6 Steps For Responding To Security Incidents

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When it comes to security incidents, every second is important because otherwise, they can spread rapidly, causing significant damage and leading to compromised accounts. 

The incident response includes the methods for handling security breaches, incidents, and cyber threats. With a well-structured incident response plan, you can minimize the damage of an attack and fix the cause to prevent future attacks. 

No matter what size your organization is, you need to have an incident response team to take immediate action if an incident occurs. Read on to find out the most important steps that can help to take action fast and respond effectively to security incidents. 

Assemble a team

Having the right people with the right skills is crucial. You should appoint a team leader who will be responsible for responding to the incident. They need to have a direct line of communication with the management to be able to quickly make important decisions. 

For larger organizations and in case of more serious incidents, you need to include other relevant departments such as human resources and corporate communications. This way, you can act fast in case a breach requires public notification. 

Identify and contain the source.

The first job of the incident response team is to identify the breach and to contain the source. The team can know that an incident has occurred from various indicators, such as 

  • Users and administrators within the organization reporting the signs of a security incident
  • Security products alerting for breaches based on the log data
  • Anti-malware programs
  • Logs and file integrity checking software
  • Operating systems.

Contain and recover

Once the incident and its source are detected, you need to contain the damage. This can be achieved by quarantining affected computers, disabling network access, and installing security patches to resolve network vulnerabilities and malware issues. You can also reset passwords for breached accounts and block accounts that might have caused the incident. Your team needs to back up all altered systems to preserve their current state for later analysis. 

Then perform network/system validation to ensure all systems are operational and recertify any compromised components. 

Assess the severity of the damage 

Look at the cause of the incident and evaluate the severity of the incident. It might be difficult to assess the extent of the damage at the beginning. If there has been a malicious insider or a successful outsider attack, consider the incident severe. 

Once the smoke has cleared, review the incident fully and consider whether you need to conduct a cyber attribution investigation. 

Notify the affected parties 

In the case of a data breach where sensitive data has been accessed, used, or stolen by an unauthorized person, you need to notify the public to comply with privacy laws. 

Make sure that you alert the affected particles so that they can take the needed steps to protect themselves from identity theft or other use of personal information. 

Prepare to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Once the incident is under control, analyze how to prevent similar security issues in the future. Fixing any security vulnerabilities and flaws that have been found during the security incident is key. 

Implement needed changes to your security policies and train your staff and employees. In addition, update your security incident response plan to include all the preventative measures that have been taken.