How to Prepare a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan 

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A cybersecurity incident response plan is essential for your organization to be able to respond to security incidents in an efficient and quick matter. Having a comprehensive plan will help to minimize damages and mitigate the risks and impacts in case of a security incident. 

A good cybersecurity incident response plan covers all steps that are required to identify and react to security breaches and incidents, determine the risk, and provide the necessary steps to ensure a thorough and rapid response. Having a step-by-step plan will make your response more efficient and faster and help you avoid mistakes that could damage the company, brand, and customers. 

Read on to find out all the necessary steps you need to include in a cybersecurity incident response plan. 

Understand the methodology of your incident response 

Layout a methodology that is compliant with the industry standards so that sell-senior staff members and new hires can easily understand the process. Include the key stages such as: 

  • Containment – if during the identification stage occurs that an incident has happened or is about to, containment must be included to isolate the incident from causing wider damage and minimize the spread of the incident. 
  • Preservation – gathering all the details of the security breach for future analysis of intention, impact, and origin. 
  • Eradication – deleting the infected files or restoring the system to the normal operational state. 
  • Recovery – returning the systems back to normal.
  • Follow-up – post-incidence analysis to document what exactly happened and when.

Consider the stakeholders

Understanding who will be involved in the incident response is crucial. This can include various departments – from legal to HR, IT to security, or the executive sponsors, and they all play different roles. You need to consider who has the authority to stop work and who has the power to make the most important decisions in order to stop the attack. 

Mark responsibilities and organizational roles

You need to answer the questions about who launches the incident response plan and who is the incident commander. Having a clear understanding of organizational roles and responsibilities is key to having an adequate reaction in case of a security incident. 

Include contact information for each involved party 

Make sure to include all the necessary contact information for all stakeholders, both primary and secondary, in your incident response plan. This way you will limit the possibility for failure.

Know how you will work the incident

Ensure that you will have an understanding of how you will work throughout the incident. What systems will you be using to preserve the information and what information will you collect during the incident? Do you have backup lines for communication and are they encrypted? How you will make calls or emails if your data center is compromised? 

Understand what defines an incident 

Have a clear understanding of what defines an incident and what kind of different incidents could occur. After you have answered this, you can know when to launch the incident response plan. 

Define the severity of an incident

You need to have criteria set on what defines the severity of an incident – is it low, medium, high, or critical. Depending on the level of severity, you need to have a targeted response for each. 

Set the workflow between different stakeholders

Define when different stakeholders are involved – such as when is the IT involved, when is the HR involved, and when the authorities need to be involved. 

Following these steps will fill the gaps in your cybersecurity incident response plan, simplify the process and ensure that in case of an incident, you can react efficiently and faster to reduce the impact on your organization.