally, it is prudent to specify the teams, employees, or leaders responsible for managing the overall incident response initiative as well as those tasked with carrying out the incident response plan’s specific actions.
Who Responds to Incidents?
Typically, an organization’s computer incident response team (CIRT), also called a cyber incident response team, is responsible for incident response. CIRTs are typically composed of members of the security and general information technology departments, as well as representatives from the legal, human resources, and public relations departments. A CIRT, as defined by Gartner, is a group that is “charged with responding to security breaches, viruses, and other potentially catastrophic incidents in enterprises that face significant security risks.” Along with technical experts capable of dealing with specific threats, it should include experts who can advise enterprise executives on how to communicate appropriately in the aftermath of such incidents.”
Steps you Can Take Towards a Success Response
Preparation – The first and most critical stage of incident response is preparing for an inescapable security breach. Preparation enables organizations to assess their CIRT’s ability to respond effectively to an incident and should include a policy, a response plan/strategy, communication, documentation, establishing the CIRT’s membership, access control, tools, and training.
Identification – Identification is the process by which incidents are discovered, ideally quickly enough to allow for rapid response and thus reduce costs and damages. IT staff gathers events from log files, monitoring tools, error messages, intrusion detection systems, and firewalls during this step of effective incident response to detect and determine the scope of incidents.
Containment – Once an incident has been detected or identified, it is critical to contain it. Containment’s primary objective is to contain the damage and prevent it from spreading (as noted in step number two, the earlier incidents are detected, the sooner they can be contained to minimize damage). It is critical to note that all of SANS’ recommended containment phase procedures should be followed, particularly to “avoid the destruction of any evidence that may be required for prosecution later.” Short-term containment, system backup, and long-term containment are all included in this process.
Eradication – The eradication phase of an effective incident response entails removing the threat and restoring affected systems to their previous state, ideally with minimal data loss. Assuring that all necessary steps have been taken up to this point, including measures that not only remove malicious content but also completely clean the affected systems, are the primary actions associated with eradication.
Recovery – The primary tasks associated with this stage of incident response are testing, monitoring, and validating systems while they are returned to production in order to ensure they are not re-infected or compromised. Additionally, this phase entails decision-making regarding the time and date for restoring operations, testing and verifying compromised systems, monitoring for abnormal behaviors, and utilizing tools for testing, monitoring, and validating system behavior.
Past Experience – The lessons learned phase of incident response is critical because it enables future incident response efforts to be more educated and effective. This step enables organizations to update their incident response plans with information that may have been overlooked during the incident, as well as complete documentation to serve as a reference for future incidents. Lessons learned reports provide a concise summary of the entire incident and may be used in recap meetings, as training materials for new CIRT members, or as comparison points.
Effective incident response requires sufficient preparation and planning. Without a well-defined strategy and action plan, it is frequently impossible to coordinate effective response efforts following a breach or attack. By taking the time to develop a comprehensive incident response plan, your business can save significant time and money by quickly regaining control of its systems and data in the event of an inevitable breach.