incident response plan for company

You may work for a large or a tiny business, but sooner or later, you will have to respond to an incident. Developing an incident response plan (IRP) is essential to any individual, business, or organization that handles data online. Most of us connect to the internet. That’s why anyone can be exposed to data breaches and hacking anytime.

IRP offers crucial information when the worst occurs. Companies should test and refine incident response plans before any incidents happen to practice them and modify them. Having an IRP in place is a lifesaver if you also use an online faxing service since you transmit information over the internet.

That said, here’s an article that will help you understand further the importance of an incident response plan, why you should create one now, and the steps included to make the implementation much more manageable in case the worst-case scenario happens.

[Table of Contents]
What Is an Incident Response Plan?
Why Do You Need to Create One?
What Are the Steps of Incident Response in Order?
Final Thoughts on Incident Response Plan for Faxing

What Is an Incident Response Plan?

incident response plan for cyberattacks

An incident response plan is a prepared strategy of how to respond to an IT security breach. Any incident response plan aims to contain, eradicate, and recover from the attack as quickly as possible with the least amount of risk or damage. If you are not sure whether your company needs an incident response plan, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have information that my competitors would want?
  • Do I do business with high-value customers who might be targets for hackers?
  • Can’t anyone on my team handle this issue by themselves if it occurs again?
  • What’s our process for handling cyber breaches when they happen?

If your answer to the first three questions is a resounding ‘Yes!’ and you don’t have any process in place as of this time, then you should start developing an incident response plan as soon as possible. However, for companies who already have an incident response plan, you may also want to double-check if you are implementing it effectively from previous incidents.

An incident response plan is a written document that outlines the steps to be taken in an emergency. It typically covers how to identify and respond to cybersecurity incidents, what roles should be notified, and who has responsibility for different aspects of managing an incident.

Why Do You Need to Create an Incident Response Plan?

importance of incident response plan

It would be best to have an incident response plan to help reduce risk as you anticipate risks even before they happen. It’s a matter of being preventive rather than reactive in a given situation. If you are not prepared when cyber security incidents occur, it can lead to substantial financial losses as well as harm to your reputation.

However, not all businesses feel the need to have an incident response plan. In fact, according to a study, 39% of small and medium-sized companies don’t have one, which makes them vulnerable to cyber threats and security breaches.

According to IBM, having an incident response plan reduces the cost of a data breach valued at $4.24 million. Yes! That’s how much a data breach cost. In the healthcare industry alone, the price is $9.23 million.

What Are the Steps of Incident Response in Order?

incident response plan
Image credit: NIST

The National Institute of Standard in Technology (NIST) has resources to help you build an incident response. Check out what the experts say, and you can create a custom IRP that best suits your business’ needs. However, in general, the steps in order are as follows:

1. Preparation

The preparation consists of two parts: external preparation and internal preparation. External preparation means setting up your perimeter firewall, ensuring that all ports are closed that are not needed for business operation, having port scanning alerts set up for all critical servers, intrusion prevention system (IPS), etc.

Internal preparation means that you should have a contact person who will respond to security alerts like suspicious activity reporting software (SARs) or IDS/IPS alerts on network devices. In this way, if any malicious traffic crosses the internal network, they can immediately tell the relevant people to respond only by knowing the source and destination.

2. Detection and Analysis

Detection and analysis are vital parts of identifying security events within any organization’s networked systems through manual (e.g., reviewing logs) and automated means. In general, detection is the process of recognizing that an event has occurred. The analysis is the investigation to determine whether it’s a security incident, and if so, what type?

Only after preparation can you apply detection where you set up (IDS/IPS) alerts on your network devices to help detect any unusual activity, which might indicate compromise or malware traffic.

  • An example of automated detection is an intrusion detection system (IDS). This simple tool runs in the background, looking for patterns of activity that could be a sign of a security incident.
  • Manual detection and review means deploying human staff to closely monitor network activity, look out for specific events or anomalies, and investigate them further when necessary,

You should know how to decipher these alerts so that the response team can immediately take action. Then you must decide what kind of action should be handled, like taking down the infected system, quarantining it, disconnecting the system, etc. These steps will depend upon discovering if unauthorized software runs on your system or whether it is a malware attack or worm infection.

3. Containment, Eradication, and Recovery

The containment and eradication process is to prevent further damage. This means blocking access to the infected machines or computers. It would be best to stop the processes on those machines that allow them to communicate with other computers on the network. If many compromised computers and servers start corresponding, more systems will be compromised, which can quickly turn into a snowball effect.

This leads to a disaster scenario where 99% of all affected machines have been compromised after only one hour. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you must stop communication from your infected hosts before they get out of control.

After an incident has been contained, we may need to take away the parts of it. You will delete malware and disable user accounts hacked and identify and fix any problems with the computers and machines.

Eradication is important. It would be best if you found out who was affected and which means are infected. It might not always be necessary, but you should do it if it’s needed.

In recovery, administrators fix computer problems. They make sure the computers work properly and if there is a problem they fix them. It can include restoring systems from backup files, rebuilding systems from scratch, replacing harmful files with good ones, installing patches, changing passwords, and making your network safer.

4. Post-Event Activity

Learning about new threats and improving your team’s response is non-negotiable when it comes to securing your network and computers. You should also learn from the mistakes that you made in the past. This is why post-incident activity should involve anyone who experienced the breach.

Holding meetings where people talk about what has happened and how to make it better can help fix security issues, how it was fixed, and whether or not the solution worked. This meeting should be held within a few days of when the incident occurred.

Final Thoughts on Incident Response Plan for Faxing

When it comes to an incident response plan, you can’t be too prepared. Creating an IRP is an excellent place to start for any business that has more than one employee. The process of creating an IRP may seem daunting at first, but with the right plan in place and some practice time, you will reap the benefits for the long term.

Moreover, if you want to ensure that your faxes online are secure and encrypted, feel free to download our GLBA & HIPAA-compliant fax app that works on iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac devices.

The iFax app uses 256-bit AES encryption, giving our customers total confidence that what they send online is protected from the prying eyes of cyberattackers.