You’ve done everything possible to defend your business against cybercriminal attacks, be it phishing, malware, or any other online fraud plaguing the virtual markets these days. However, the data shows that no protection is 100% foolproof, and those who don’t plan for security failures are certainly doomed to experience it (and likely at a higher destructive potential).

That’s why it’s essential to have a security incident response plan in place—so when a breach occurs and your corporate data is compromised, you have an established strategy and process to limit potential damage and restore operative norms as swiftly as possible.

When a security incident response plan is implemented, it should include the following primary steps:

  1. Preparation – Identify your most critical assets and related vulnerabilities, plus the infrastructures in place to keep them secured. Then prepare for the worst with pre-incident training, system strengthening, and corporate procedure education. This stage also includes building a properly trained response team that is able to implement the plan as rapidly as required as the situation warrants.
  2. Detection – Determine the type and extent of the incident and establish the affected systems.
  3. Containment – Quarantine infected or compromised networks and devices while preserving available resources.
  4. Investigation – Discover the source of the attack and what actually occurred within your system or on the affected device(s). Where did the attack come from, what methods are being employed, and what is the targeted data? How extensive is the breach and are any other weak points being left exposed while the first incident is being addressed?
  5. Eradication – Cleanup and erase all traces of the event on your devices and network, whether via antivirus software, hardware replacement, or network reconstruction. This can be one of the more intensive portions of the process.
  6. Recovery – Restore normal service while testing that the system has returned to certified operational standards. This also includes determining how to properly communicate the full incident details to the public, as well as business partners, third-party vendors, and customers who may all have been affected by the data breach.
  7. Follow-up – Analyze the incident response, identify weak points in the plan, and revise in order to better respond in future security compromising events. Again, public reassurance may be required in order for clients to regain trust in your system moving forward. It is prudent that this step is followed so customers clearly understand that the issue has been resolved and won’t occur again.

Even when you have a cybersecurity incident response plan set in your organizational processes, there are 3 major errors companies must avoid to be positioned for more effective response and recovery.

  1. Adopting “one-size-fits-all” plans – Many corporations simply take boilerplate incident response plans and apply them to their systems. Unfortunately, these plans can be overly complicated (slowing analysis and response times) because they take too many irrelevant factors into account, and may also be out-of-date compared to evolving technology. It’s important to have an objective party analyze your company’s specific network needs and weak points and craft a unique response strategy. This will also ensure that all steps in the plan are relevant to the relevant systems.
  2. Plans are primarily reactive rather than proactive – While, in its very nature, a successful attack will tend to catch a company off-guard, the more your business is alerted to the potential of an attack and poised to respond swiftly, the more damage will be mitigated and the less intensive recovery efforts will have to be. However, if security response plans are passive and those responsible for implementing it are not carefully monitoring threat activity, the extent of the breach can be expansive before the barest defense is raised.
  3. Plans are not regularly reviewed and updated – Every year, companies with security incident response plans should bring their current processes under review, determine its effectiveness, patch required updates, and reinforce training. Cybersecurity threats are constantly being updated and adapted with new technology and virtual vulnerabilities being exposed, and plans that don’t take this into account will swiftly be rendered ineffective. A plan is never a “one and done” event. It is an ongoing process that constantly shifts with the industry.

Above all, remember the worst mistake any company can make when it comes to security incidents: thinking it couldn’t possibly happen to them.

FraudWatch International recognizes that the best data and network defense is an expert offense, which is why our team has developed proprietary methodologies and software platforms to help businesses handle these situations.

Learn more about FraudWatch International’s security incident response planning, recovery strategies, and staff security awareness training so you can be prepared for both the best- and worst-case scenarios.