How To Create A Security Incident Response Plan For Your Business

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With the ever expanding risk of businesses experiencing a security data breach, the importance of having a security incident response plan becomes an obvious point yet many businesses still don’t have one. Here we are going to outline the key aspects of creating a solid security incident response plan that every business must do today.

Form An Incident Response Team

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The first step in creating an Incident Response Plan is to actually have a team that is tasked with the job of analyzing the types of security issues that are out there, the probability of your business being affected by them, and the type of responses that will be required for each one.

Depending on how large your organization is the team should minimally consist of the IT department, various top executives, the public relations department, legal counsel, and various external partners. This team of people will be responsible for not only formulating the Incident Response Plan but also being the key players at the first sign of a security breach as well as documenting every detail of the incident from start to finish.

Analyze The Threats

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Once your Incident Response Team has defined, named, and assigned roles to everyone on the team, the first order of business is to analyze all the possible security threats to the organization. Doing this requires thorough research on not only common security threats but also all newly discovered threats world-wide.

It is important that this team always be scouring the technology news for information on any new types of breaches and cyber-attacks that might be imminent and applicable to your company. This is also a step that might require the hiring of a security firm to scan your organization for its current vulnerabilities and to help the team secure them.

Create Guidelines For Different Scenarios

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Once the team has identified the most probable security threats that could affect your business, then it’s time to take each threat one at a time and create guidelines for each scenario. This means not only determining how to mitigate the possibility of such a security threat from happening but also how to respond should the threat actually become an actual security breach.

The plan needs to be written out in detailed and crystal clear language so that everyone in the organization knows exactly what to do once a security incident has been discovered. Doing this will help to minimize the damage and downtime to the company’s assets and operations and stop the breach as quickly as possible.

Also, having detailed guidelines and following those guidelines during an incident can help forensic analysts find the source of the breach by getting as much evidence as possible before it disappears from the system. Quick and decisive responses from your organization can reduce the financial and operational impact on the business as well as help to identify the culprit who initiated the incident.

Create A Plan For External Communications

Radios in a fire truck

When a security breach has occurred it’s of utmost importance to not only inform those within the organization to take action but also to inform external authorities of the incident. Alerting law enforcement, key stakeholders, and external security contractors is something that should be done immediately.

Also, depending on the size and type of your organization, it may be necessary to alert news organizations and local clients that a security breach has happened and give them details on how the breach is being handled. This one thing can go a long way in protecting your company’s reputation and calming any fears that clients and stakeholders might have regarding their connection with your business.

Inform Your Employees Of The Plan

Soaking up the information

A plan is only as good as its execution and if your employees are unaware or uneducated on what the security incident response should be even the best plans will fail. Once your company has created guidelines and response plans for all the various security threats then it’s time to educate your employees on what the proper responses are and what their roles are in these plans.

Everyone in the organization must be aware of the fact that all employees have a key role in any incident response plan and that their quick reactions to any breaches can not only prevent damage to the company assets but also to their jobs. Many employees mistakenly feel that only the executives and IT department are responsible for responding to a security breach. However, all employees need to know that they do have a responsibility for responding quickly and it’s your duty to educate them on what those responses should be in any given scenario.

Practice Your Plan

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Then once the security incident plans are completed and all employees are educated on their part in the response plan, it’s time for everyone to practice. The time to practice a incident response plan is not when an security breach is actually happening. Doing that is just asking for problems. The best time to find out if there are any flaws in the response plan is before there are any actual security incidents.

Every business should have regular, unannounced security incident response drills where different security incident scenarios are practiced. Doing this will help to identify any weak or missing links in the response plan as well as reveal any team members who need more training in regards to their roles during an incident. A company that is constantly seeking better or more efficient responses to security breaches will be the company that manages to mitigate and/or reduce any damages to their assets.

Learn From The Past And Revise The Plan

Past and Future

Lastly, the final step in creating a security incident response plan is to learn from the past and constantly keep revising the plan. Inevitably, most businesses will have some sort of security breach or incident occur at some point in their history and they will be forced to activate their security incident plan. Once the incident is under control and business is back to normal, the incident response team’s job is to review all documentation and identify what worked, what didn’t, and what can be improved or added to the plan.

Learning from past incidents is what makes an incident response plan more effective. It’s easy to come up with ‘what-if’ scenarios and detailed hypothetical responses. However, scenarios and responses that are based on actual past incidents help to create tighter, more efficient, and effective plans that continuously reduce the chances of financial loss, business downtime, and re-occurrence.

Creating a solid security incident response plan for your business is probably the single-most important step you can take towards making sure your business is allowed to function with minimal interruptions and loss of income. Planning ahead is always better than coming from a place of reaction. Today is the best time to begin to create a solid incident response plan for your business. Don’t wait another minute.

Security breaches can be scary and frustrating, but there are experts that can help you secure your business infrastructure. If your business has fallen victim to a security breach or you would just like more information on how to secure your business from possible cyber attacks, contact our team of experts at Data One Networks.

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