If you have ever experienced an IT security breach, you know that time is of the essence. The more quickly you can catch the breach, identify the problem, and stop the access, the less damage you will have to deal with. If a security incident were to occur today or tomorrow, you would need to think on your feet. But if you do not already have a plan in place to respond, your team simply will not be able to think and act quickly enough. If you face a malicious attack, you can be sure the hackers had a plan in place before the attack. If you do not also have a plan, you are already at a disadvantage, and that could prove disastrous.
Are You Prepared for a Data Breach or Security Incident?
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Do we have an active incident response plan in place to mitigate loss and minimize collateral damage?
- Do we have a breach response team in place and are we prepared to execute any plans you we may have?
- Are we current and up to date on regulatory compliance as it relates to the storage and safety of the information compromised?
If you answered “NO” to any of the above questions, it is possible that your company is risking an inevitable security incident or even natural disaster that could be exponentially worse than it would otherwise be.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
It almost sounds cliché now but Benjamin Franklin was right. When a breach or security incident pops up, without a solid plan in place, you will be two steps behind already. If a hacker has gained access to your system or a breach has exposed critical data, you cannot spend the first minutes and hours scrambling to get your team and your response in place, up to speed, and equipped to respond.
A comprehensive, well documented plan lays out steps and gives everyone on your team clear direction and outlines where to start during that critical initial response.
Prepare to Execute the Plan
Even the most comprehensive plan, exhaustively documented to the last detail, cannot be implemented in a crisis without thorough preparation, training, and practice well in advance. In a crisis, your team cannot waste valuable time reading the instructions. The incident response team should be prepared to launch the necessary diagnostic and containment steps immediately and to take appropriate next steps based on what is revealed. This can only happen when everyone knows, understands, and has practiced their part as outlined in your incident response plan.
It is important that I remind you that this training must be ongoing, not a temporary focus that is soon forgotten or crowded out by other priorities. Any changes to your network, your tools, or structure can impact the plans. Changes to personnel will certainly impact the plans as well. The best laid plans cannot be effectively executed if everyone is not kept up to date and fully prepared.
Prepare to Document the Execution
Documenting the steps taken to diagnose, contain, resolve, and remediate a breach or attack will be critical to future planning. After an incident, your systems may need to be updated, processes may need to be changed, and your team (as well as other employees) may need to be retrained. This documentation process must be integrated throughout your response so someone isn’t backtracking later to try to recreate the actions that were taken.
If you are in a regulated industry, documentation of the steps taken during the incident, and steps taken to report the incident, may also be a matter of compliance. Detailed documentation may be the difference between a quick resolution and an extended audit process that could result in heavy penalties.
Performing all due diligence in advance of a security incident, with the appropriate compliance measures in place and well documented alongside your comprehensive plan ready for whatever your team may face will take some time, some work, and some expense up front. But compliance and planning always cost less than remediation after an incident.
You cannot avoid every attack or breach. Every day, we see news of new vulnerabilities and attacks that your company simply cannot afford to rely on luck or put off the preparing you know you should do. Please contact us to work with our experts to put a plan in place and prepare your team to successfully face whatever security incident your company may face.
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