Cyber security

Incident Response: Advantages and Lifecycle

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incident response

Defining Incident Response

Incident Response can be described as an approach used by an organization to monitor and respond to cyberattacks like data breaches. It also includes ways to deal with the damage and/or consequences. Their goal is to effectively deal with the damage caused to the organization by the incident. In addition, it takes care of other essential factors such as cost, brand reputation, recovery time, and collateral damage to reduce it and keep it subdued for the good of the business. Most organizations have a functional incident response plan to handle critical situations.

Advantages Of an Incident Response Plan

Some of the many advantages of an incident response plan are as follows:

Helps to Build Trust

Any cyber incident can seriously damage a company’s relationships with its investors, partners, and customers. It is best to give them appropriate notice of a breach. If a company does not promptly notify their valued partners of a breach, they are more likely to lose the trust and reputation of their customers in the industry.

A contingency plan is appropriate for maintaining public confidence in an emergency. Rapid recovery from an incident will make the public aware that the organization understands the importance of maintaining and adhering to a business continuity plan in order to function efficiently under difficult conditions. situations. 

However, if the organization loses a significant amount of resources during the cyberattack, it will have an uphill battle to regain public trust and cause significant damage to its image and reputation which may even result in lost business. The best way is to invest in an incident response plan ahead of time. Several Fortune 500 companies have been victims of a cyber attack at some point in their business, so it’s better to be proactive.

Has an Organized Approach

It is best to implement a plan and take an organized approach at critical times as most security incidents are nearly impossible to predict. A business is well protected when it has invested heavily in its security, but can still be a target for unforeseen events.

Cyber incidents can surprise an organization. However, if the security team is not adequately prepared to deal with it effectively, the organization will have trouble defending itself. The plan will mitigate the impact of the incident by addressing existing vulnerabilities and securing the organization in an organized manner. 

It also pushes the organization to use its resources, human resources, and tools to solve the problem efficiently and minimize the impact. This will significantly reduce the response time and associated overall costs for the company.

Better Compliance

Suppose an organization does not follow required data security protocols. If they do, companies may have to pay hefty fines and face costly lawsuits, so it’s important that they follow the rules, not break them.

The development of a business continuity plan, such as an incident response plan, ensures that the organization follows all industry rules and remains compliant. In addition, it meets the criteria for many critical situations. to avoid legal penalties by providing data to law enforcement agencies on a forensic basis.

Strengthens Security

One of the main objectives is to improve an organization’s incident response capability as it measures the organization’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. The potential impact of security scenarios and related factors are considered when creating an incident response plan. Patching exposed vulnerabilities also make cybersecurity more resilient to defend against potential threats and improve overall security.

Faster Mitigation

According to an IBM report, the average time to detect and contain a data breach is 280 days. An incident response plan handles potential security incidents in an organized manner. Specific scenarios to isolate hooked areas and recover systems quickly, greatly minimize response time. A longer response time means that the malicious connection can have more serious effects within organizational systems and networks,  i.e the loss of more sensitive information or the compromise of systems.

According to Forbes, it may seem simple, but the “correct” method to mitigate cyber risk differs by industry, and it’s critical to know what’s required upfront to get the intended result. Cyber ​​attacks that are not managed effectively can have potential legal, financial, and operational repercussions that can leave an organization worse off. Therefore, its implementation in such cases leads to faster response times and minimal operational downtime of the organization’s resources. and help them better understand your overall security.

What is the LifeCycle of an Incident Response

1. Preparation

This is one of the essential phases and the only step that is performed beforehand. In this phase, the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) creates policies and a manual to handle security incidents efficiently and in real-time as soon as they occur. In this phase, the communication and execution plans are documented and finalized with the essential information needed to execute the incident response plan.

Here, all potential threats are carefully identified and analyzed based on the level of damage they can cause to an organization. Their probability of occurrence is then calculated using data collected by Threat Intelligence and Security Operations Center (SOC) teams. Only threats to information assets and assets with a reasonable chance of success are flagged as incidents.

As security risks are reviewed, a response plan for high-risk incidents is established. First, an alarm list is created and the communication plan defined, followed by appropriate training if required.

2.Identification

This is the phase where incidents are first identified. The SOC team uses many resources, such as intrusion detection systems, event management tools, security intelligence, network monitoring tools, logs, firewall intrusions, and error reports to flag them successfully. However, the anomalies are identified based on the classifications made in the previous phases.

Errors should not occur when classifying incidents, as a higher number of false positives can even dilute the planning process for incident response. This leads to an unnecessary brand for incident incidents that the organization does not cause much damage. This is followed by time consolidation and efforts of the security team.

3. Containment

This is the phase where the goal is to minimize the damage done and contain the incident. The ultimate goal is to regain control of the system, so this phase is further divided into three subsections:

System Backup

System backup includes restoring compromised systems to prevent damage. And also creating a forensic image (copy of the system), which will later be used as evidence and help with further investigations.

Short-Term Containment

 After identifying the incident, the security team enforces mitigation measures such as blocking access to the compromised server.

Long Term Containment

Also known as the final stage of containment, this ensures that similar incidents do not happen again in the future. Compromised accounts will be terminated and all malicious links to systems installed by attackers will be removed so they can be properly restored.

Once this phase is complete, the CSIRT team decides whether to escalate or resolve the incident. Suppose they are unable to contain the impact of the incident and the damage is too severe for the organization to recover from. In this case, it is marked as a catastrophe, and the disaster residue plan should be followed.

4. Eradication

Here the CSIRT team is tasked with identifying, isolating, and containing the source of the attack. Next, system analysis is performed to measure the extent of the compromise. And to verify the vulnerabilities that led to the compromise. After that,  vulnerabilities are scanned. patched to avoid this kind of incident.

All networked systems are monitored as soon as they are patched. In addition, the attackers’ reactions to these measures are noted. As security analysts develop responses in advance to further attacks that the actions may have triggered on the systems.

5. Recovery

Since all access to all compromised systems in the previous stages has been revoked in previous stages. The goal is to obtain all systems running and functional. It should be noted that the security team must ensure that all threats are eradicated before recovery.

In this phase, all the recovery policies such as patching, data backup, etc come into play. All of the actions mentioned above must also be thoroughly documented. This is an indication that the incident has been handled and the systems are back online. 

Conclusion

The CSIRT’s work is incomplete until it reviews the response for further review. The team jointly analyzes the documentation from the identification phase to the recovery phase. And tries to come up with ideas to make the process smoother and more efficient. The incident response plan is then modified and updated based on effective team feedback.

FAQ’s

What are the steps in responding to an incident?

Preparation is the first step in the incident response process. Identification. Containment. Eradication. Recovery.

What is the most crucial step in the incident response process?

Preparation. When a security incident occurs, a security team must be prepared. One of the most important steps in an incident response plan is preparation, because it determines how the IR team will respond to a variety of incidents that could affect the company.

What should an incident response plan include?

Preparation, detection, containment, investigation, remediation, and recovery are the six phases of the Incident Response process. NIST SP 800-61 defines these phases (Computer Security Incident Handling Guide).

Why is incident response important?

ncident response is an important part of preventing future incidents and running a company that manages sensitive data like PII, PHI, or biometrics. Every security incident can have both short- and long-term consequences for your company.

What is role of the Incident Response Team?

An incident response team, also known as an incident response unit, is tasked with preparing for responding to IT incidents such as cyber attacks, system failures, and data breaches.

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