The Power of Having a Cybersecurity Response Plan

Most businesses simply respond to cybersecurity attacks when they happen, leaving them vulnerable and scrambling to come up with a defense plan at the last minute. With proactive cybersecurity, your business can prevent losing thousands of dollars by deploying advanced security solutions and having an incident plan in place to respond to attacks. 

According to research conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a proactive security strategy backed by a fully engaged management team reduced the growth of cyberattacks and breaches by 53%. In other words, a security-first culture can cut vulnerability to cyberattacks in half.

There is power in proactive cybersecurity. Your cybersecurity measures need to be a multilayered approach, so you can have the controls in place to protect your business and stop cyber attacks. 

What is a cybersecurity response plan? 

Part of having proactive cybersecurity is having a plan in place in the event of a cyber incident. A proactive strategy gives your organization a strong defensive stance so you can mitigate as much risk as possible.  

What are practical ways to implement proactive cybersecurity? 

There are three main documents you can start with. 

Risk Analysis

This is a simple document that lists ALL the risks your company could be exposed to, what’s the likelihood of one of these risks becoming a reality and what’s the impact to your business if the risk was realized. It is important to know that these risks are more than just about IT. Your risk analysis should list EVERY risk you can identify in your business. My suggestion is don’t work alone when trying to identify all the risks in your business – risk is a team sport. Create a survey and work with your department heads. Some “buckets” to consider when thinking about risk are financial, legal, operational, regulatory and strategic.

Incident Response Plan

The next document to look at that goes hand in hand with the risk analysis is an incident response plan. You will sometimes see this referred to as an IRP. The purpose of an IRP is quite simple because, let’s face it, at some point in your business one of the above-identified risks is going to happen. The IRP is a simple document that has been thought out beforehand that lets everyone know what to do and what to expect when an identified risk is realized.

In its simplest form, an IRP is a set of instructions to help you detect, respond and recover from a risk that has been realized. From an IT perspective, some examples could include things like cybercrime, data loss and service outages that affect daily work. The six steps you need to think about when putting together an IRP are:

  • Preparation
  • Identification
  • Containment
  • Eradication
  • Recovery
  • Lessons Learned

Putting together an IRP takes a little more time and effort but trust me it is worth it and is a proven method of protecting your business.

Disaster Recovery Plan

The last document that everyone should have is a simple Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). This is really a more detailed document that outlines the steps you should take to recover from a failure. This could be a fire, a technology failure or a cybercrime that takes your business offline. Here is a typical structure of a Disaster Recovery Plan:

Goals – what the organization aims to achieve in a disaster, including the Recovery Time Object (RTO), the maximum downtime allowed for each critical system, and the Recovery Point Object (RPO), the maximum amount of acceptable data loss.

Personnel – who is responsible for executing the DR plan.

IT inventory – list hardware and software assets, their criticality, and whether they are leased, owned or used as a service.

Backup Procedures – how and where (exactly on which devices and in which folders) each data resource is backed up, and how to recover from backup.

Disaster Recovery Procedures – emergency response to limit damages, last-minute backups, mitigation and eradication (for cybersecurity threats).

Disaster Recovery Sites – a robust DRP includes a hot disaster recovery site – an alternative data center in a remote location that has all critical systems, with data replicated or frequently backed up to them. Operations can be switched over to the hot site when disaster strikes.

Restoration – procedures for recovering from complete systems loss to full operations.

Using these three documents in your business to identify, respond to and recover from a disaster will ensure that the next hack or disaster will not wipe your company from the face of the earth.

One last thought about risk is the concept of risk transference. Risk transference involves the contractual shifting of a risk you own to another party. This could be by hiring a company to manage your network or by purchasing insurance to cover the cost of a data breach.

As a business leader, you need to make sure that you have your basics covered when it comes to proactively prevent risk in your business. And you must have a plan in place in case disaster strikes. Interested in learning more about proactive cybersecurity? Give us a call today – 678-578-4932.

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We’ll discuss your IT requirements and assess whether we’re the right fit for you.


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