Incident Response (IR) describes an organization’s security policies and procedures to protect and handle itself against cyberattacks and data breaches. IR’s goal is to manage these breaches and limit damage, recovery time, and costs while maintaining the brand reputation. Every organization should have an IR plan that defines how to deal with such situations through a transparent process. It should also specify the employees, leaders, or teams working together on this IR plan.

Steps to Follow for an Effective Incident Response

The first step is to prepare your organization in case of an inevitable security breach. In preparation, your company must determine the team responding to unavoidable incidents. It should also include policies, response strategy, way of communication, documentation, tools, access control, and the Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) members’ names.

Identification describes the way incidents are determined or detected. It should respond quickly to attacks to reduce costs and damages. Such cyberattacks are identified by going through event log files, error messages, monitoring tools and access, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems to detect and determine the scope of the incident.

After identifying the incident, the next step is to contain it. Containment refers to preventing further damage from occurring. Advancing to this phase should be done as quickly as possible through short-term and long-term containment plans and system backup.

Eradication involves removing the threat and restoring impacted processes or systems to their ideal state while keeping the data loss minimal. It also includes removing malicious content from the affected systems completely.

Recovery includes testing, monitoring, and validating affected systems to verify they aren’t infected or compromised again. This Incident Response phase also includes deciding on the time and date to:

  • Restore Processes
  • Testing and validating affected systems
  • Continuous monitoring to detect abnormal patterns
  • Using tools throughout this process

Lessons Learned
Lessons learned is the most critical step of the IR framework as it educates about existing problems and ways to improve future IR efforts. This step enables an organization to monitor and update its existing IR framework while providing thorough documentation of incidents that occurred for future reference.