To avoid potentially devastating data breaches, companies should know how to detect and respond to security incidents. While most companies develop incident response (IR) plans, many enterprises don’t take the time for testing, which ultimately leaves them unprepared.
Adequate IR plans include a policy detailing the definition of an incident, with in-depth instructions to guide employees through such incidents. Following these strict guidelines can save time and energy, improving response time while subsequently reducing the costs and the recovery time associated with most data breaches.
Here are some common problems associated with IR plans and ways to create and maintain effective ones.
Test for Functionality
According to management consulting firm McKinsey, one of the most prevalent issues with IR plans is the fact that while most companies create them, these plans aren’t useful because of inadequate design or implementation — or a lack of both.
Often these plans are ineffective because they’re outdated or too broad, without any specific steps to guide employees during crises.
Another issue that many companies face is the inability to implement IR plans in multiple departments, hindering response capabilities while also restricting best practices and other information to a limited number of individuals. In many cases, companies rely on only one or two people for guidance through a crisis, which can be a major inconvenience for businesses if those individuals are unavailable at the wrong time.
How to Create a Solid Incident Response Plan
When developing an IR plan, the first step should be to determine the purpose of the plan, how each person will contribute to it, and the overall lifecycle of the plan. A great way to make sure each element will work in the event of an actual incident is to test through staged incidents, which allows businesses to accurately see how well their IR plans will perform.
IR plans also need to function across multiple departments, including information security, communications, legal and compliance, and HR. Each department should have a representative who can effectively guide team members through incidents based on the IR plan. Each representative will also understand the various vulnerabilities specific to his or her department, culminating in more efficient protection.
To competently defend against attackers, businesses should also make sure that each department communicates clearly and fully understands how to meet the needs of the IR plan. Employees should undergo sufficient training to ensure they can perform with the efficiency needed in the event of a security breach.
Protect Data with an IR Plan that Works
With these aspects in mind, companies can give their data the protection it needs from potential intrusion, with fully trained and communicative staff working cohesively. Preparing and researching an IR plan and testing it out across all departments can keep a business protected from many types of threats.