Incident Response 101

Incident response is a critical part of any security program. It helps when an attack happens, and it's also an important part of incident prevention. Your organization can't be secure unless you have solid processes in place for responding to incidents when they occur.

What is the Difference Between Incident Response and Incident Handling

Incident response is a process. Incident handling is an activity.

Incident response is proactive and requires planning, while incident handling is reactive.

An Incident Response Plan (IRP) is an essential part of any IR program because it provides you with the structure needed to implement your IR program effectively and successfully. An IRP should be developed before any type of security incident occurs at your organization or within its IT systems, so that when it does happen you can respond immediately without having to worry about creating one from scratch during the heat of battle!

IT team meeting to discuss about their organizations Incident Response Plan

7 Steps of Incident Response
  • Detection
  • Response
  • Mitigation
  • Reporting and Recording
  • Recovery
  • Remediation
  • Lessons Learned
Incident Response Best Practices

As you plan and implement your incident response strategy, here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Always have an updated emergency plan. This is the foundation of any incident response strategy, so make sure it's up-to-date and includes clear instructions on how to handle outages or other emergencies. You should also make sure that all employees know where they can find this document (and any other relevant information) in case of an outage or other type of disaster situation.
  • Be transparent about what happened during the outage--both internally and externally--so that people know what went wrong, which helps them fix similar issues in future scenarios instead of repeating old mistakes over and over again!
  • Bring in leaders from places other than your own NOC (network operations center) if possible; having someone from another team look at things from a different perspective will help ensure that nothing gets overlooked during postmortem analysis sessions later on down the road!
NIST vs SANS Incident Response Framework

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) and the SANS Institute's Incident Response Framework are two popular models used to organize and prioritize incident response activities. The CSF is more structured than the SANS model, but both provide a great starting point for organizations looking to establish their own IR processes.

The NIST framework provides five stages of incident response: preparation, detection/response, containment/eradication, recovery/reconstitution (or restoration), and lessons learned--each with its own set of tasks that need to be completed before moving on to the next stage. There's also a sixth stage called "communication" which encompasses sharing information internally within your organization as well as externally with customers or other stakeholders affected by an incident.

The first three stages are focused primarily on preventing attacks from occurring in the first place by implementing controls such as network segmentation schemes; auditing user access privileges; restricting physical access through locks & keys; limiting remote access via VPN tunnels etc.; monitoring logs for suspicious activity such as failed login attempts etc.; patching software vulnerabilities promptly when new patches become available etc., while stages 4-6 deal primarily with responding effectively once an attack has occurred: identifying compromised systems quickly through methods such as honeypots; deploying anti-malware tools like antivirus software across all network nodes simultaneously so no one gets left unprotected during cleanup efforts - these things help ensure speedy recovery times without losing valuable data along the way!

IT employee working on computer at modern office

Do I Need an Incident Response Framework for Cyber Insurance?

Incident response frameworks are a key component of cyber insurance. The NIST and SANS frameworks are good places to start, but they aren't comprehensive enough on their own. A good incident response framework needs to include:

  • The tools, skills, and processes needed to address an attack in real-time
  • A plan for restoring systems after an attack has been mitigated or contained

The last thing you want is for your insurance provider to tell you "you're covered" without knowing exactly what that means--and how much it will cost them if something goes wrong.

The Incident Response Framework (IRF) is a tried-and-true method of organizing and managing your incident response. It's flexible enough that it can be applied to any organization, regardless of size or mission type. The IRF also helps ensure that everyone on your team knows what they're doing in the event of an incident so that nothing falls through the cracks during critical moments when you need information quickly!

If your organization needs an incident response plan, contact us today.