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Steps to Incident Response Plan

A single vulnerability is all that a hacker needs to sabotage years of the company’s hard work. But what is your incident response plan if something goes wrong?

Incident response is a procedure of appropriately responding to IT threats like cyber-attacks and security breaches. It is a framework for recognizing and retaliating to a service outage or security threat. These threats have cost millions of losses and the most worrisome factor of all – reputation damage. 

Around 86% of organizations have faced at least one cyberattack in the past year.
It encompasses almost any unusual incident on an information system in reputed companies. From identifying suspicious user activity to curbing it from the root, it needs a proper system. 

Here are the steps to initiate an Incident Response Plan, so that the next time something unforeseen happens, you are prepared with “tech shields”. 

Steps to the Incident Response Plan:

Preparation

Every organization should have the tools in case of a system breach. This process comprises monitoring the probes, tracking databases in primary systems, and completing all the audit logs for the server network modules.

This stage is about getting ready for dealing with a cyber-security incident. One has to line up the company policies on sensitive data protection and network security goals with the technology infrastructure. The other has to make sure that all employees are well aware and have a basic level of incident response training in dealing with cyber-breach. Everyone also has to be familiar with their responsibilities.

Detecting critical assets and leading incident response testing form an essential part of this phase. An external auditor can evaluate your organizational breach.

Identification

The later phase of incident response is recognizing the definite incident and inspecting the areas of the affected system. The process contains suspicious entries in network accounting, excessive login attempts, unidentified new user accounts, and unexpected new files.

In case of a breach, one should focus on finding answers to these questions:

  1. Who revealed the breach?
  2. What is the level of the breach?
  3. Is it affecting processes?
  4. What could be the source of the negotiation?

It is also significant to keep all the records in this step. 

Containment

The next stage is to contain the issue. The idea here is to minimize the possibility and magnitude of the problem. There are two steps involved in this procedure:

1. Protecting and maintaining critical computing resources.

2. Determining the operational status of the infected network.

There are three ways for determining the active status of the infected system:

1. Disconnecting the system from the network and allowing it to continue the stand-alone operations.

2. Shutting down the system directly.

3. Continuing the system to run on the network and monitoring the actions.

These are the initial steps to contain the issue before going to the next phase.

Investigation

This step is to identify the actual issue in the network. A methodical analysis needs a bit-stream copy of the drive, external storage, real-time memory, network device logs, system logs, application logs, and additional backup information.

An external threat may need law enforcement involvement so it is significant to maintain the documentation during the investigation process.

Eradication

Eradication is all about removing the issue from the network. This phase arises after all external and internal actions are accomplished. There are two stages involved in the process of eradication – Cleanup and Notification. Cleanup contains running antivirus software, removing the infected software, changing the complete hard drive, and rebuilding the network. Notification comprises appropriate personnel that is the incident response team manager in the reporting chain. 

Recovery

This is the phase where an organization returns to regularity. There are two stages involved in recovery:

1. Service restoration that involves the implementation of a corporate contingency plan.

2. Network validation and certifying the system.

Follow-Up

This phase ensures that the process is adequate, operative, and complete. This process can help the organization keep its valued and private information safe.

Final Words

Companies should take this planning process seriously. The best example of dealing with issues like cyber-attacks is by following the above steps. Laying this groundwork will make sure your information is safe and secure. It will also mitigate risks and prepare you for what’s coming.

Today, incident response is an important part of a mature security team. It’s the precaution that assists in later damage control. As it is a critical procedure, it takes time and effort. The preparedness for a crisis helps in the betterment of the organization. By having a plan of action, you will be able to get the best out of your company’s operations.

Happy Reading!

For more such updates and perspectives around Digital Innovation, IoT, Data Infrastructure, AI & Cybersecurity, go to AI-Techpark.com.

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