With every passing year, cybercrime incidents are increasing across the world. The ever-growing frequency and scale of cyberattacks paint an alarming picture. There are several factors to explain this rising trend, to highlight a few key reasons: Hackers are using increasingly sophisticated tools and techniques, more dangerous cyber threats are emerging every day, and organizations are not implementing adequate cybersecurity measures.
In an age where digital technologies empower modern businesses at every level, enterprise cybersecurity is a critical need. With growing awareness and stringent regulations, organizations across the world are taking several measures to safeguard their data and infrastructure. Yet, no cybersecurity program is entirely invulnerable. That's why an incident response plan is so crucial and the benefits of an incident response plan need to be explored.
When a security incident or breach occurs, an organized approach will help mitigate its impacts at the earliest. Whereas a cybersecurity program focuses more on the deterrence and monitoring aspect, the benefits of an incident response plan include helpings organizations to tackle the aftermath of a cyberattack or data breach. If it’s not effectively dealt with, even a seemingly minor cyberattack can have far-reaching consequences.
According to a report by IBM, the average time to identify and contain a data breach was 280 days.
An incident response plan contains a detailed plan of action on how to handle potential security incidents. For each particular scenario, this includes measures that have to be undertaken by employees, isolating affected areas, recovery systems to be put in place and so forth. These pre-planned steps will help an organization to minimize its response time to a large extent. A delayed response means that the malicious agent within an organization’s networks and systems has a more severe impact. The delayed response enables the agent to gather more sensitive data or infect more systems with malware, etc. If cyberattacks are not quickly and effectively dealt with, their potential - financial, legal and operational impact can worsen manifold.
A quick response time will also minimize operational downtime of the affected area. Be it networks, servers, or applications. Thus, organizations have a better understanding of their overall security.
Security incidents are nearly impossible to predict in advance. Despite being seemingly well-protected, any organization can be caught off-guard by unforeseen incidents. By proactively implementing an incident response plan, you have a clear, methodical plan of action to rely on in critical times.
A cyberattack may catch an organization off-guard but if your team is in a state of panic and ill-prepared to handle it, your organization may not be able to strike back and defend itself. An incident response plan helps mitigate the impact of an attack, remediate vulnerabilities, and secure the overall organization in a coordinated manner.
It also ensures that your organization can utilize manpower, tools and resources to efficiently tackle the issue and minimize its impact on other operations. An incident response plan not only reduces the response time but also the overall cost associated with it.
The goal of an incident response plan is to enable an organization to have better incident response capability. In this due process, current measures, systems, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities are all analyzed. In addition, these factors and their potential impact on various security scenarios are considered. Thus, organizations have a better understanding of their overall security.
An incident response plan also accounts for the need for organizations to patch up exposed vulnerabilities and ensure that similar situations do not arise again. These steps create increased cybersecurity resilience for the organization and protect it from future threats.
Customers, partner companies and other stakeholders certainly prefer that an organization have an effective incident response plan in place. Proactive measures like these showcase that an organization has taken the effort to bolster its incident response capability.
Several of the Fortune 500 firms have been the victims of a cyberattack at one point or another. In such a challenging global cybersecurity landscape, an incident response plan goes a long way in helping instill confidence in an organization's stakeholders.
Sweeping regulations worldwide mean that companies have to undertake several measures to ensure compliance. Critical sectors such as the healthcare and financial industry face an even more stringent set of rules to ensure that sensitive data is well-protected. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and the Healthcare Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are examples of such regulations under which organizations need to have an incident response plan to ensure compliance.