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September 15, 2023 |

What is incident response preparedness?

In cybersecurity, preparedness is key. After all, you shouldn't wait until a security incident happens to think about minimizing risk, assigning incident response roles, or identifying mission-critical data.

The average time to detect an incident is about 7 days, while the response adds nearly a whole month. When every passing hour gives the threat actor more time to damage your network by blocking access to systems or stealing sensitive data, you need to work quickly.

In many cases, the hardest parts of handling an incident are trying to figure out what to do and who to involve. This is why one of the key elements of incident response preparedness is having an actionable incident response (IR) plan that outlines both the "what" and the "who".

Incident response plans: A quick overview

An IR plan is a set of formal documentation that guides an organization's response to a cybersecurity incident. Preparing an incident response plan is an important and straightforward way to improve your incident response abilities and ensure that if an incident ever occurs, you know how to minimize its impact and cost. Teams know who to call, what to do, and how to resolve the incident.

Typically, these plans should cover both the technical and business responses to decrease the impact of an incident. The plan will help you answer the following questions:

  • What happened?
  • Is the problem ongoing?
  • How do I make it stop?
  • How do I know it stopped?

It's important to note that an IR plan prepares the company for all incidents, not just malicious cyberattacks. While you need to be able to efficiently respond to a major ransomware attack, it's equally important that you're armed to address other incidents, such as accidental data breaches.

With a good plan in place, every person involved in the IR process can move forward confidently.

What is incident response preparedness?

Incident response preparedness involves crafting an IR plan, but that's not all. IR preparedness also involves knowing the steps you can take before an incident happens to:

  • Reduce the chances of an attack happening in the first place
  • Minimize the potential for impact of an in-progress attack
  • Effectively recover and return to business faster

Incident response preparedness is important, but not easy. It takes time and money, plus security expertise that not all businesses have access to. This is why many organizations are choosing to use an IR preparedness service.

How IR preparedness services work

During an IR Preparedness Service, third-party experts work with your team to audit existing security processes, discuss best practices, and better prepare you for future incidents.

At Field Effect, our IR Preparedness Service is broken down into three phases.

1. Research and discovery

During this initial phase, you’ll answer a detailed survey which will give our team a better understanding of any gaps in your cybersecurity and incident response strategies.

Our team of experts will work with you to review and examine your current incident response plans, if you have them, and provide actionable feedback.

2. Discussion and review

After the discovery phase, you’ll be invited to an in-depth discussion about both the documentation you provided and any findings. You’ll have the chance to ask questions and learn more about incident response preparedness.

3. Expert recommendations

In the final phase of the incident response preparedness exercise, you’ll receive a written report with a summary of your cybersecurity posture and recommendations for you to implement.

These recommendations will:

  • Note gaps in internal documentation and procedures and identify important resources to have, such as cyber insurance.
  • Include strategies for safeguarding data, best practices, and compliance with modern practices and standards.
  • Provide prioritized technical recommendations.
  • Help guide your incident response preparation and improve the resiliency of your network and business operations.

Why use an IR preparedness service?

There are many reasons why a business would want to use an IR preparedness service. In addition to the simplicity that comes with having a team of cybersecurity experts walk you through the process, there are several other benefits, including the following.

1. Improved response coordination

During an incident, it's important to have pre-determined roles and responsibilities outlined. This not only includes those on your internal response team but also an external emergency contact list and their roles as well.

When everyone understands their roles and responsibilities, as well as those of others, it saves valuable time. The more information you have pre-planned during an incident, the fewer decisions you’ll have to make in a potentially high-stress situation.

2. Clarity around key IT assets

Knowing what assets you have, both information and technology-related, and where they're located is critical to being able to protect the things that matter most to your organization.

An IR preparation service will help you map out key aspects of your IT environment, including data, users, servers, and more. Asset documentation will be vital when it's time to prioritize your response steps and ensure core business functions are restored first.

3. Actionable incident response playbooks

Every incident response plan should have playbooks detailing the steps toward containing, analyzing, and recovering from a number of cybersecurity incidents, including:

  • Business email compromises
  • Malware or ransomware attacks
  • Unauthorized fund transfers

These documents help team members stay on track, guiding them through specific actions and considerations, so they can operate without hesitation to combat the incident.

Learn more about IR preparedness

With our IR Preparedness Service, you get access to trained cybersecurity specialists who will assess your current incident response plans, identify areas for improvement, and much more.

We'll help you strengthen your cybersecurity processes to avoid an incident and craft a customized incident response plan just in case an incident does occur. Learn more about our Incident Response Preparedness Service today.