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Business continuity plan vs incident response

business continuity plan vs incident response
Business continuity plan vs incident response
Good business leaders proactively prepare for cyber incidents with plans that anticipate and minimize disruptions.
Posted in: Business Management
business continuity plan vs incident response
Business continuity plan vs incident response

Businesses must be ready to respond to any threat, especially after COVID-19. Ransomware and data breaches are only two examples of unknown online risks.

That's why preparation for such dangers is crucial. In fact, the only way to guarantee the security of the business is through proactive incident response management.

To help you get started, this post will walk you through developing an incident response and a business continuity plan. 

What is the difference between a business continuity plan and an incident response? 

What is the difference between a business continuity plan and an incident response

Internal and external risks are addressed via the business continuity plan. If your business has suffered damage or loss, you need a business continuity plan to help you recover. It outlines the necessary steps for running the company despite obstacles. In doing so, it specifies and records the nature of the occurrence. Assigns roles to team members during an incident. 

It also explains the various means of contact. In addition, a business continuity plan addresses team evaluation and regular plan updates.

However, in the realm of cybersecurity, an incident reaction is what's known as an internal security incident. This indicates that a change has occurred. Perhaps a virus or ransomware penetrated your system after an unauthorized user gained access to the network. 

The problem may be widespread, as if all computers were hacked or limited, like if only one stopped working. For instance, a crisis has arisen, and you need to follow a set procedure. 

Creating a business continuity plan 

Prepare for any and all disruptions by thinking of the worst-case scenario. You must revisit and revise your business's contingency plan on multiple occasions. It's crucial to have a backup plan. Plan B and Plan C are not acceptable alternatives. Every potential contributor should be considered, as there may be numerous. Get ready for the worst.

While it's essential to prepare for any eventuality, it's also important to give flexibility for the plan to be quickly adjusted when circumstances shift. Extreme situations might involve minute-to-minute shifts. It's one of the key reasons why the plan needs constant attention.

Now that you understand the features and benefits of a business continuity plan, you can follow these guidelines to develop your own. 

Create the team 

Involve any managers or experts from different departments or hire new ones that might be useful on the incident response (or crisis) team. Appoint a head honcho who can drive decisive action and maintain momentum.  

Define the objectives

The primary goal of your business continuity plan should be to guarantee that essential business operations are disrupted as little as possible. Operations, Human Resources, Public Relations, etc., are all examples of core company functions. However, a company's success depends on achieving various aims and objectives. Every business will be different because of factors like industry and size.  

Conduct a Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

If your company is in serious danger, a BIA can help you pinpoint it. After the data is identified, more investigation and analysis can be performed. When discussing situations that could result in reducing, modifying, or eliminating essential services or functions, be sure to involve the team. In a similar vein, write down every problem you encounter and the potential effect it has on your company.  

Identify the important business functions

Before deciding how your company will continue important operations during a crisis, you must first determine which functions are more important. Among a company's many responsibilities are attending to customers' needs, ensuring a steady supply of materials, keeping track of inventories, and meeting shipping targets. Equally applicable are e-commerce platforms and other business-related software.  

Focus on sensitive information

Locate the most important information, such as financial documents or other mission-critical data and associated access credentials. Locate their storage where they may be retrieved rapidly. The importance of the data to the company should also dictate how it is stored.

Backup the important data

Make copies of any data you can't afford to lose. Consider everything from client information to employee files to business emails. This also needs to be easily accessible in case of a disaster, allowing the company to get back on its feet quickly.

Organizations may have vast amounts of data stored digitally but still rely heavily on paper documents. Contracts, tax records, and employee files are all examples. To reduce the risk of losing necessary paperwork, scan hard copies whenever possible.

Establish a communication plan

Disaster situations necessitate effective crisis communication. An internal and external stakeholder communication plan should be implemented in your organization. Communications with vendors, partners, and staff can be sped up with the help of prewritten sample messages in the event of an emergency. Incident response teams can better coordinate their activities with the support of a well-thought-out communication plan.

Keep the plan updated  

The implementation of a business continuity plan is a continuous process. Its efficacy must be demonstrated through constant testing, measurement, review, and update. A team's readiness for an emergency can be tested through simulated scenarios. Based on the data, make adjustments to the plan and re-evaluate it.

Developing an incident response plan  

Any potential security breach requires rapid and thorough action, and that action can be facilitated by a well-developed incident response plan that directs employees at all levels. 

There are several key factors to consider when developing an incident response plan:

  1. Scope: Define the scope of the plan, including the types of incidents it covers and the stakeholders who are involved in the response.
  2. Roles and responsibilities: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the various team members and stakeholders involved in the response.
  3. Communication: Establish a communication plan to ensure that all relevant parties are kept informed during an incident.
  4. Response procedures: Develop detailed procedures for responding to different types of incidents, including steps for containment, eradication, recovery, and reporting.
  5. Testing and training: Regularly test and train on the incident response plan to ensure that all team members are familiar with their roles and responsibilities and that the plan is effective.
  6. Review and update: Periodically review and update the incident response plan to ensure that it remains relevant and effective.

By carefully considering these factors, organizations can develop an incident response plan that is tailored to their specific needs and that enables them to effectively respond to and recover from cyber incidents.

Response plans should be considered an integral aspect of the security plan for all companies, but especially those with significant data burden exposure.

Incident response TemplateEnter heading here...

Be prepared 

The key to effectively responding to any potential security event is thorough preparation. Create playbooks to help the SOC determine which incidents to prioritize and when to escalate them.

These should be broad and include a variety of topics, not just phishing but also distributed denial of service attacks, malware, insider threats, unauthorized access, and more. Playbooks and processes must be field-tested by the actual teams and players that will be using them. Practicing at a table is a great method to test your understanding and discover where you can make changes.

Identify the threat

The only way to effectively eliminate a security risk is first accurately to assess how extensive it is. Start with the initial infected piece of technology, or "patient zero." The point is to figure out what caused the breach in the first place, but you shouldn't limit your investigation to a single device.

The only way to accurately identify an incident is to collect actionable indicators of compromise. Instead of recreating the original infected device, you should try to pinpoint any distinctive indicators of compromise that can be used to scour your entire estate for more signs of compromise.

Containment of the threat

Successful event containment begins with an accurate assessment of the situation's breadth. In order to prevent an attack from spreading, the compromised devices in the estate are disconnected from the rest of the network.

Using containment may be possible to isolate a device that is the target of attack traffic for a limited amount of time. If a thorough investigation is to be conducted, which can take some time, then long-term confinement may be called for. As a possible first step, you may create a disc image and investigate the device using forensic techniques. This could lead to the development of more IOCs, necessitating a return to the identification stage.

Eradicate the threat

Once the situation has been brought under control, the threat can be eliminated. The root cause of a compromised device's situation will determine the answer. It is possible that the patching of devices, deactivation of malware, and deactivation of compromised accounts will all be necessary during the eradication phase of an incident.

Recovery process  

  The purpose of an incident's recovery phase is to get operations back to normal as soon as possible. It is possible to restore service if recent, uncorrupted backups exist. Alternatively, a clean recovery is only possible after rebuilding any compromised device. There may be a need for heightened surveillance of afflicted gadgets.

Learn from the incident and update the plan  

After the threat has been neutralized, the next step is to figure out how to prevent a recurrence. Those engaged in the incident should convene for a Post Incident Review (PIR) debriefing. This forum is for talking about the incident and how things went well or could be better next time. Here, the PIR's findings inform adjustments to the incident response plan, and new policies and playbooks are implemented.

What is the importance of an incident management plan?  

importance of an incident management plan

These recent events should have opened your eyes to the significance of emergency management if you had previously given it little consideration. This is a crucial tool for running your company smoothly.

Disruptions aren't only inconvenient and expensive; they can also spell doom for a company, especially a smaller one. If they can't get back up and running within five days following a crisis, 90% of small enterprises will fail within a year.

Without a contingency plan in place, businesses risk losing consumers and, in turn, revenue and goodwill.

In addition to preventing losses, here are some other reasons why all companies should have a plan in place for emergency management or continuity.

Keep the business running

It helps keep your company running smoothly in the face of adversity and lessens the impact on your bottom line. Indicating financial security reassures investors, partners, and customers in your business.

The success of every business depends on its ability to keep all of its personnel well-informed and on the same page. In a globalized business environment where many people work from home or in different locations, this can be a significant obstacle. These businesses need to spend money on a product that enables simple, instant communication.

Make people confident in your business

The confidence and resilience of customers and stakeholders can be boosted by investing in robust incident management systems and policies.

Your brand will fare better if you handle the crisis competently and have planned for every contingency. When a business handles a crisis with poise, strength, and consistency, it maintains consumer trust in the brand and improves its standing in the market.

Gain competitive advantage

Reassure existing consumers and convince potential new ones to switch to your company with a well-executed response. The way you handle a crisis says a lot about your business and its reputation. Create a narrative that is uplifting and inspiring. Quick thinking and immediate action in a time of crisis can give you a leg up on the competition.

Financial security  

Reduce the disruption to your business by acting swiftly and firmly during a crisis. Longer outages can lead to heavier losses. Minimize your losses by restoring functionality as quickly as possible.

Perform cyber threat exercises  

Perform cyber threat exercises ​

You can prepare for an actual attack by practicing different scenarios in advance through wargaming or even just some simple tabletop drills. Playbooks should be tested at least once a year by creating attack scenarios relevant teams can discuss. 

Cyber threat exercises, also known as "tabletop exercises," are simulations of a cyber incident that allow organizations to test their incident response plans and identify any weaknesses or gaps in their readiness. 

Here are some steps you can follow to conduct a cyber threat exercise:

  1. Identify the objectives of the exercise: What do you want to accomplish with the exercise? Do you want to test your incident response plan, or do you want to identify gaps in your organization's cyber defense posture?
  2. Choose the scenario: Select a scenario that is realistic and relevant to your organization. You can base the scenario on a real-life cyber incident or create a hypothetical scenario.
  3. Gather the right people: Involve key stakeholders in the exercise, including IT staff, senior management, and legal and communication professionals.
  4. Prepare the materials: Create materials such as a scenario narrative, simulated threat intelligence, and fake documents to be used during the exercise.
  5. Conduct the exercise: Follow the steps of the incident response plan as if the scenario were a real cyber incident. Pay attention to how the team responds to the incident and identify any areas where the plan could be improved.
  6. Debrief and review: After the exercise, conduct a debrief to discuss what went well and what could be improved. Use the insights gained from the exercise to update the incident response plan and address any identified gaps.

By regularly conducting cyber threat exercises, organizations can improve their preparedness and response to cyber incidents and reduce the impact of a real cyber attack.

This will also help identify any gaps in an incident response plan, which should be reviewed at least once a year.

Wrapping up 

There are several alternatives to guarantee your organization's emergency management is effective. A robust business continuity plan that is continually updated and reviewed can rescue your business. 

If your business ever has to deal with a crisis similar to one that has befallen other companies, you'll be glad you took the time to do some research and look at some instances of continuity plans that worked. 

In order to better synchronize recovery procedures and processes across the organization, businesses must begin to view incident response and business continuity functions through the same lens. 

Management teams may help make this happen by providing strategic guidance for integrating disaster recovery and incident response efforts.

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Friday, 27 January 2023

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