A robust incident response program is critical to managing cybersecurity incidents and mitigating potential damage to sensitive data and digital assets. The containment phase of incident response helps prevent the spread of threats from one area of your IT infrastructure to another. Read on to learn more about best practices for incident containment.
Breakdown of the Containment Phase of Incident Response
To achieve robust incident management within a security program, organizations must optimize the processes involved in the containment phase of incident response. For the containment phase of incident response to work effectively, organizations must understand:
- How containment fits into other incident response phases
- Best practices and considerations for containing security incidents
Once optimized, the containment phase of incident response will help you effectively mitigate security incidents before they materialize into threats.
What are the Phases of Incident Response?
In general, there are seven phases of incident response, which may vary with each organization’s specific security program, business needs, or other extrinsic factors.
The seven phases of incident response include:
- Preparation – Lay the groundwork even before an incident occurs. The tasks here inform the execution of the remaining incident response phases and include:
- Assigning incident management roles and responsibilities
- Managing and delegating incident management tasks
- Establishing escalation plans for high-risk threats
- Threat detection – Develop systems to classify threats and ensure effective downstream threat prioritization and incident management.
- Containment – Enforce containment, which quarantines identified threats to prevent them from affecting other areas of your IT infrastructure.
- Investigation – Once a threat is contained, focus on investigative discovery and analysis to understand the root cause of the security incident.
- Eradication – Remove any threats that have been identified, beginning with those found to be of the highest immediate risk to your IT assets.
- Recovery – Restore IT assets and data integrity to the extent possible.
- Follow-up – Follow up with outcomes of the previous six stages to ensure that the entire incident response process is working effectively.
Of the seven phases of incident response, containment requires extensive decision-making to determine whether a threat poses minimal or significant harm to an entire IT infrastructure.
Strategies for Effective Containment of Security Incidents
The containment phase of incident response will look different for each incident you deal with and may depend on several factors. It is critical to carefully define the criteria for containing incidents across the incident management phases. It also helps to leverage threat intelligence when optimizing incident containment and overall incident management.
Another consideration here may be the regulatory compliance framework(s) to which your organization is subject. Depending on your industry, location, and payment infrastructure, among other factors, you may need to follow specific incident prevention, containment, and reporting protocols. The efficacy of containment may also impact breach response—for example, HIPAA requires different reporting procedures for larger breaches impacting 500 or more individuals. If the spread can be contained, less stringent reporting may be required.
Criteria for Incident Containment
The following criteria are useful in determining a suitable strategy for incident containment:
- Potential for damage to IT assets or loss thereof
- Loss of availability of critical services (e.g., networks, externally rendered services)
- Need for time and resources to implement containment
- Level of containment effectiveness
- Loss of service during containment period
More importantly, it is critical to ascertain if an incident might pose more harm when contained via a delayed containment strategy. Similarly, some threats might be more harmful if they are contained than if eradicated or escalated immediately.
Threat Intelligence and Incident Containment
Since threats may look different with each security incident, it helps to optimize incident containment to increase quarantine efficiency. With the help of threat intelligence tools, you can enhance the containment phase of incident response, ensuring threats are appropriately quarantined.
Per the NIST’s recommendations, threat intelligence for robust incident containment can be developed by:
- Conducting an Internet search to learn about similar threat patterns that have been reported
- Obtaining data from industry-recognized incident databases that report on real-time threats
- Validating the IP addresses used to launch threats and cross-referencing them with IP addresses used in previous or similar incidents
Beyond optimizing incident containment via developing threat intelligence, it also helps to use an incident handling checklist to ensure that incidents are handled effectively, mitigating the potential for widespread damage.
Ultimately, the containment phase of incident response is best optimized with the help of an incident management partner, who will help guide on best practices for containing incidents and help streamline your overall incident management strategy.
Achieve Robust Incident Containment
Securing your digital real estate from cybersecurity incidents depends on an effective containment phase of incident response, which informs overall incident management. As a leading incident management partner, RSI Security will help you optimize all of the incident response phases, ensuring minimal disruptions to business continuity if a breach occurs.
Contact RSI Security today to learn more about robust incident containment!