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IT Risk Reduction: Creating a Solid Incident Response Plan

The importance of technology in the business sector is unquestionable. It enhances communication within the organization, increases employee engagement, provides unlimited knowledge supply, and streamlines business operations. Businesses also use technology for protection against attacks.

But with integration comes cybersecurity threats that companies and organizations should acknowledge. Such threats and breaches can cost businesses money and time. Or worse, they can cause damage to the business’s reputation. This is where an incident response plan comes in. This plan can guide a company, and its teams in minimizing the damage cybersecurity breaches can do. To help you create a stronger incident response plan, here are some practices to consider.

1. Understand common occurrences

You need to understand what problems you’re expecting before you can plan a proper incident response. Doing so will allow you to plan for the right scenarios and scale your existing strategies. One common cybersecurity concern is unauthorized access, physical or logical, to your data, application, system, or network.

You can also expect intentional disruption in your services caused by an attack that prevents an authorized system or network functionality, known as Denial of Service (DoS). You’d also want to consider the installation of code-based malicious entities on your operating system or network like a trojan horse. Others on the list are suspected PHI breaches, inappropriate or improper usage, and loss of sensitive information.

2. Boost end-user awareness

In an organization’s defense, your weaker point is your end-users. They are the most common victims of tricks like spear phishing and social engineering, which welcomes attacks into your system and network. Not providing passwords to unauthorized personnel is a standard practice in every business or operation. However, on a hectic day, it’s easy to forget the protocols.

Your security team and leaders should find creative and clever ways to ensure that every guideline is in place. Organize planned phishing attacks to practice your teams and its members in responding to a security incident. This is also the perfect time to show them how difficult or easy it is to access a particular system or network. Put it in a contest to see which department is the most competitive when seeing through an attack.

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3. Separate the workstreams

Another crucial aspect to include in an incident response plan is deep mitigation, which you can achieve by maintaining discrete workstreams. You and your team can easily take action or prevent the spread of the technical problem if you isolate the affected areas. Investigations alone can take several hours depending on the area’s size or the incident’s progression rate.

If you’re in a worse situation, it can even take days or weeks. Deep investigations like running dark web searches might be required. This is an effective method to determine if there’s chatter on online forums regarding your company or if any staff sells their access codes to others. You can get more critical details by conducting interviews in the concerned departments and staff.

4. Train and equip your team

An untrained and unequipped team is more likely to be victims of malicious attacks. That is a solid fact, no matter what industry you’re in. Create separate teams from your major incident management department and start training them. Get the best available ITSM courses for your staff. This makes it easier for you to implement quality IT practices that perfectly align with your existing business strategies.

At the same time, your team should be equipped with the right equipment to attend to a crisis wherever they are. Invest in tablets or PDAs with a consistent network. If you lack a capable in-house team to handle the situation, consider obtaining server monitoring and incident response services. Providers of these solutions are experts in the field. They can provide guaranteed support for your infrastructure and even streamline technical support requirements.

5. Prioritize internal communication

It’s not a good business practice to silo incident response. Working together as one big team is essential for implementing a better response plan. One way to promote that is by practicing internal communications within your organization. This will not only strengthen the function of your response team members. But it can also save you precious time once an incident escalates. Everyone must know their alternates or counterparts in the IT teams whom they can contact during security incidents. You should also identify the right people to contact outside your organization in case of emergencies.

Remember that every cyberattack is different, which means that there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy as well. Your incident response plan should be focused on detailed, flexible, and actionable steps that can help you manage the changing threats. From identification, containment, eradication, to recovery, your incident response plan should outline it all.

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