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Incident Management in Cyber Security

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Introduction : In the field of cybersecurity, incident management can be defined as the process of identifying, managing, recording, and analyzing the security threats and incidents related to cybersecurity in the real world. This is a very important step after a cyber disaster or before a cyber disaster takes place in an IT infrastructure. This process includes knowledge and experience. Good incident management can reduce the adverse effects of cyber destruction and can prevent a cyber-attack from taking place. It can prevent the compromising of a large number of data leaks. An organization without a good incident response plan can become a victim of a cyber-attack in which the data of the organization can be compromised at large. There is a five-step process for incident management in cybersecurity given by the ISO/IEC Standard 27035. They are as follows. Step-1 : The process of incident management starts with an alert that reports an incident that took place. Then comes the engagement of the incident response team (IRT). Prepare for handling incidents. Step-2 : Identification of potential security incidents by monitoring and report all incidents. Step-3 : Assessment of identified incidents to determine the appropriate next steps for mitigating the risk. Step-4 : Respond to the incident by containing, investigating, and resolving it (based on the outcome of step 3). Step-5 : Learn and document key takeaways from every incident. 

Some tips for security incident management :

  • Each and every organization needs to have a good and matured plan for the security incident management process, implementing the best process is very useful to make a comprehensive security incident management plan.
  • Create a security incident management plan with supporting policies including proper guidance on how incidents are detected, reported, assessed, and responded. It should have a checklist ready. The checklist will be containing actions based on the threat. The security incident management plan has to be continuously updated with security incident management procedures as necessary, particularly with lessons learned from prior incidents.
  • Creating an Incident Response Team (IRT) which will work on clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The IRT will also include functional roles like finance, legal, communication, and operations.
  • Always create regular training and mock drills for security incident management procedures. This improves the functionality of the IRT and also keep them on their toes.
  • Always perform a post-incident analysis after any security incident to learn from any success and failure and make necessary adjustments to the program and incident management processes when needed.
  • Establish clear communication channels: It’s important to establish clear communication channels within the Incident Response Team and with other stakeholders such as senior management, legal teams, and external agencies. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and can respond effectively during a security incident.
  • Implement a centralized incident tracking system: A centralized incident tracking system allows you to track the progress of incident response activities, monitor incidents in real-time, and share information across the team.
  • Develop incident response playbooks: Incident response playbooks are step-by-step guides that provide instructions on how to respond to specific types of security incidents. These playbooks can help ensure a consistent and effective response, and can be customized based on the organization’s needs.
  • Conduct regular vulnerability assessments: Regular vulnerability assessments can help identify potential security weaknesses before they are exploited by attackers. This can help prevent security incidents before they occur.
  • Consider outsourcing incident response: Some organizations may not have the necessary expertise or resources to handle security incidents internally. In these cases, outsourcing incident response to a third-party provider can be an effective option.
  • Ensure compliance with regulatory requirements: Depending on the industry and location, organizations may be subject to specific regulatory requirements for incident management. It’s important to ensure that incident management processes comply with these requirements to avoid any legal or financial consequences.

Necessary part of incident response : Always make a habit of collecting evidence and analyze forensics which is a necessary part of incident response. For these circumstances, the following things are needed.

  1. A well-defined policy to collect evidence to ensure that it is correct and very much sufficient to make it admissible in the Court of Law.
  2. It is also importantly needed to have the ability to employ forensics as needed for analysis, reporting, and investigation.
  3. The personnel of the IRT must be trained in cyber forensics, functional techniques and would also have some knowledge in the legal and governance.
  4. Proper chain of custody: It’s important to maintain a proper chain of custody for all evidence collected during the incident response process. This ensures that the evidence is admissible in court and helps establish its authenticity and integrity.
  5. Use of specialized tools: Incident response teams should have access to specialized tools for evidence collection and analysis, such as network and host-based forensics tools, memory forensics tools, and malware analysis tools.
  6. Documentation: All evidence collection and analysis activities should be well-documented to ensure that there is a clear and complete record of the incident response process. This can include log files, screenshots, and notes on activities performed.
  7. Preservation of evidence: It’s important to ensure that all evidence collected during the incident response process is properly preserved and protected from alteration, deletion, or destruction.
  8. Adherence to legal and regulatory requirements: Incident response teams must ensure that their evidence collection and analysis activities comply with legal and regulatory requirements. This can include following procedures for handling personally identifiable information (PII) and adhering to data protection regulations.
  9. Collaboration with law enforcement: In some cases, it may be necessary to collaborate with law enforcement agencies during the incident response process. This can involve sharing evidence and cooperating with investigations. It’s important to have a well-defined process for collaborating with law enforcement to ensure that all legal requirements are met.

Note – A strong incident management process is very much important in order to reduce the recovery costs, potential liabilities and most importantly reducing the damage to the victim (both at personal level and organizational level).

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Last Updated : 02 May, 2023
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