Cyber Incident Response: Points To Remember While Planning Your Incident Strategy Against Cyber-attacks For Your Organization

This is the time to have a cyber incident response plan in place if your organization does not have one. Creating a cybersecurity incident response will help you safeguard your organization’s information assets in the worst-case scenario of a security breach.

A planned Cyber Incident Response plan has become a vital part of organizations in the modern digital age. If an organization has taken the critical decision to set up a cyber incident response plan, it should consider certain crucial factors. A step-by-step process can help develop a plan that includes all departments of an organization, such as Finance, Production, Marketing, Human Resources, Research & Development, Customer Services, etc. 

Creating A Cyber Incident Response Plan (CIRT)

Cyber incident response requires that any breach be handled quickly and methodically. The response strategy needs to be designed to allow minimum damage and quick recovery at minimum costs.

There are six steps laid out by SANS Institute that can help with an organization’s cyber incident response planning efficiently. However, initial preparation will bring success to the incident response plan.

The first phase is deemed the most important as it determines the readiness and ability to deal with incidents in real-time. Preparedness cannot be understated, and a lack thereof will render all other steps ineffective. Following are some of the points to remember while creating a cybersecurity incident response plan for your organization.

Points To Remember While Planning Incident Strategy

  • Prepare detailed written policies of the organization’s working to help understand the workflow of the day-to-day activities. A detailed report of the system hardware, software installed, and network infrastructure can support the CIRT to be prepared better in case of an incident.
  • A cyber incident response plan prioritizes actions based on the severity of the impact on the organization’s functionality. The senior leadership can determine which incident is a high priority depending on its effects on the production environment. For example, a list of incidents that require action may be helpful for a staff member to know if they should be reported.
  • The team members in the planning committee need to generate a communication plan that points out the personnel to be contacted when an incident occurs. Having the contact numbers and names of the personnel ready reduces the time for the CIRT to respond to an incident quickly.
  • Staff can be trained to take initial steps and be alert to Document the entire incident from the time of detection. A step-by-step record for every action performed can be used for forensics and future reference.
  • Senior leadership needs to consider whether to deploy an in-house or third-party CIRT (Computer Incident Response Team) of specialized members, including attorneys who can effectively tackle the incident. Preparing a list of names of the organization personnel beforehand will be considered significant to be efficient and quick at the moment.
  • System administrators should have prior authorization to grant access to the CIRT with necessary permissions to mitigate the security risks and revoke the same after the incident is taken care of.
  • Hardware and software tools should be made ready and available to handle any incident, along with checklists for actions to be performed and relevant journals for documentation.
  • Regular drills and simulations must be organized to enhance training and readiness of the CIRT and working staff to ensure effectiveness during a cyber incident response.

Final Words

Once initial planning is completed, an organization can proceed to follow SANS Institute‘s detailed planning guidelines that include further steps such as Identification, Containment, Eradication, Recovery, and Lessons Learnt to prepare a complete and effective cyber incident response strategy. 

About Author

Carl Martins has been involved in the IT industry for the last 15 years. He has his own firm in a partnership that develops customized software for schools and institutions. Additionally, his technology reporting interests include information security, information technology, computer security, cybersecurity, etc. Apart from that, he loves teaching, photography, reading, and music.


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