The incident-response preparation phase is an ongoing process that should strategize risk management by minimizing legal, operational, and reputational risk.
When multiple attacks hit an organization’s network, data and infrastructure are exposed to the exploitation of vulnerabilities that lack security controls to mitigate risk. An effective incident-handling program would help minimize the impact of further attacks and strengthen security controls. A good cybersecurity framework that is based on an integrated and holistic approach is imperative for an organization. A cybersecurity strategy centered on analytics, security orchestration, and incident response is fundamental to have security controls in place toward prevention, detection, and response management.
What Should an Incident Response Include to Mitigate Risk?
An incident response plan must be drafted and kept prepared to respond to emergencies. At the time of an incident, the incident response team must respond quickly and efficiently and process a channel of communication to the stakeholders, third parties, and the IT team leads. Involving stakeholders facilitates transparency and accountability intended to minimize risk. The incident-response team should have the capacity to expand beyond responding to security threats. The team should include representatives from specializations such as human resources, legal, management, and risks management, public relations, and general counsel.
For example, in the case of an insider threat, HR is required to ensure that actions against an employee are legal and conducted in accordance with HR policy. With the HR contribution, you can gain authorization to collect detailed information on a particular employee(s). Similarly, the IR plan should also involve the general counsel to receive guidance on the collection and processing of evidence so that it may be admissible in court in the event of any legal action.
In real, incidence response must be a holistic approach to mitigate the risk that might impact the reputation and performance of an organization.
Not an Isolated Event
Incident response is a part of a series of cybersecurity processes that should not be treated as an isolated event. The key process to incident response is planning and testing, to include tabletop exercises, incident simulations, and reporting. Using these processes, the incident-response team tests response plans and identifies gaps based on which response processes are refined to mark preparation of the incident response.
An incident response plan should include the following:
- Communication guidelines
- Policies, procedures, and agreements for incident-response management
- Indicators of compromise for preparation of investigations
- Preparing a proactive security team based on operational threat hunting exercises
Threat intel feeds forms are necessary for the enrichment of the incident-response plan.
Communication is an essential aspect of incident response as it affects both internal and external stakeholders. The organization should first assess the impact of a cybersecurity incident on different stakeholders and determine the magnitude of the event. For example, a breach of confidential data would involve notification to the privacy data breach regulatory or governing body and communication should be adhered as per the respective country’s regulations. The objective of the organization’s incident response communication plan varies with the impact of the cyber breach.
Considering today’s complex regulatory guidelines, you would need a proper communication strategy defined in your incident response to comply with regulations. The privacy breaches are more complex, and they should be communicated to respective local, national, and global privacy regulatory bodies to avoid later consequences from law enforcement. Communication acts as a key to mitigate any risk, especially reputational and legal.
Eliminate Root Cause
It is important to eliminate the root cause of the breach if approved by your general counsel, once you complete with the containment process. The cause, if left unattended, would create a threat of another breach at a later time. Elimination of cause is part of an incident response plan, which should define removal of the malware securely, patching systems, and fixing with updates. If any trace of malware remains in the affected systems, there will be growing risk and increased liability. With proper remediation steps, eradication and recovery should be done to ensure the elimination of the root cause on priority.
Post-incident analysis of an incident-response event is a crucial activity. Analysis helps in learning from the incident and application of changes to make the response plan more effective and efficient. An in-depth post-incident analysis helps in identifying potential gaps, improving security measures, and getting prepared for the future.
The rise in digital technology, artificial intelligence, and autonomous devices that are connected to the internet is increasing the number of threat surfaces exposed. Therefore, the state, enterprises, and corporations should work collectively to bring awareness of cyber safety. Enterprises need to deploy counter-measure incident-response planning that, in reality, should respond proactively to events, incidents, and breaches.
Incident-response handling is a critical task, and it requires specialized skills, which can be availed via a certification program. EC-Council Certified Incident Handler (E|CIH) is a credential offered by EC-Council to the professionals interested in pursuing incident-handling response as a career. It is a comprehensive training program that not only imparts concepts but allows experiencing real-scenario experiences. It is a method-driven program that is based on a holistic approach to cover vast concepts from planning the incident-response plan to recovering organizational assets after the incident. The latest iteration of E|CIH has been designed and developed in collaboration with subject expertise from the industry.