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How to Handle Cyber Security Incidents: 7-Step Plan

The truth is, cyber security incidents are becoming increasingly common, and organisations must be prepared to respond quickly and effectively to mitigate their impact. To do so, they must have an incident response plan in place that outlines the necessary steps to take when an incident occurs.

user icon Nicole Comendador
Tue, 02 May 2023
guidelines for cyber security incidents
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Cyber security guidelines are a set of rules and best practices that organisations should follow to ensure the protection of their digital assets.

These guidelines aim to prevent unauthorised access, data breaches, and other cyber threats that can compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information.

In this article, we break down the seven steps that organisations should follow when responding to a cyber security incident.

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What is a Cyber Security Incident?

Cyber security incidents refer to any unauthorised access or breach of an organisation’s digital assets, including sensitive information, networks, and systems. There are several types of cyber security incidents that organisations may face, including malware attacks, phishing scams, ransomware attacks, and denial-of-service attacks.

How to Handle Cyber Security Incidents

  1. Preparation
    The first step in incident response is to ensure that the organisation is prepared to handle a cyber security incident. This involves developing an incident response plan, identifying the team responsible for responding to incidents and conducting regular training and testing to ensure that everyone knows their role in the event of an incident.

  2. Identification
    The next step is to identify the incident. This involves monitoring systems and networks for suspicious activity, analysing logs, and investigating any alerts or reports of suspicious behaviour.

  3. Containment
    Once an incident has been identified, the next step is to contain it. This involves isolating affected systems and networks to prevent further damage and the spread of the incident.

  4. Analysis
    After the incident has been contained, the next step is to analyse it. This involves investigating the root cause of the incident, determining the extent of the damage, and identifying any compromised systems or data.

  5. Eradication
    Once the incident has been analysed, the next step is to eradicate it. This involves removing any malware or other malicious code, restoring affected systems and networks to their pre-incident state, and ensuring that any vulnerabilities that were exploited are patched.

  6. Recovery
    After the incident has been eradicated, the next step is to recover from it. This involves restoring any affected systems or data, verifying that all systems and networks are functioning properly, and monitoring for any further signs of malicious activity.

  7. Lessons learned
    The final step in incident response is to learn from the incident. This involves conducting a post-incident review to identify any weaknesses in the incident response plan, updating the plan accordingly, and conducting additional training and testing to ensure that the organisation is better prepared for future incidents.

The priority should always be to contain the incident and prevent any further damage. This may involve shutting down affected systems and networks, isolating affected devices, and disabling network access.

Once the incident has been contained, the focus should shift to analysing the incident, determining the root cause, and identifying any affected systems or data.

From there, the organisation can take steps to eradicate the incident, restore affected systems and data, and implement measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Conclusion

Cyber security incidents can have a significant impact on an organisation’s operations and reputation. Organisations must be prepared to respond quickly and effectively to mitigate the impact of these incidents.

By following a structured incident response plan and taking immediate action to contain, analyse, eradicate, recover, and learn from the incident, organisations can minimise the damage and better protect their digital assets.

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