Get Proactive: Cybersecurity Incident Response Planning

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Protecting information is protecting the survival of your business. A proactive cybersecurity incident response plan is key to your technology strategy and information security planning. So, what is a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan?

What Is Cybersecurity Incident Response?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created a framework for Cybersecurity. The framework includes five primary functions: Protect, Detect, Identify, Respond, and Recover. Your incident response plan is just one piece of your overall information security planning. Without preparing your incident response, every minute during an attack can leave your business and your customers more and more vulnerable.

Why Is Cyber Incident Response Important?

It’s all about information security. As a business, your customers, employees, vendors, and other partners depend on you to have a comprehensive plan to secure their sensitive information. A failure to plan and take a proactive approach to respond to an attack can result in severe consequences. That’s why, for the following reasons, it is important to prepare your incident response.

  • Financial: The hard truth is that most small businesses are unlikely to survive a successful cybersecurity breach. Ransomware alone can spell the end for a business.
  • Reputation: News of a breach will stick to a business for years. It’s hard enough to compete and earn new customers without a reputation damaged by an incident.
  • Data Protection: When your data and your customer data end up in the wrong hands or on the dark web, it will only compound and amplify other negative outcomes.

When you have a good response plan in place, you can minimize damages, get things back up and running more quickly, and give your customers confidence that you’re on top of their information security.

Your Cybersecurity Posture: The Data

Your company’s cybersecurity posture is its readiness to both fend off and react to a cyber attack. Understanding this posture is a vital part of your cybersecurity plan and will depend heavily on the type of data you’re storing, including the following:

  1. Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  2. Level 3+ information: social security numbers, bank account numbers, credit cards, passwords
  3. Customer data, including order data/history, inventory levels
  4. Employee data
  5. Trade secrets and Intellectual Property

Preparing For A Cybersecurity Incident

Once you identify sensitive data that needs to be secured and protected, you can begin preparing your cyber posture. Remember, your risk equals the likelihood of an attack multiplied by the potential impact of a breach (Risk = Likelihood x Impact).

Start by identifying the following. By the way, we make this easier with our Cyberposture Self-Assessment.

  1. Inventory what you have and score its sensitivity.
    1. Infrastructure, applications, data
    2. Severity: if compromised, how bad will it be
    3. Frequency: how likely/frequently is the information targeted
  2. Identify the controls you have in place.
    1. How are you currently protecting the items from step 1
  3. Identify risk and missing or disproportionate controls
  4. Implement or update controls based on risk analysis

Develop Your Incident Response Plan

The NIST framework has four steps to creating your cyber incident response plan.

  1. Preparation: Preparation includes taking the full inventory of the information listed above.
  2. Detection & Analysis: Create the means within your software systems to detect a breach and conduct a situation analysis.
  3. Containment, Eradication, & Recovery: Shut down the attack, and begin recovery efforts to return to normal business operations.
  4. Post-Incident Activity: Identify any loss of data and damages incurred from the attack. Create post-incident documents that include a full description of what happened, what went well, what needs to be improved, and what steps need to be taken to prevent further breaches as well as steps to improve response.

Conclusion

A proactive incident response plan is vital to your company’s survival. Small businesses like yours are especially vulnerable to these nefarious attacks. By implementing a cybersecurity incident response plan, you will protect sensitive data and thereby protect your finances and reputation. Modern software with cybersecurity best practices built into it, along with training and the budget to support these efforts, will keep your business safer from cyber attacks.

Contact us now to review your cyber posture and get started in securing your software.

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