Incident Management Services

A recent IBM survey found that 77% of organizations lack a consistent cybersecurity incident response plan across their enterprise. This shortcoming highlights a concerning trend in today's cybersecurity landscape.

Cybersecurity incidents have become increasingly sophisticated, frequent, and damaging, making it essential for organizations to have a well-defined and consistently applied incident response plan. To address this issue, organizations should prioritize developing and implementing a comprehensive incident and response management strategy. 

Continue reading to learn more about applying incident management strategies in your organization and best practices from NIST and CISA in incident detection and response. 

What Is Incident Management?

TGartner defines incident management as a process that helps teams respond to and address unplanned events that can affect service quality or service operations. In other words, incident management is the overarching strategy for how your organization handles cybersecurity incidents such as data breaches, ransomware or malware infiltration, or any other security breaches. Incident management involves the processes, procedures, and practices organizations implement effectively detect, respond, mitigate, and recover from cybersecurity incidents. 

By establishing and enhancing your incident management process, you will be more prepared to effectively handle cybersecurity incidents and improve and strengthen your overall cybersecurity posture.

5 Benefits of Incident Management

Implementing a robust incident management process offers numerous benefits for organizations. IBM lists high-level advantages such as faster problem resolution, better user experience, more operational efficiency, deeper insights, and meeting service-level agreements. 

Efficient Incident Resolution

Incident management provides a structured framework for handling cybersecurity incidents while addressing incidents promptly. Your organization will reduce the time to recover and minimize the potential damage. A well-defined process enables a coordinated and systematic approach to incident handling.

Minimized Impact

Incident management helps mitigate the impact of security incidents. Incident management processes aim to restore normal operations quickly, minimizing downtime and business disruption. By swiftly containing incidents, organizations can limit the extent of security breaches, financial losses, and reputational damage. 

Cybersecurity Resilience

Establishing an incident management process contributes to the overall resilience of an organization's cybersecurity posture. Incident management serves multiple purposes, such as enhancing incident preparedness. By identifying security gaps and fortifying your security posture, this proactive approach enhances your organization’s readiness to respond swiftly and effectively when an incident occurs.

Improving Stakeholder Trust 

Organizations with an incident management process garner more trust and confidence from their customers, knowing what security controls are in place to protect their sensitive information and assets. Customers, partners, and investors are more likely to continue doing business with an organization that can demonstrate a robust incident management process.

Cost Savings

Swift incident response and containment can help prevent data loss, intellectual property theft, and other costly consequences. Documenting your incident management process can reduce the time and effort spent on incident response, as teams know the proper steps to address potential incidents. 

The five benefits outlined above highlight a need for incident management processes. In addition to your overarching incident management strategy, you also need incident detection and response strategies. 

Incident Management vs. Incident Detection and Response

Incident management and incident detection and response are two different strategies that complement each other. Often used interchangeably, they serve different purposes and are essential for organizations to implement.

Incident management is the overall process and coordination of activities during an incident. It involves establishing policies, procedures, and protocols to ensure a structured and organized response. Incident detection and response focuses on the tactical and technical aspects of handling an incident.

What Is Incident Detection and Response

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST, defines incident detection and response (IDR) as “Identifying  threats by actively monitoring assets and finding anomalous activity.” IDR is the strategy responsible for how quickly and effectively you can recover from a security incident.

4 Phases of Incident Response Planning, According to NIST

As critical as your incident management process, your organization needs an incident response plan. Should you need guidance forming your incident response process, NIST provides four major phases: 

  1. Preparation
  2. Detection and Analysis
  3. Containment, Eradication,, and Recovery
  4. Post-Incident Recovery 

NIST further outlines their four-step process in the NIST Computer Security Incident Handling Guide, widely recognized by industry leaders and summarized below.

Phase 1: Preparation

The first phase of the incident response plan is preparation, and it involves getting your organization ready for a cyberattack or other security incident. This step recommends methodologies, tools, and resources that will be valuable during incident handling. For example, you should have an incident handler and team trained to react. They should have a communications plan and the proper resources to respond (e.g., smartphones, laptops, contact information, etc.).

During the preparation phase, you should also consider the best practices for securing your networks, systems, and applications. NIST’s recommendations include the following:

Phase 2: Detection and Analysis

During the second phase, you’ll understand how to detect and analyze the most common malicious activities. While you can’t prepare for every security incident, knowing the common ones and developing incident-handling strategies will help you be more prepared. NIST identifies eight common attack vectors such as:

  1. External or removable media including USB drives.
  2. Attrition and reduction of cybersecurity capabilities
  3. Web content, data theft, and HTML code injection.
  4. Email phishing attacks.
  5. Impersonation and business email compromise.
  6. Improper usage of corporate assets.
  7. Loss or theft of equipment of cell phones and iPads.

Once you understand these threat vectors, you can better identify indicators of these attacks by enabling better early detection capabilities. And finally, as part of this phase, you’ll also analyze, validate, and document each threat.

Phase 3: Containment, Eradication, and Recovery

During the third phase, NIST recommends choosing a containment strategy based on the type of incident. Incidents range from email phishing attempts, malware, ransomware, spyware, insider threats, computer network errors, etc. Each incident has a unique containment strategy.

Following the containment of an incident, the eradication phase becomes necessary to eliminate all elements associated with the incident. This includes removing malware, deactivating compromised user accounts, and addressing exploited vulnerabilities. The eradication process involves identifying all affected hosts within the organization to ensure proper remediation. In some instances, eradication may not be required or carried out concurrently with the recovery phase.

During the recovery phase, administrators work towards restoring systems to their normal operational state, verifying their functionality, and addressing any vulnerabilities to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Phase 4: Post-Incident Recovery

One of the frequently overlooked yet crucial aspects of incident response is learning and improving. If your organization experiences a cyber incident, your response team will gain insight. One way to ensure this happens effectively is to host a meeting with all key players after the incident to discuss the lessons learned. This meeting serves as an opportunity to achieve closure by reviewing the details of the incident, the actions taken to address it, and evaluating their effectiveness. Some questions to ask during this meeting are: 

By addressing these questions and actively seeking lessons from each incident, you can strengthen the organization's overall security posture.

Now that you understand the phases that go into an incident response plan, there are best practices to follow as well from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

CISA Best Practices for Incident Response Plans

According to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), multiple steps exist after you’ve developed your incident response plan.

CISA elaborates on these recommendations and more in their report, Incident Response Plan Basics

GenuineXs Advanced Incident Detection and Response Services

The right incident management strategy is mission-critical. If you’re looking for guidance, GenuineXs offers Advanced Incident Detection and Response Services. 

Our advanced incident detection and response service allows enterprise clients to detect and respond to security incidents in real-time, helping them minimize a breach's impact and prevent further damage.)

Contact one of our cybersecurity experts to discuss incident management for your organization.

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