The critical steps to IT incident response

Cyberattacks are the fastest growing crime in the United States. In 2019 alone, the number of reported data breaches reached 1,400, in which over 164 million sensitive records got exposed. Nowadays, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ your business gets attacked but ‘when.’

To be on the safe side, you need robust cybersecurity solutions and an airtight IT incident response strategy in place. The way your organization responds to an imminent threat could make all the difference in the severity and impact of an incident.

IT incidents are high-pressure situations that require rapid and effective action. Take these critical steps to develop an IT incident response procedure well in advance:

1. Preparation

Appoint an incident response team and dictate guidelines and procedures for incident response management. Basically, create policies that define seamless communications, reactions, and behavior within the organization in the event of an attack. Be sure to prepare the response team through training programs, drill runs, hunting exercises, and by investing in proactive threat detection systems.

2. Detection and reporting

Put in place the appropriate cybersecurity solutions such as monitoring tools and early warning systems to detect and warn against intrusions. The response team should then analyze and classify detected threats in terms of severity and necessary countermeasures. Doing so ensures every potential threat reaching a predefined risk threshold becomes a security priority.

3. Containment and neutralization

This is the most critical stage in IT incident response planning – deciding how to resolve a threat. Every incident calls for different containment and neutralization approaches depending on its nature. The important thing is to have suitable mitigation procedures for different classes of threats. For instance, you might have to temporarily shut down affected systems, wipe infected data, or put up extra defenses to protect sensitive equipment.

4. Recovery

The recovery stage involves restoring systems to normal operations after dealing with an incident. Ideally, set a reasonably short time-to-recovery to avoid unnecessary delays and unwanted downtime. In fact, the entire IT incident response plan should revolve around bringing operations up and running as quickly as possible after an imminent attack. Some recovery activities may include restoring data from trusted backups, reconfiguring server environments, and reconnecting networks and devices.

5. Lessons learned

After handling an IT incident and restoring normal business operations, you have to go back and investigate its cause and the effectiveness of the response mechanism. Make sure the response team and everyone involved document everything, from detection to recovery. There’s a lot you could learn from a comprehensive incident report.

For instance, the gathered information could help you identify security loopholes, find insider threat culprits, expand risk awareness, and reinforce your cybersecurity framework. Use the new insights to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring in the future.

Why do you need an IT incident response plan?

An IR plan is a crucial part of any cybersecurity and disaster preparedness strategy. Responding to an IT incident quickly helps minimize losses and damages, manage risks, and futureproofs the company against recurring incidents. Additionally, businesses enjoy the following benefits by having an elaborate IR strategy:

  • Dependable continuity planning
  • Proactive protection against cyberattacks
  • Solid compliance with data security standards
  • Untainted customer and brand loyalty

Craft your IR plan with professional help

Admittedly, coming up with an effective incident response plan is no easy task. But it’s a breeze when working with a professional managed security partner. There’s a lot that goes into putting together the right response procedures to ensure every possible incident meets its match.

First, you’ll need dependable threat monitoring and alert systems. Second, it takes a powerful cybersecurity infrastructure to contain and mitigate live threats – all of which we can gladly provide. Start drafting your threat response strategy with expert assistance from KME systems today. Reach out to us for more information.

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