Incident response is about making and having a plan before it is necessary to use it. Not limited to an IT only process, it is an essential business function that can allow quick decisions with reliable information. The IRP should involve all teams of the business to minimise loss.
IT incidents can occur to all businesses regardless of size, and all businesses rely on sensitive data that would be damaging if comprised (such as customer records, contracts, pricing, and design information). Security incidents come in many types - here are some examples:
- A disgruntled staff member changing passwords on important databases or accounts.
- Someone accidentally (or deliberately) deleting the whole file share from the server.
- Malware infection on a single machine exposing passwords for corporate email.
- Theft of company device with sensitive data or passwords.
- Discovery of an unidentified device on the corporate network.
These can have both short- and long-term effects that could impact the success of the entire business. What is terminal for one business may pose no challenges to another.
Incident response is a planned approach to addressing and dealing with the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack. The goal is to resolve the issues to limit damage and reduce recovery time and costs. This is commonly known as an Incident Response Plan (IRP), which is a predetermined list of written instructions that outline the companies response to network security incidents and confirmed network breaches.
Any security breach or cyber attack that is not contained and handled can explode into a larger problem, resulting in a damaging data breach, and large expense or systemic collapse. Responding to an incident quickly allows a business to mitigate the cause of the exposure, restore services, and reduce the risks that future incidents pose.
Incident response enables you to be prepared for both the known and the unknown, and is a reliable method for identifying a security incident immediately when it occurs. Planning is essential to create a series of best practices to stop an intrusion before it gets further into the network.
Additionally, security incidents can be hugely costly as businesses could face fines, legal fees and data recovery costs. It could also affect profitability as untreated incidents are correlated with lower brand reputation, customer loyalty and customer satisfaction.
While you cannot eradicate incidents completely, incident response processes do help to reduce them. Focus should be on what can be done in advance to prepare for possible security incidents. Threats will always continue to exist, but a team can be prepared to prevent and respond to these attacks.
An important part of incident response is defining the difference between a threat and a vulnerability. A threat is the potential of a bad actor, such as a hacker or dishonest employee, that is looking to exploit a vulnerability for financial gain or other motives. A vulnerability is a weakness in a computer system, business process, or user, that could be attacked by such a bad actor. Threats therefore exploit vulnerabilities, which creates business risk. The potential consequences include unauthorised access to sensitive information, identity theft, systems taken offline, adverse publicity, and legal and compliance violations.
We hope this gives you an idea of the importance of incident response and having a plan in place for your business.
No matter the size your business, we can help you work through your IT planning and help you to ensure your risks are mitigated and anticipated.
Please get in touch if you would like to book a consultation to assess and build a plan for your business.