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What is a Cyber Incident Response Plan?

Do you know how you would respond to a cyber security incident? If not, it may be time to consider a Cyber Incident Response Plan.



A cyber incident response plan sets out steps for how to counteract a cybersecurity attack or data breach. The aim of the plan is to take action as soon as possible if something happens, to limit damage and to ensure normal operations can continue without too much delay.

Having a response plan in place means that there are established procedures to follow if an incident occurs. After all. the cost of a cybersecurity or data incident to your company can be significant, so it’s worth taking the time to prepare for anything that might happen.

Creating a Cyber Incident Response Plan

Creating a cyber incident response plan gives your business protection in the event that any security incidents occur. By creating one now, you can be sure that you’re prepared for any incidents and can swiftly address them when they arise. Being prepared ahead of time is key.

There are several steps that you can take to create your plan to make sure you have all of your bases covered.

Keep a Record of Assets

First off, you should know what you need to protect if a suspicious security event is flagged. Knowing which assets you need to pay attention to will make it easier to take the right steps to get everything back to normal.

An inventory of your IT assets should show you which data and systems could be at risk if the event of an incident. You can identify which assets pose the greatest risk if compromised, and prioritize how you will respond and protect them.

A business impact analysis can give you an in-depth look at the data that you need to protect. You should also work out what an attack could potentially cost you. Don’t just think about immediate financial setbacks either, but also consider how it could affect your reputation and image as an organization.

Identify Threats

Being able to detect cybersecurity threats as quickly as possible can help to save you a lot of time and money.

Most security incidents don’t suddenly hit you out of nowhere. If you’re looking for them, you can spot indicators that suggest something more serious might be about to happen. Being able to identify these and take action as soon as possible can prevent problems for developing further.

As part of your security incident response plan, you should define these indicators and parameters for declaring an incident, so that you know when the first steps need to be taken. The faster you can take action, the more damage you can prevent.

Decide What Action Needs to Be Taken

The next step is to consider just how to respond to a security incident.

You need to determine all the relevant action items and who will be responsible for doing them. These should address the immediate IT issues at hand, but should also include the operations of the rest of the business.

For example, you might need to have a plan for how to communicate any technology problems that could affect service for your customers.

Whichever steps that you need to take to get everything fixed and running as it should, make sure to assign specific tasks to specific people… before the incident occurs! Everyone should know what they need to do so that all tasks can be carried out as quickly as possible without panic.

Test Your Response Plan

After putting together a security incident response plan, it’s important to test it to see if it works. You need to be able to rely on it, so testing and revising it until you get it right is important before you start using it as standard procedure.

You can check and test your plan by using drills and rehearsals that allow your team to practice their response to an incident. This will help identify anything that’s not working, determine any vulnerabilities, or clarify any confusions in the process.

You can gather feedback from your staff and monitor how the exercises take place to find anything that needs to change.

Learning from Cyber Incidents

It’s important to keep learning from the tests that you perform, as well as any genuine incidents that take place.

If you identify any vulnerabilities or gaps in your plan, you need to make changes to your plan so that any mistakes or inefficiencies don’t happen again.

Your security incident response plan should include steps dedicated to assessing how well you responded to a given incident, and whether there is anything that you should do differently next time. Plan for how you’re going to document your investigation and record any changes that you make. Be sure to update your information and communicate anything important to relevant parties.

Keeping a Plan Up to Date

When you have made a security incident response plan, it’s important to keep it up to date. Don’t wait until there is an incident to discover that you need to make changes. After you have perfected your plan, make sure that you check it regularly to see if you can improve upon it. It is meant to be a living document. You never know when you might need to put it into action, so don’t neglect it and let it fall out of date. Update it when you have new equipment or systems that need to be considered or just if you haven’t made any changes to it for a while.

Staff Training

One of the most important things to do when planning your security incident response procedure? Make sure that your staff knows what they’re doing. What role do they play in the plan? We suggest offering extra training to give them the skills and knowledge that they need to respond to incidents.

And, keep in mind, it’s not just those working directly in IT who can benefit from extra training! Everyone needs to play their role in responding to incidents, whether it’s helping to identify them, or doing something to help minimize damage and get everything back to normal. Your security incident response plan should be a comprehensive plan that helps you to deal with incidents quickly and efficiently.

If you need help in developing, assessing, or implementing a security incident response plan, we’d love to help. Reach out to us to set up a short conversation about how BitLyft can partner with your organization.

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Jason Miller

Jason Miller, Founder and CEO of BitLyft Cybersecurity, has dedicated his 20-year IT career, including co-founding SaaS pioneer Reviora, to removing cybersecurity barriers for mid-sized enterprises. Establishing BitLyft in 2016, Jason set out to unburden security teams with innovative, approachable, and affordable solutions, a vision which has made BitLyft a respected managed detection and response provider. Outside his cybersecurity pursuits, Jason is an avid tree farmer and outdoor enthusiast, planting nearly 300 trees on his ten-acre plot and finding joy in hiking, hunting, and driving his white Tesla Model 3. His diverse passions mirror the balanced blend of expertise, dedication, and joy he brings to BitLyft.

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