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Apr 27, 2024

An Incident Response Plan Takes the Pressure Off


Hillstone Networks is firmly committed to the idea of developing an incident response plan (IRP). It ranks right up there with things like network detection and response (NDR) and cloud workload protection platforms (CWPPs). With a solid IRP supported by the right technology solutions, an organization is equipped to deal with just about any threat that might come its way.

A Cybersecurity Roadmap

The IRP is often described as a cybersecurity roadmap that guides an organization along the journey of identifying, mitigating, eradicating, and recovering from security incidents. Yet one of its most important benefits cannot be described in technical terms. Here it is – taking the pressure off the security team when threats actually materialize.

Think in terms of following a route on a map while traveling from a known starting point to an unknown destination. A map can provide turn-by-turn instructions that limit surprises and reduce the need to make decisions on-the-fly. Without a map and a predetermined route to follow, getting to that unknown destination can be an adventure rife with pitfalls.

Cybersecurity is no different. At the moment a threat materializes, the security team springs into action. Decisions are made and strategies are deployed. But what if there is no plan in place? The security team may be left to guess and hope they get it right. Yet the added pressure of not knowing exactly what to do only increases the likelihood of getting it wrong.

The Four Phases of Incident Response

Incident response is not a single action. It is a series of actions divided into four phases. How an organization behaves during each of these phases determines eventual outcomes. Here are the phases:

  1. Preparation – Long before a single threat materializes, organizations prepare by drafting an IRP document outlining the details of how threats will be managed. In addition, an incident response team consisting of representatives from multiple departments is assembled.
  1. Threat Detection – The second phase is all about identifying and analyzing potential threats. Proper threat detection includes monitoring, data analysis, reporting, and deploying automated threat detection systems.
  1. Threat Containment – When a threat materializes, it needs to be contained and eradicated. At the forefront of this third phase is preventing the threat from expanding beyond the point at which it was detected. It cannot be allowed to compromise any additional assets.
  1. Incident Recovery – The fourth and final phase is recovering after a threat has been eliminated. It includes data restoration, incident documentation, incident analysis, and a path from moving forward while preventing future damage from similar attacks.

The IRP includes components relating to all four phases. An IRP document should be thorough and comprehensive, but its language should also be direct and to the point. Document language doesn’t have to be complicated. It shouldn’t be. Everyone involved in incident response should be able to understand IRP documents without issue.

The Risks of Not Having an IRP

Hillstone Networks recommends, without reservation, developing and maintaining an IRP. Not having one in place jeopardizes an organization’s ability to maintain the highest risk posture. The lack of an IRP could mean:

  • Excessive downtime in the event of an attack.
  • Financial and data losses.
  • Poor after-the-fact decision-making.
  • A lack of regulatory compliance.
  • Cybersecurity lessons learned the hard way.

If your organization does not yet have an IRP in place, there is no time to waste. Cybersecurity threats are everywhere. They are coming at your organization from every angle. It is time to put together a viable IRP followed by putting it into action. We can help with state-of-the-art solutions and years of industry know-how.