Cyberattacks occur daily. Because of this, keeping digital transactions, as well as other types of online information and data, safe is an ever-growing problem.That’s why a security incident management plan is so important.
Consumer trends continue to show a heavy reliance on online retail. In one study conducted by Statista, 16.1% of all retail sales occurred online this year. Since 2015, that demonstrates an 8.7% increase that is predicted to rise in the years to come.
When a cyberattack successfully breaches your security parameters, it can have severe consequences that can bankrupt or destroy your business. Having a security incident management plan in place before a breach occurs is an essential part of cybersecurity.
What is a Security Incident Management Plan?
The digital business world is exposed to cybersecurity risks 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many cyberattacks can be prevented with simple, well-planned security practices. However, not all cyberattacks are preventable.
A security incident management plan is not your first line of defense against cybercrimes. It is the next step – the plan you follow when your preventative measures fail.
Common Cybersecurity Threats
Some of the most common cybersecurity threats to an online business include:
- Advanced, Persistent Threats
- Credit Card / Payment Fraud
- Cryptocurrency Theft
- Email & Phishing Activities
- Insider & Accidental Threats
- Intellectual Property Theft
- Malware & Ransomware Viruses
- Password / Hacking Attacks
- Third-Party Vendor Risk
- Widget / Application Attacks
While you may already have invested in preventative measures, it is important to note that the individuals who perpetrate cybercrimes are constantly evaluating their tactics and evolving. This means it is a constant race between cybercriminal developments and preventative measures, which sometimes fail.
Importance of a Security Incident Management Plan
When it comes to online businesses, the effects of a cyberattack can range from minor inconveniences to complete devastation.
For example, as an online business, it is your responsibility to protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII) associated with your employees and customers. As a business that accepts online payments, it is also your responsibility to meet the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS).
Should a PII or PCI data breach occur, it can result not only in the loss of customer trust and the decimation of your brand’s reputation, but also in litigation.
A comprehensive security incident management plan is vital to how you are able to combat a successful cybersecurity attack, striving to quickly identify the root cause and mitigate any potential damages.
Security Incident Management: Expert Recommended Best Practices
Long-held business incident management practices have been adapted to the digital world. Experts recommend four of these practices to help manage a security incident. These include:
- Incident Lifecycle Management – Identifying the nature of the incident, as well as the current status of the issue, help support personnel to manage the cyberbreach and related fallout until a final resolution is implemented.
- Enforce Standardized Processes – Standardize processes not only help to improve rapid response capabilities; they also help to hold stakeholders to the same standards and keep them accountable.
- Impact Classification and Prioritization – Quickly identifying the systems or services that are affected helps support personnel to classify which areas were hardest hit, as well as what issues should be addressed first.
- Automation and Escalation – Escalating issues to the right personnel is essential to successfully addressing impacts as quickly as possible; automated services can ensure essential personnel are immediately identified and notified of a cyberattack.
A Comprehensive Security Incident Management Plan
Having a security incident management plan before a cyberattack is vital to any online business. Whether you are a blogger who issues newsletters, a non-profit that collections donations, or an online retailer – retroactively creating a plan to mitigate the damages of a cyberattack wastes precious time and likely compounds the resulting damages.
A security incident management plan should be well thought out and comprehensive. Incorporating the four best practices above, a comprehensive incident management plan should include the six steps listed below.
1. Incident Identification
Correct identification of the cyberbreach or incident is the first step to successful management of a security incident.
With so many ways a cybercriminal can attack an online business, identifying where the breach occurred, how it happened, and the scope of the compromise allows support staff to understand the depth of the impact. Other questions asked during this critical step include:
- Who discovered the incident?
- Have other areas been affected?
- Does the incident impact operations?
- Has the root cause been identified, and the point of entry ascertained?
At this stage, it is important to understand that the answers may not be immediately apparent. It is, however, important to at least know what questions need answering to come up with the best solution.
2. Incident Logging and Tracking
Proper logging and tracking of the incident and all areas that were affected, is the next step in a security incident management plan. Working with experts, like those at RSI Security, ensures all of your critical systems are audited and the full profile of the incident is flushed out, logged and tracked.
3. Investigation and Diagnosis
Continuing to log and track the incident and impacts, a thorough investigation of the problem should be conducted.
Questions that were initially asked, but had not resulted in answers, as well as a full understanding of the scope of the compromise are investigated during this step. As data is collected, it helps support staff to make an informed diagnosis of the problem. In short – this is the step where the root cause is identified.
4. Assignment or Escalation
Once the incident has been diagnosed and the scope of damages identified, tasks and responsibilities need to be issued to the correct personnel. Depending on the severity of the issue, some areas of concern might need to be escalated. (For example, if customer PII or PCI has been compromised – this issue must be addressed immediately.)
5. Resolution and Closure
As the issue is resolved, and each of the related tasks and assignments are closed, it is important to identify and implement preventative measures that can help protect your business from future attacks. Failure to do so is an error that could lead to a much more devastating cyberattack.
6. Customer Satisfaction
Often forgotten, customer satisfaction in the wake of a cyberattack should be the final steps to any comprehensive security incident management plan. An attack on your business can result in a degradation of customer satisfaction, as well as damages to your brand’s image.
Experts in security incident management can help to ensure your customers know what you have done to recover and protect their data, as well as how you plan to prevent future breaches.
The Benefits of a Security Incident Management Plan
The benefits of proactively investing in a security incident management plan are extensive. However, the four listed below are the most important when it comes to cybersecurity.
When a cyberattack brings your business down, every second is a loss. Having a security incident management plan already in place significantly reduces downtime after a cyberattack.
Equipped with a detailed action plan that outlines every different situation and response process, being prepared gets you back up and running quicker. Without one, support staff must scramble to come up with a plan after the attack has been discovered, which may be long after the initial damages already occurred.
Maintain Customer Trust & Protect Your Reputation
According to a 2017 study, whose findings were published in Forbes, 87% of consumers will invest in your competitor if they feel their data is not being responsibly protected by your company. The International Data Corporation (IDC) similarly found, in a 2019 study, that 78% of consumers affected by a data breach would take their business elsewhere.
These statistics alone should demonstrate how important it is to maintain customer trust, especially after a cyberattack.
Proactively having a plan that quickly identifies the breach, reduces downtime, and rapidly addresses any fallout is essential to retaining customers after a cyberattack. It also helps to protect your reputation because it shows you take their security seriously.
Remain Compliant with Regulations
Different industries have varying regulations. For example, websites relating to healthcare and legal services have extremely strict regulations when it comes to patient and client PII. Likewise, businesses that accept online payments must meet with PCI DSS standards.
Failure to comply with these regulations can result in serious penalties, including fines, criminal charges, and lawsuits.
Having a security incident management plan in place, prior to a cyberattack, can ensure you meet with those standards even if a breach occurs. By rapidly responding to a breach, a business demonstrates how important it views data security.
Detailed logging and tracking can further demonstrate how your business worked diligently to identify, correct, and restore services and security to your website. Furthermore, it shows immediately proactive responses to ensure a similar cyberattack never happens again.
Reduce Lost Revenue
When a cyberattack occurs, a comprehensive security incident management plan should already outline the different steps and tasks that must be completed before an issue if considered resolved. However, without one, you may find yourself scrambling to find support.
When a cyberattack occurs, the costs of emergency support can be substantial. (Coupled with potential lawsuits, these costs can shut your business down permanently.)
Instead of paying for emergency help, a proactive incident management plan offers affordable solutions that minimize the devastating impacts and potential financial penalties, as well as revenue loss due to downtime and customer abandonment.
Cybersecurity is an essential part of our digital world. Cyberthreats, however, are constant. Proactive cybersecurity is not limited to preventative measures; a comprehensive security incident management plan proactively outlines the most effective steps needed should a cyberattack breach your preventative measures.
A quality security incident management plan should include the following steps:
- Incident Identification – Quickly identify the where and when the cyberattack occurred and the initial scope of the compromise.
- Incident Logging and Tracking – Log and track everything associated with the cyberattack, including potentially affected areas and mitigation steps taken.
- Investigation and Diagnosis – Thoroughly investigate the cyberattack to appropriately diagnosis the breach and understand the associated damages.
- Assignment or Escalation – Assign tasks to the appropriate support personnel and escalate those that are high-priority issues.
- Resolution and Closure – Resolve each of the tasks associated with the cyberattack and implement security measures to prevent future data breaches.
- Customer Satisfaction – Strive to minimize impacts to customers and work towards ensuring customer satisfaction remains high.
The benefits of having a comprehensive incident management plan are plentiful. However, reduced downtime, maintaining customer trust, and protecting your reputation, as well as regulation compliance and a reduction in lost revenue are the most commonly cited.
Security Incident Management with RSI Security
Cybersecurity is a vital part of today’s business world. The experts with RSI Security fully understand that. Because of their years of experience, RSI Security also understands how important it is to have a plan in place before disaster hits.
From the moment a cyberattack is discovered, RSI Security provides immediate, custom support. Working alongside your own team, RSI Security utilizes state-of-the-art solutions that ensure a successful resolution is implemented as quickly as possible.
After the initial incident has been resolved, RSI Security continues to provide top-notch cybersecurity support. From hands-on support, to personalized assessments and solutions, our experts always strive to keep you and your company protected.
In a world that is constantly evolving, so are those who threaten our security. Let RSI Security help. Contact RSI Security today to learn more about our security incident management plan support as well as our other cybersecurity services.