According to Cybersecurity Ventures, it’s predicted there is a ransomware attack once every 11 seconds. Cyberattacks and data breaches are happening so frequently that it’s no longer a matter of if your organization gets targeted, but when. Would your business be able to stand up to a cyberattack or would it fold like a deck of cards? If you need to protect your company from a cyberattack, a cybersecurity preparedness plan can help.
What Is a Cybersecurity Preparedness Plan?
Also known as an incident response plan, this particular strategy is designed to help you defend your organization against a cyberattack. It is essentially a set of instructions you can follow to prepare for, detect, respond to, and recover from a data breach. Although most cybersecurity preparedness plans tend to focus exclusively on IT like malware detection, data theft, and service outages, it should encompass multiple aspects of your business.
While there are cybersecurity preparedness plan frameworks like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), these frameworks only provide general guidelines on how to respond to a cyberattack. As a result, frameworks like the NIST should be considered templates rather than a replacement for creating your own cybersecurity preparedness plan. A cybersecurity preparedness plan should be more specific, actionable, and tailored to your company’s needs.
How To Write a Cybersecurity Plan
Whether you’re a big tech company or small retail store, any business that has digital assets is at risk of experiencing a cyberattack. The purpose of an incident response policy is to reduce network downtime. But how do you create a cybersecurity preparedness plan?
The easiest way to make a cybersecurity preparedness plan is to get an expert’s help. For example, Americom is a managed print and IT services provider with experience in helping clients overcome their IT challenges. We leverage our knowledge of data breach response best practices to help you develop an incident response strategy that makes sense for your company.
If you want to try and create a preparedness plan on your own, we’ve put together a list of steps you can follow. In this blog, we’re going to cover the five phases of incident response: preparation, detection, response, recovery, and post-incident follow up.
The first phase of an incident response plan is preparation. Like getting ready to make a meal, this stage is all about gathering everything you need to meet your ultimate goal—protecting data, minimizing damage, and enabling your organization to recover after an incident. Preparation starts by documenting, outlining, and explaining your team’s roles and responsibilities. This can include establishing a security plan that guides your cybersecurity preparedness plan, which may include:
- Determining the location, sensitivity, and value of your data.
- Figuring out if you have enough IT resources to adequately respond to an attack.
- Getting executives onboard so your plan has full approval.
- Assigning roles and responsibilities across departments.
- Establishing a plan that includes IT staff and senior leadership.
- Create procedures for your IT to receive clear and actionable alerts if malware is detected.
The second phase of a cybersecurity preparedness plan is detection. As you may have guessed, this stage is about identifying known and unknown threats. This is done through monitoring, alerting, and reporting on suspicious network activity. If something is discovered, your incident response team should act immediately to collect and document information such as forensic evidence, code samples, and more. The more additional information you have, the easier it is to determine the severity, type, and danger of the incident.
A few other things you’re going to want your team to do is:
- Start using proactive tools that allow you to scan everything in your network from servers to virtual hosts.
- Use tried and true solutions like endpoint detection and response and next generation antivirus software.
- Perform regular assessments to ensure your network wasn’t compromised without your knowledge. This would be especially helpful for identifying zero-day vulnerabilities (a type of security gap in a device or software that’s been disclosed, but not patched).
How you respond and the time it takes for you to respond to an incident can determine how much damage is caused by the cyberthreat. Responding can range from analyzing a threat to isolating and removing it from the network. It’s necessary to respond to incidents as soon as possible to give the threat less time to wreak havoc on your documents and files.
Few other ways to respond include:
- Updating firewalls and network security to capture evidence to be used later for forensics.
- Contacting law enforcement if applicable.
- Talking with your legal team to examine compliance risks.
Once a threat is taken care of and purged from your systems, it’s time to begin the recovery process. In addition to restoring your systems to their pre-incident state, recovery focuses on making sure the threat can never invade your network again. This can be done through patches, vulnerability assessments, and system integrity checks.
Immediately following the recovery step, the last phase in a cybersecurity preparedness plan should be the follow up. In this stage, your incident response team reviews how the incident occured and creates a report detailing what happened. This process may also include updating your threat intelligence to identify what worked and what didn’t work with your incident response plan.
Stay Safe With Americom
If you want to keep your company protected from cyberthreats, reach out to Americom Imaging Systems. We have been helping clients in the St. Louis, Missouri, area fight off cyberthreats for years. Through our robust cybersecurity solutions, you can rest easy knowing your network has all the protection it needs.
Contact us today to learn more.