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Build An Effective Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan

Data breaches are no longer a question of “when”, but “if”. Thus, every business must have an effective cybersecurity incident response plan.

A cybersecurity incident response is the set of methods an organization uses in handling a cyberattack. An attack may result in huge financial and reputational damages. Thus, a cybersecurity incident response plan aims to reduce such damages and recover as quickly as possible. 


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Moreover, an investigation is a crucial aspect of the plan. It helps you to learn from the attack and better prepare for the future. As mentioned, data breaches are inevitable. You’ll experience it one way or another. However, a well-developed cybersecurity incident response plan is the best way to protect your company. 

Listed below are the key steps to create an effective cybersecurity incident response plan:

Determine key stakeholders 

It’s not just the security team’s responsibility to plan for a potential incident. It is likely that an incident will impact almost every department in an organization. Before huddling up to plan, identify first who must be involved. This often includes members of the senior management, legal, IT, security, and public relations. 

Identify critical assets

Identify your organization’s highest priority assets. Doing so will help you determine a protection strategy. Furthermore, it will be much easier to determine the scope and impact of an attack.

Run tabletop exercises

Practice makes perfect, especially in incident response. Indeed, it is difficult to fully replicate the intense pressure brought by a breach. However, practice sessions ensure a more effective and tightly coordinate response when a real situation happens. 

Moreover, it is not enough to run technical tabletop exercises. Run broader exercises that include various business stakeholders.

Deploy protection tools

There is an old saying that goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Thus, the best way to deal with an incident is to protect against it in the first place. Invest in the appropriate protection tools, such as in endpoint, cloud, and email. 

Ensure maximum visibility

Before an attack, IT security teams must clearly see and understand the scope and impact of an attack. This includes determining entry points of hackers and points of persistence. 

Implement access control

Hackers may use weak access control to infiltrate an organization’s defenses. Ensure that your organization has the proper controls in place to establish access control. 

Invest in investigation tools

Besides protection tools, investigation tools are also a must-have for businesses. These tools will give you the necessary context during an investigation. Some of the most common investigation tools include:

  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR
  • Extended Detection and Response (XDR)

Establish response actions

Detection is only part of the process. Response actions are also crucial in managing the damages. These actions must disrupt and neutralize a hacker. 

Conduct awareness training

Employees are the weakest link in the chain. However, education programs help reduce the risk level. Moreover, it limits the number of alerts security teams need to respond to.

Hire a managed security service

Swift and effective response requires experienced security operators. To ensure this, organizations should consider working with an outside resource.