5 Steps To Successfully Develop An Incident Response Plan

May 26 2023|

Protecting your business from security breaches is crucial, and an effective incident response process can help mitigate damage and ensure a successful recovery. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through building a robust incident response process in five essential steps: preparation, detection and analysis, containment and mitigation, eradication, and recovery, and lessons learned and improvement. 

By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of creating an incident response process to safeguard your business. 

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What Is An Incident Response?

Incident response is a systematic approach to preparing for, detecting, containing, and recovering from security incidents. 

The process includes:

  • Identifying potential threats
  • Analyzing the scope and severity of the incident
  • Containing the incident and limiting further damage
  • Eradicating the root cause of the incident and restoring affected systems and data

Don’t miss the opportunity to fortify your business against potential security threats. By reaching out to WireX Systems, you’ll discover how our expertise can assist you in constructing a solid incident response process tailored to your specific needs.

What is an Incident Response?


Five Steps Of Incident Response

These five steps play a crucial role in the incident response process in safeguarding organizations against various security threats. This well-defined procedure equips businesses with the necessary tools to swiftly identify, mitigate, and bounce back from security incidents, ensuring minimal disruption and damage.

By diligently implementing an incident response plan, your organization will be well-prepared to tackle any security breach head-on. As a result, you can rest assured knowing that an efficient and effective solution protects your valuable assets and reputation.

Steps of Incident Response


Step 1 – Preparation

Essentially, preparation lays the foundation for every stage that follows, making it the most vital step.

During this phase, it is crucial to identify possible threats and risks, assign roles and responsibilities to team members, and establish clear communication channels and protocols. By doing so, we can ensure a smooth and effective response to any incident that may arise.


Identifying Potential Threats And Risks

It’s important to look at the whole setup – systems, networks, storage, and who has access to what. Common threats and risks include malware, phishing attacks, ransomware, data breaches, and malicious insiders. 

By identifying these, you can create a plan to safeguard your organization with security measures, policies, procedures, and user education.


Establishing Roles And Responsibilities

Establishing roles and responsibilities ensures all team members understand their part and that tasks are allocated effectively. Designate an incident response coordinator who will be the primary point of contact in overseeing the process, and making decisions.


Defining Communication Channels And Protocols

Set up communication channels for the incident response team and other stakeholders, including the legal team, IT team, and executive team. Clearly define and document these channels to facilitate smooth communication. 

In order to achieve seamless collaboration during critical incidents, establish well-defined communication protocols. By specifying the nature of information to be shared, setting communication frequency, and clarifying stakeholder roles and responsibilities, it can ensure that all parties remain informed and crucial details are not overlooked.


Step 2 – Detection And Analysis

Detection and analysis play a huge role in safeguarding the organization from potential security incidents. By implementing a comprehensive monitoring and alerting system, it can proactively identify and evaluate any potential threats.

Conducting a thorough initial triage and assessment allows all parties to accurately determine the scope and severity of the incident. 

Investing in a robust detection and analysis process is essential for securing the organization’s future. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you require further information or assistance, WireX Systems is one call away to assist you in quickly determining the difference between suspicion and confirmed malicious activity with the help of Net2ition network detection and response solutions.



Setting Up Monitoring And Alerting Systems

To detect and alert potential security incidents, establish both active and passive monitoring systems. Active systems continuously monitor for suspicious activities, while passive systems detect changes or anomalies. 

Customize these systems based on the specific threats you may encounter and the sensitivity of the data you’re protecting. For example, if you are most likely to be targeted by malicious hackers, you may want to set up an intrusion detection system (IDS) to detect suspicious activity.

Establish a plan to address alerts efficiently and assign responsibilities to the appropriate personnel.


Conducting Initial Triage And Assessment

Quickly evaluate the incident to determine its scope and severity. 

The triage and assessment process should involve the collection of relevant information, such as system logs, user activity, and network traffic. This information should be analyzed to determine the source of the incident, the extent of the damage, and the potential vulnerabilities that may have been exploited. 

Based on this assessment, the incident response team should develop an action plan to contain and mitigate the incident. This plan should include steps to limit further damage, such as disabling affected accounts or isolating affected systems from the network.

The plan should also include steps to identify and remediate any vulnerabilities that may have been exploited. Swift execution is essential to minimize damage.


Determining The Scope And Severity Of The Incident

To determine the scope and severity of an incident:

  • Identifying affected systems. This involves looking at the systems that have been impacted by the incident such as servers, applications, databases, and other systems.
  • Identify the data that has been affected including any confidential information, personal data, or other sensitive data that may have been exposed or compromised.
  • Assess the potential damage caused by the incident e.g., potential financial, legal, and reputational damage.

Protect your organization from the impact of security incidents with WireX Systems. With our NDR platform and expert guidance, you can minimize the damage to your business. Schedule a demo today and discover how we can help you determine the scope and severity of security incidents.

Check this article: How To Identify And Avoid Incident Response Bottlenecks for more information about incident reports.


Step 3 – Containment And Mitigation

Containing the incident and limiting further damage are crucial for a successful incident response process. 

Develop and execute a mitigation plan that includes restoring systems, recovering data, and addressing vulnerabilities. Engage relevant stakeholders and subject matter experts to ensure proper execution and compliance with regulatory requirements.


Containing The Incident And Limiting Further Damage

Identify the affected systems and data, then take immediate action to limit the spread of the incident. Develop and execute a mitigation plan tailored to the specific incident, and engage IT, security, legal, and compliance professionals as needed. This collaboration will minimize the impact and prevent similar incidents in the future.


Developing And Executing A Mitigation Plan

Create a comprehensive mitigation plan to reduce the incident’s impact, contain it, and prevent further damage. This plan should include steps to: 

  • Disconnect affected systems from the network and/or disable accounts
  • Isolate affected systems to a separate network segment
  • Block malicious IP addresses and domains
  • Disable malicious services and processes
  • Restore affected systems and data from backups
  • Reset passwords and implement multi-factor authentication and strengthen security measures 

Test, review, and execute the plan in a timely manner, monitoring progress and making adjustments as necessary. Evaluate the plan’s success, document the results which can be used for future assessments, and learn from the experience.


Engaging Relevant Stakeholders And Subject Matter Experts

Involve relevant stakeholders and experts to ensure effective and efficient incident management.  Keep them informed throughout the incident response process, providing regular updates on progress and any changes to the response plan.


Step 4 – Eradication And Recovery

After detecting and containing the security incident, the next step is to remove the root cause of the incident and restore the affected systems and data. The goal is to verify that the incident is fully resolved and the systems are back to their pre-incident state.


Removing The Root Cause Of The Incident

Identify and remove the root cause of the incident by a thorough analysis to determine its source. This could involve analyzing logs, reviewing system configurations, or conducting a forensic investigation.

Once the root cause has been identified, the organization can take the necessary steps to address it. This may involve patching systems, updating configurations, or replacing outdated hardware or software.


Restoring Affected Systems And Data

Restoration processes will vary based on the security incident type and damage extent. In some cases, systems and data may need to be wiped and restored from backups; in other cases, only specific components may require restoration.

It is crucial to take immediate action to restore all impacted systems and data in a secure manner. This process should encompass the elimination of malicious code or malware, reversing any unauthorized modifications, and updating all susceptible systems to prevent further complications.

Verify the systems and data are secure by running security scans, conducting manual reviews, and other methods, ensuring the incident is fully contained and systems and data are secure.


Verifying That The Incident Has Been Fully Resolved

This process should include an in-depth analysis of the timeline, containment and mitigation strategies, and the steps taken for eradication and recovery. Additionally, evaluate the effectiveness of the incident response process and identify areas where improvements can be made. 

Review logs and data associated with the incident, such as system and application logs and network traffic logs. This examination can reveal any missed steps or areas for improvement in the response process.

After the review, conduct a final check of all affected systems and data, ensuring their restoration, confirm security measures are in place, and verify new security measures.


Step 5 – Lessons Learned And Improvement

The last step focuses on learning from the incident and enhancing the response process. This stage involves a post-mortem analysis, pinpointing areas of improvement, and implementing corrective actions and continuous improvement measures.


Conducting A Post-Mortem Analysis Of The Incident

Conducting a post-mortem analysis of an incident is an important step in the incident response process. This step allows businesses to identify areas for improvement in the incident response process and to develop corrective actions and continuous improvement.

The analysis should involve a multidisciplinary team reviewing the incident timeline, scope, severity, and response measures. The team should also assess the incident response plan, procedures, and relevant documentation to identify gaps and create improvement measures. 

The team should also document their findings and communicate them to stakeholders.


Identifying Areas For Improvement In The Incident Response Process

Identify improvements to ensure your organization is equipped to respond effectively to future incidents. Consider all aspects, including personnel roles, communication channels, and tools employed. 

Seek areas for improvement, such as introducing new tools or changing personnel roles. Then document any changes made.

Is your incident response plan up to date? Your response plan should be a “living document” and should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. Let WireX Systems help you assess your current plan and implement any necessary changes. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and receive expert feedback from the team.


Implementing Corrective Actions And Continuous Improvement Measures

Corrective actions should be based on the findings of the post-mortem analysis. Continuous improvement measures include regular assessment of the incident response process to identify areas of improvement, such as outdated procedures or inadequate resources. The organization should also identify any new threats or risks, and develop plans to address them.

Regular training and drills should be conducted to ensure that everyone is familiar with the process and can respond quickly and effectively.


Final Thoughts

An effective incident response process is a critical aspect of an organization’s security posture. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create a comprehensive plan to prepare for, detect, contain, and recover from security incidents, ensuring your organization is ready to respond swiftly and effectively.

Build an effective incident response process with WireX Systems and ensure your organization is ready to respond swiftly and effectively to security incidents. Our platform simplifies alert triage, accelerates incident response, removes blind spots, and enhances DLP capabilities, providing you with the tools you need to detect, contain, and recover from security incidents. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you build your incident response plan.

Read similar recent articles, be informed about matters relating to technology:



What is the most important step in incident response?

Preparation is crucial in incident response, as it ensures the incident is handled quickly and effectively. This involves identifying threats, establishing roles, and defining communication channels and protocols.


What is SOC Incident Response?

SOC (Security Operations Center) Incident Response is the process used by organizations to respond to security threats that have been detected by the SOC team. It involves a combination of processes and procedures to identify, contain, and remediate security incidents.


What is the difference between an alert and an incident?

An alert is a notification that something out of the ordinary has occurred within an environment. An incident is an event that requires a response and could potentially cause harm to the organization.


What does NIMS stand for?

NIMS stands for National Incident Management System. It is a framework designed by the Department of Homeland Security to help organizations prepare, manage, and respond to any emergency situation or disaster.


What is the ITIL incident process?

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) incident process is a set of steps used to manage and resolve incidents. It consists of five stages: identification, categorization, prioritization, investigation and resolution, and closure.


What is SOC vs. NOC?

SOC (Security Operations Center) is a team of security analysts that monitor and investigate security incidents, while NOC (Network Operations Center) is a team of network technicians that monitor and maintain network infrastructure and services.

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