Much as your business will practice its plan for getting out of the building in case of fire, it also needs to practice its response to a cyber attack. Your response ideally will be nearly automatic, and the way to make it so is to practice repeatedly. Read on to learn more about an incident response plan (IRP) and practicing the response to a cyber attack.


The Importance of an Incident Response Plan


An Incident Response Plan (IRP) shares a close connection to a Disaster Recovery Plan, in that it outlines a company’s response to a cyber attack that results in a data breach. An effective plan is a “combination of people, process and technology that is documented, tested and trained toward in the event of a security breach.” The primary goals of the IRP are to mitigate damage (to data, network, revenue and reputation) and to get your business back up and running as soon as possible. For this to happen, every worker needs to know their role and responsibilities, including the first thing to do if a data breach occurs. For example, a worker gets a suspicious email that might be a “phishing” attempt. Do they know who to report it to, and also not to click on suspicious links? Depending on the size of your company, you may have an in-house team, or the response may be distributed among more than one team, each in a different location. No matter which approach you use, your IRP will document how you plan to handle an emergency.


Practicing Your Plan


Documenting what your company plans to do to respond to a cyber incident is a great start. Your workers need to be trained and your plan tested, so you know how well it works. By staging a mock incident such as sending a fake phishing email or testing your backups, you can determine how well your workers respond, and whether they’re prepared. Rehearsing the process for responding needs to happen numerous times, so the proper response becomes automatic. Not only that, frequent testing will help you find any flaws or weak spots in your plan and correct them, thus fine-tuning your response. Both planned and unplanned drills will give a good picture of your preparation.


Having an IRP in place is just the beginning. Practice makes your IRP plan as strong as possible. For help with your plan, contact your trusted technology advisor today.

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