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Cybersecurity Framework

Incident Response: A comprehensive guide

What is Incident Response

Incident Response: A Comprehensive Guide

Cyber breaches have been haunting organizations since the beginning of the digital age, ever since organizations started collecting, analyzing, and storing personal data. The exponential rise of cyber crimes is a byproduct of the growth and evolution of organizations with an increased number of users.

So now the question is, “how well prepared are the organizations really?” when it comes to data security and proactive response to such cyber attacks. The largest reported data leakage as per Statista, was in March 2020, the Cam4 data breach which resulted in the exposure of more than 10 billion personal data records. This was a shocker for organizations worldwide and a huge setback for Cam4 due to the sheer amount of monetary, reputational, and operational damage that the breach cost them. This is why proactive planning in the scenario of breach for detection, containment, and recovery is crucial. 

With our guide, we will look into what incident response is and how important it is to implement an incident response plan.

What is Incident Response? why do organizations need it?

Incident response is a proactive comprehensive plan for the breach scenario. It involves all the measures that can be taken to detect, contain, and recover from a data breach. It is a critical component of cyber security since it does the essential job of stopping damage control. In order to mitigate the loss suffered from a data breach, an organization must have a strong Incident Response (IR) in place for a quick response when the events actually occur. These events can be anything from a DDoS attack where the attacker tries to bombard an application with an extremely high amount of traffic or a malware or ransomware attack or simply a social engineering-driven phishing attack. 

What is an Incident Response Plan?

An incident response plan is just like a disaster plan, its main purpose is to reduce damage control at the time of the event of a breach or cyber attack and be prepared to stop the event of a breach from causing fatal loss to the organization. It comprises all the tools and sets of procedures that an organization’s security team needs to identify to search, detect, contain, eliminate, and recover from threats. Incident Response Plans address key cyber threat issues such as cybercrime, data breaches, and service outages that can hinder or cease the ongoing operations of a business. As per the research report by Immersive Labs, over 40% of organizations are not confident in handling a data breach. Adding to this, over 61% believed in having a strong incident response plan in place. 

How do we implement an Incident Response Plan?

The role of incident response doesn’t end after the anticipated incident has occurred, but it is where it restarts. Yes, you have heard it right. Incident Response Plan is a feedback loop with four steps that are continuously implemented for the superlative security of an organization. Let us take a look at the four steps involved in the implementation of the incident response plan. 

Planning and preparation

Planning is the essential stage where the allocation of resources and tools is done. It is where the preparation of the course of action and response is decided. Here the organization must ensure that their employees are trained and knowledgeable about their response roles in event of a breach. Mock breaches and scenario training are done at this stage. All the software resources, tools, hardware are allocated, and training is done during the preparation stage. 

Detection, analysis, and notification

Once the tools and expertise are set, monitoring and detection of signs of threats and anomalies take place. Here is where experts study and analyze indicators of a suspected incident. False positives are filtered out in this stage. A thorough RCA(Root Cause Analysis) is done. Security analysts categorize incidents based on their effect on an organization’s data integrity and the functioning of its critical processes to gain an idea of how many resources to allocate in case of the recurrence of said event. Important parties both within and in some serious cases, outside the organization, are notified. 

Containment and elimination

This is a stage where the incident response team comes into play. Strategies planned earlier at the preparation stage are deployed here. They take critical courses of action as a response to the threat to contain it and stop it from causing further damage. The team then eliminates the root cause of the breach. Further, patches are deployed here in systems, admin access credentials are hardened and remote access protocols are reviewed. All the evidence is documented and forensics are collected for legal proceedings against the perpetrators. 

Recovery and incident review

Once the changes are implemented from the previous stage, the process of restoring the endpoints to their original state of operation is taken place. All the systems are test run till validation and are made operational such that they are not reinfected again. A detailed review of the incident is done and all the documentation is done at this stage mentioning the date of first incidence, the root cause of the said breach/attack, and courses of action taken, and suggestions for improvement are given here by cybersecurity experts.

Why is it challenging for organizations to effectively execute an incident response plan?

Many organizations are unable to come up with an effective incident response because of many reasons. One of the reasons is the fact that they do not possess the skilled manpower to prepare an incident response plan that can be executed in the event of a cyber threat. 

Skilled security teams are a rare find especially in an industry that deals with data day in and day out. Another reason is that many organizations don’t have the mettle to deal with the expounding volume of cyber threat incidents. This leads to the tendency to ignore even the most potent of alerts due to the sheer amount of volume of incidents. 

One of the most critical reasons why organizations find it extremely challenging to effectively execute the IR plan is because they lack the cutting-edge tools such as MDR (Managed Detection and Response) and SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) that work with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence that uses algorithms to detect threats and anomalies before they actually happen.

SharkStriker’s Incident Response Service

We at SharkStriker help you prepare the most impenetrable defense for your enterprise. We have our very own threat experts and SOC team that is up 24×7 for 365 days for round-the-clock monitoring, detection, analysis, and response to threats. 

We possess some cutting-edge tools such as MDR (Managed Detection and Response) and SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) which work at the core of detection by collecting and analyzing terabytes of data, continuously looking for patterns and anomalies. These human-led tools are so powerful that they notify and alert the concerned experts at the detection of even the minutest of anomalies. 

Our team works in congruence with these AI and ML-driven tools to hunt, get to the root cause of, contain, and eliminate threats. They prepare a detailed report based on comprehensive research to enhance your security. 

Collaborate with us to augment your incidence response to the next level.

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