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An incident response plan delineates what steps need to be taken, and by whom, when a breach or security crisis occurs in an organization. A robust response plan should empower teams to leap into action and mitigate damage as quickly as possible. Emergency responders go through regular training simulations and process checks, so when a situation arises they know how to act almost by muscle memory. Information security teams would be wise to follow their example: When an emergency occurs, you don’t want to waste time figuring out incident response processes and procedures while precious minutes are ticking away. Having a plan in place becomes paramount.
No one enjoys a crisis, but when it comes to incident response it pays to be prepared. Minutes count when a network has been infiltrated or data has been breached, and waiting to figure out processes in the heat of the moment will likely result in confusion, and worse still, slower overall response times to the incident itself.
To prevent this from happening to your organization, your incident response team should have a carefully mapped incident response plan, rehearsed regularly for a variety of possible scenarios with all stakeholders included across a variety of roles. After all, when a security incident occurs, it’s not just technical teams that need to act; non-technical resources—such as legal and communications—as well as outside parties will need to be involved, especially if you partner with a security service provider.
There’s a great deal of groundwork that can be done ahead of time to reduce complexity and risk during an emergency. An incident response plan should include:
The key here is “quick.” If you don’t have the internal expertise or resources to conduct a quick response, or your toolset isn’t giving you the information as quickly as you need it, then you may want to look into external incident response services to help address these gaps and speed up your incident response times. (Make sure to include this external team in any drills you conduct!)
If you need some support with your incident response plan, external providers can help address strategic and tactical gaps by:
It may sound repetitive, but the worst time to prepare for a breach really is after one has occurred. Having a robust incident response plan in place—and ensuring it has been communicated to all stakeholders—is the best way to prepare for this worst-case scenario.