Cyber Incident Response: A Guide to Protecting Your Organisation

Jun 7, 2023 | Cyber Security, IT Support Cambridge

Safeguarding Your Business: Developing a Comprehensive Cyber Incident Response Plan

Cyber incidents are becoming increasingly common and can have a devastating impact on businesses of all sizes. A cyber incident response plan is a vital tool that can help organisations to minimise the impact of a cyber incident and protect their data, systems, staff, revenues and reputation.

Let’s take a look at what your plan should include, and how often you should test it. But before we do so, here’s a list of the most common cyber incidents your business may face:

  • Phishing attacks
  • Malware attacks
  • Data breaches
  • DDoS attacks
  • Ransomware attacks

These threats can have a significant impact on businesses, including financial losses, reputational damage, and legal liability.

It is important for businesses to take steps to protect themselves from these threats by implementing a strong security program, training employees on security best practices, and backing up data regularly.

Why is having a cyber incident response plan important?
There are several reasons why having a cyber incident response plan is a crucial part of any operational plan:

  • To identify and respond to cyber incidents quickly and effectively. A well-defined plan can help organisations to minimise the impact of a cyber incident by ensuring that the right people are notified and that the appropriate steps are taken to contain the incident and restore operations.
  • To reduce the risk of legal liability. In the event of a cyber incident, organisations with a cyber incident response plan in place may be able to reduce the risk of legal liability by demonstrating that they took reasonable steps to protect their data and systems.
  • To improve customer confidence. Customers are increasingly concerned about the security of their data. By having a cyber incident response plan in place, organisations can demonstrate to customers that they are taking steps to protect their data and that they are prepared to respond to a cyber incident in a timely and effective manner.

 

What should your incident plan include?
Your incident plan should include the following:

  • A list of contact information for key personnel, including the incident response team, legal counsel and public relations representatives.
  • A process for identifying and reporting cyber incidents.
  • A process for containing and mitigating the impact of cyber incidents.
  • A process for restoring operations after a cyber incident.
  • A process for learning from cyber incidents and improving your organisation’s security systems and procedures.

 

How often should you test your cyber incident response plan?
You should test your cyber incident response plan on a regular basis to ensure that it is up-to-date and that your team knows what to do in the event of a cyber attack.

You should also test your plan with different scenarios to ensure that it is flexible enough to handle a variety of incidents.

Here are some tips for testing your cyber incident response plan:

  • Conduct tabletop exercises. Tabletop exercises are a low-cost and low-risk way to test your plan. In a tabletop exercise, you will walk through the steps of your plan without actually executing them. This will help you to identify any gaps in your plan and to make sure that your team knows what to do.
  • Conduct full-scale exercises. Full-scale exercises are more expensive and time-consuming than tabletop exercises, but they provide a more realistic test of your plan. In a full-scale exercise, you will actually execute the steps of your plan. This will help you to identify any areas where your plan needs improvement.
  • Involve the right people. The exercise should involve all of the key stakeholders, including the incident response team, management personnel and any team members who are directly involved with cyber operations. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the plan is realistic and achievable.
  • Use realistic scenarios. The exercise should use realistic scenarios that are relevant to your organisation’s business and operations. This will help to ensure that the team is prepared to respond to a real-world incident.
  • Provide feedback. Throughout the exercise, provide feedback to the participants on their performance. This will help them to learn and improve their skills.

 

What should you do once youve conducted testing?
Evaluating your testing process so that you can optimise it for future tests is as important as conducting the tests in the first instance. To ensure that your testing process is efficient and evolves as new threats come into view, your team should:

  1. Conduct a debriefing. After the exercise is complete, gather the participants and facilitators to discuss what went well, what could be improved, and any lessons learned. This is an important opportunity to get feedback from everyone involved and to identify areas where the plan can be improved.
  2. Create a post-action report (PAR). The PAR should document the findings of the debriefing, as well as any other observations or recommendations. The PAR should be shared with all stakeholders, including the incident response team, management, and the board of directors.
  3. Update your incident response plan. Based on the findings of the debriefing and the PAR, update your incident response plan to address any gaps or weaknesses. Make sure that the plan is up-to-date and that it reflects the current state of your organisation’s security posture.

iTEXS is Cyber Essentials Certified and provides secure IT systems for a wide range of clients across multiple sectors. Find out more about our professional cyber security services. Call us today on 01223 834844.

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