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How to Prepare Your Incident Response Plan

Incident Response / October 05 , 2022

A cyber incident always creates a certain degree of chaos and confusion—that is, until the organization’s response team can snap into action.

An effective response requires the precise coordination of different departments and stakeholders from IT to executive management, all in the face of fast-evolving information.

What is an Incident Response Plan (IRP)?

A cyber incident response plan (IRP) is a comprehensive plan with instructions for what to do and when during a cyber attack, data breach, or other incident. Having a detailed and actionable IRP in place that can be accessed from anywhere at any time is crucial to minimize the severity of costs and damages associated with cyber incidents.

Why Develop an IRP?

IRPs provide a roadmap during a chaotic moment, clarifying roles and responsibilities and outlining detailed practices and procedures. A slow, ineffective response has been shown to incur more financial and reputational damage for companies that were breached and unprepared.

“Effective incident response is a key component to mitigating the impact from cybersecurity incidents,” says Eben Kaplan, Director of Advisory Services at CrowdStrike. “In the best case, a strong response reduces the impact of an incident to almost zero. In the worst, a poor response amplifies the effects of the incident and does more damage to the organization than the attacker. A plan doesn’t guarantee a good response, but in our experience, the difference between organizations that have documented what they need to do and those who have not is night and day. Even if they don’t follow every letter, organizations that have plans and have exercised them know what needs to happen and who needs to do what as the chaos of a cyber incident unfolds.”

What Are the Elements of an Incident Response Plan?

An optimal IRP covers preparation, detection and analysis, containment, eradication and recovery, as well as post-incident activity. More specifically, an IRP should include:

  • Roles, responsibilities, and contact information of critical internal and external response teams
  • Rules for categorizing the severity of an attack to determine the appropriate response strategy
  • Response sequences for contacting a breach coach lawyer and a forensics team
  • Internal communication protocols
  • Recovery assessment exercises and suggested next steps
  • Breach notification procedures

Three Tools for Better Incident Response Plans

The good news is that creating an incident response plan is easier than ever, with many helpful tools and services on the market to simplify the process. Here are some that we recommend:

  1. Breach Plan Connect® is a one-stop, cloud-hosted solution, featuring an intuitive incident response plan template that is quickly and easily customized for any organization. BPC’s mobile app is a must-have feature which syncs with the desktop platform allowing you to access your plan from anywhere at any time during a crisis. BPC was recently updated with new incident response playbooks which include tactical guidance to IT and Operations for common cyber incidents like ransomware, business email compromise, and more.
  2. Surefire Cyber is a tech-enabled one-stop solution to facilitate a breach response delivered through a platform that connects your company with your breach coach, insurance carrier and broker, connects clients and carriers to response products and services, and provides a real time overview of all response activities.
  3. CrashPlan is a scalable backup solution designed for remote and hybrid workplaces that stores backups on the hybrid cloud, which makes for a fast and seamless data recovery process, minimizing downtime and business interruption.

Complete the form below to download the 4 Steps to Build Your Incident Response Plan tip sheet from NetDiligence.



Elisa Ludwig

Elisa Ludwig

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