A digital screen showing incident response.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Successful Incident Response Team?

There are many risk and threat management solutions that can help your organization deal with low-level security events by automating responses. However, high-levels threats including advanced persistent threats require an incident response team that is equipped and ready to act quickly.

This incident response team could be a standing team within the Security Operations Center or could be an external team that comes in when called upon. Regardless of where the incident response team comes from, your incident response plan must define the roles and responsibilities of your incident response team.

In this article, we will discuss the different phases of the incident response plan and the different roles and responsibilities of the incident response team. But before that, let us briefly discuss an incident response.

What Is Incident Response?

Incident response is a general term that described a specific process followed by organizations to handle cyberattacks and data breaches. The primary objective of the incident response is to effectively manage the incident to limit the damages caused and to ensure that both the recovery time and costs are kept at a minimum.

It is, therefore, necessary for organizations to have an incident response policy in place at the minimum. This incident response policy or plan should define what is considered as an incident for the organization. It must provide a clear and guided process that the organization must follow whenever an incident occurs. Besides that, the incident response policy must also specify the leaders, employees, or teams that are responsible for incident management.

Phases of an Incident Response Plan

The following are the six different phases of having an effective incident response plan.

  1. Preparation

The first phase of the incident response plan is to prepare for the inevitable data breach. Preparation helps businesses to determine how well their incident response team can respond to the incident. This phase prepares the incident response team to handle potential threats by providing training and equipping them with the needed tools.

  1. Identification

The second phase of the incident response plan is identification. It involves detecting and deciding if the specific incident should be considered as a security breach by the business and its severity.

  1. Containment

The third phase of the incident response plan is containment. It helps the incident response team to contain the security breach incident by isolating compromised systems to ensure there is no further damage to the organization.

  1. Eradication

The fourth phase of the incident response plan is eradication. In this phase, the team detects the cause of the incident and then takes necessary actions to eliminate the threats from all the affected systems.

  1. Recovery

The fifth phase of the incident response plan is recovery. In this phase, the incident response team restores the affected system and ensures that no threat remains.

  1. Lessons Learned

The sixth phase of the incident response plan is lessons learned. In this phase, the incident response team analyzes the incident logs, updates the incident response policy, and completes the incident documentation.

Roles and Responsibilities of an Incident Response Team

The following are the different functions of an incident response team along with their basic responsibilities. Having said that, nothing is written in stone. Therefore, these responsibilities can vary greatly from one business to another.

  • Team Leader: The team leader is responsible for coordinating all incident response activities with the team.
  • Communications: The communicator manages communications across the company and with other third parties involved.
  • Lead Investigator: The lead investigator collects and gathers evidence and determines the cause of the attack. S/he directs other analysts in the incident response team to implement service and system recovery.
  • Analyst: An analyst within the incident response team offers support to the lead investigator by providing threat intelligence and context to the incident. S/he perform deep autopsies on different compromised systems.
  • Legal Representation: The incident response team must have legal representation to address potential criminal charges that are derived from the incident.

Be Prepared for Any Incident with ECIH Certification

EC-Council’s Certified Incident Handler (ECIH) program is a comprehensive specialist-level program that imparts knowledge and skills that organizations need to effectively handle post-breach consequences by reducing the impact of the incident, from both a financial and a reputational perspective. To know more about the responsibilities of the incident handler, click here.


Why is incident response important?
Having a thorough incident response policy in place safeguards your business from a potential loss of revenue. The faster you can detect and respond to a data breach, the less likely it will have a significant impact on your data, business reputation, customer trust, and potential revenue loss.
What is the role of the incident response team?
The primary role of the incident response team is to develop a proactive incident response plan, resolve system vulnerabilities, and maintain strong security practices.

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