The Importance of a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan

by | Jun 20, 2023 | Cybersecurity

Not a day goes by without a story on a local or national news channel describing how another cyberattack has compromised the sensitive data of a business or a government agency. The rapidly growing number and intensity of cyberattacks have placed CIOs across all industries on alert that taking immediate action should be their number one priority. As an IT leader of your organization, how do you address the alarming increase in the number and intensity of cyberattacks?

The answer is to be prepared by creating and implementing a cybersecurity incident response plan.

How Should IT Leaders Create and Implement a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan?

IT leaders should follow four steps for creating and implementing a highly effective cybersecurity incident response plan.

Define the Most Crucial Components of Your IT Network

The first step involves asking the question, “Which data is the most critical to protect, and where in our network is the data most vulnerable?” You must determine the most crucial data and digital systems before backing up and storing the most sensitive data in a remote location. Prioritize the order of data backups and make sure to label the remote locations of the data.

Identify Potential Failure Points

After backing up data, the next step is to ensure not one potential point of failure exposes your organization to a significant data breach. Address each point of failure by creating redundancies or software failover features. With each potential failure point protected, you have a much easier job of implementing your organization’s cybersecurity incident response plan. CIOs play an integral role in the identity management of cybersecurity defenses.

Develop a Workforce Continuity Plan

During a data breach or natural disaster, you might not be able to access some data locations and/or processes. This means you should establish a plan that ensures the safety of your organization’s employees. Minimize employee downtime by putting digital tools in place that allow your team members to work remotely, preferably from home. Build infrastructure such as secure web gateways and virtual private networks (VPNs) to support employee communication.

Learn more in How CIOs Can Create a Disaster Recovery Plan.

Create and Implement the Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan

Now, the time has come to create and implement your organization’s cybersecurity incident response plan. Begin by listing the roles and responsibilities of each IT team member. The cybersecurity incident response plan should include a business continuity plan, as well as a summary of the digital tools and technologies that must be established for responding to a cyberattack. Refer to the list of the most crucial IT components and potential digital failure points to address the issues surrounding a cyberattack.

Train IT Team Members on How to Respond

Your organization’s cybersecurity incident response plan is only as effective as the IT team members responsible for carrying it out. After you and other IT leaders create a plan, organize several training sessions to keep the rest of the team updated concerning the latest tips for responding to a cyberattack.

Every member of the IT team should understand the importance of responding quickly to a cybersecurity incident.

What are the Important Benefits of a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan?

To ensure your IT team members act with a sense of urgency after a cyberattack, explain why creating and implementing a plan is important for protecting your organization’s most sensitive data and information.

Faster Mitigation

According to a report released by IBM, the average time it takes to identify and respond to a data breach is 280 days. Creating and implementing a cybersecurity incident response plan can cut mitigation time in half. Any length of a delayed response enables cybercriminals to obtain more sensitive data and information.

Protect Reputation and Retain Customer Trust

IDC discovered after conducting a poll that nearly 80 percent of consumers would take their business to another company if they are directly impacted by a data breach. If your organization falls victim to a cyberattack and you do not respond promptly to the breach, you can expect to lose a large percentage of your customer base.

Organized Approach

One of the many reasons why organizations fail when responding to cyberattacks concerns the lack of an organized approach. Developing and implementing a cybersecurity incident response plan ensures you address a cyberattack with a well-coordinated team of IT professionals that know how to protect the most vital digital assets. An organized approach also is important because cybersecurity defense requires new collaboration.

Strengthens Compliance

Comprehensive regulations initiated in the United States, as well as all over the world, require your organization to do as much as possible to prevent cybersecurity incidents. This is especially true for organizations that operate in the healthcare and financial sectors of the economy. Your organization must protect sensitive data in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), just to name a couple of regulatory guidelines.

Create Your Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan Today

The importance of a comprehensive cybersecurity incident response plan cannot be overstated. Protecting the most sensitive customer and proprietary data is not just a regulatory requirement established by a governing body.

It also is good for business.

Additional Cybersecurity Resources

Building a Resilient Cybersecurity Strategy for Your Organization

The Ultimate Guide to Multi-Factor Authentication

Endpoint Security: What it is and Why it’s Important


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