Every business with a digital presence will someday become a target for hackers and scammers. Whether it’s phishing, ransomware, or a full-on DDoS attack, you should always have a plan. Disaster recovery is something businesses wish they’ll never need, but it’s always best to be prepared.
There are more than a few ways to approach this subject in more detail, but the basics never change. So let’s talk about the essential steps you need to take to create a foolproof cyber incident response plan.
What is a cyber incident response plan and why do you need one?
A plan that helps you out of cyber trouble heavily depends on the type of business you’re in.
For example, if you’re relying on large data storage, you should put more focus on creating a ransomware contingency plan. Or, if your business needs a stable network to operate, you should have an “in case of DDoS” plan. You get the idea – you need to know your business’s digital insides to prepare the best response to a cyber incident.
But one thing remains true no matter the circumstances – you need strict instructions on how to recover from a cyber attack. Aka, a cyber incident response plan.
How to create a cyber incident response plan?
Before you begin creating a plan of your own, keep a couple of things in mind:
- You will need help from each department. One person per department will do. Don’t assume you can manage everything alone.
- Remember to adapt and scale up your cybersecurity incident response plan as your business grows and changes.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In business cybersecurity, this means:
- Having a dedicated cybersecurity team;
- Make sure your hardware and software are up to date;
- Insisting on good password hygiene;
- Testing your cyber defenses;
- Establishing a secure backup option for all of your data;
- Isolating and pinpointing your existing cybersecurity weak spots.
2. Breach detection, identification, and analysis
The sooner you find out when and how you were attacked, the quicker your business can recover. Once you identify the threat, you can either address it right away or call for backup, but it’s important to know what you’re up against.
As soon as you get to the bottom of the malware’s nature, you need to analyze and outline how much data has been compromised. Getting the upper hand can significantly help contain the spread.
3. Containment and damage control
This is your first direct reaction to the cyber crisis. After you outline the damage, it’s time to either contain or completely cut off the malware. In case of data corruption, it’s best to cut off the infected data instead of trying to save it. But before you get to damage control, you need to think about short-term and long-term containment.
The former usually means cutting out the infected areas ASAP, while the latter means completely purging the malware away.
4. Threat eradication
After the first response and immediate damage control, it’s time to eradicate the cyber threat. In some cases, this means physically removing the infected drives. In other cases, it’s about setting up a whole new network infrastructure.
All in all, it’s paramount to look into every digital nook and cranny to make sure there are no more infected data. Malware reinfection right after an attack is not as rare as you might think. Before your business gets back on its feet, it’s left wide open, so you’ll need to get those defenses back up.
5. Backup, recovery, and updates
People often don’t understand the importance of backups until the need for one arises.
If your business operates online, all these steps are pointless without a backup to fall back to. There are plenty of backup solutions out there, and no matter which one you choose, make sure to update the recovery database every once in a while.
Lastly, use your cybersecurity incident analysis to patch weak spots. You should also make sure that everyone affected knows what happened and how they can help to prevent such a mishap in the future. No matter how dire the situation is, your whole staff (including you) can extract an important lesson from every cybersecurity mishap.
Cyber attacks can be fatal for businesses, no matter how big or small. The most important step of any cybersecurity routine is preparation. As long as you remember to update your cyber incident response plan, you will be ready for whatever the internet has to bring.