Do You Know How You’ll Respond When A Hacker Gains Access To Your Systems?

No matter how much we try to prevent data breaches, we can’t guarantee they won’t happen. Companies need to protect against every possible attack, while hackers need to find only a single vulnerability they can exploit. Because new weaknesses are always being discovered, and countermeasures always lag the identification of the threat, the advantage always belongs to the hackers.

So while companies need to have a strong information security program to defend against attack, that isn’t the only thing they need to do. It’s also important to have an incident response plan to help calm the panic and reduce the chaos if a security event happens.

An Incident Response Plan Is About Protecting the Business

When a cybersecurity incident occurs, it’s too late to protect the data. You’ll want to take steps to close whatever hole allowed the intruder access, but to use a cliché, that’s locking the barn door after the horses are gone. The goal of an incident response plan isn’t to protect the data but to protect the business by limiting damage, minimizing the time to recover, and ensuring regulators and the public that the situation is under control.

Without an incident response plan, companies often don’t know who is in charge of reacting to the incident. They make mistakes that include denying the event and its seriousness as well as implementing quick-fix solutions that introduce other problems later. When you’ve got an incident response plan, you can clarify who has the right and responsibility for making decisions; smoothly coordinate between IT, communications, legal, and business teams; and make sure the information you provide to third parties is reviewed before release. Ultimately, with a plan you can keep minor incidents from developing into full-scale crises.

Incident Response Best Practices

The first requirement for an incident response is recognizing that an incident has occurred. Most breaches don’t cause sirens to blare and red lights to flash; they result in subtle effects. Make sure everyone in your organization is on the lookout for potential attacks even when the problem they’re working on doesn’t seem to have anything to do with security. End users should be encouraged to contact your security team whenever they receive a suspicious email or have any kind of strange online experience.

Keep track of all reported incidents in a single repository. You can use this information to both assess the exposure of your assets and to guide your response when an attack is repeated a second time.

Plan to contain and remediate an incident. While you may want a quick fix to stop the current problem, don’t resolve the incident until you take a step back and look at the issue more broadly. Take necessary steps to prevent the incident from recurring.

Allocate time and budget for a follow-up investigation. After the immediate issues are resolved, when things have calmed down, take another look and dig deeper into what enabled the incident to occur. Then take steps to prevent that from happening again.

Planning how you’ll respond to a security breach before it happens is essential to ensuring the situation is handled effectively and efficiently. The Prescient Solutions team of IT consultants and managed services professionals works with our Chicago and Schaumburg area clients to provide comprehensive cybersecurity services. Contact us to learn how we can help you prevent or respond to information security incidents.

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