Guide to Effective Incident Response

Guide to Effective Incident Response

Cybersecurity incidences are usually high-pressure situations. A pre-established incident response plan highlighting the correct steps for a more organized, instantaneous response spares you from numerous unnecessary implications and damaged reputation.

After a successful breach or attack, every second counts. Ransomware can result in catastrophic damage, malware infections spread rapidly, and compromised accounts can facilitate privilege escalation, giving threat actors authorization to more sensitive assets.

You also need a practical incident response strategy and dedicated team to help you recover data, restore operation, and build customer trust.

A More Complex Cybersecurity Landscape due to COVID-19

The pandemic situation has forced organizations into remote work systems, and most have resorted to permanent work from home setups for full-time staff. But this situation has brought about more concerns and risks, and your IT functions must be on the lookout for new threats targeting your architecture.

Malicious individuals are now taking advantage of the general anxiety surrounding the pandemic and hard-to-note approaches like phishing attacks, fake websites, and disinformation campaigns that could hurt your business big-time. These activities may trick uninformed staff into sharing sensitive information and login details. Disinformation campaigns spread rapidly and may lead to public discord, manipulate conversations, disrupt markets, and influence policy development.

We’re now more connected than ever, and you must always be aware of the risk environment. Your company staff must learn how to take precautions and implement the concepts learned through constant security training. You must also ensure that your organization’s monitoring systems are functional and ready to offer an appropriate response to security incidences.

All the above steps narrow down to establishing a practical and reliable incident response plan.

What Does Incident Response Entail?

Incident response is a structured approach to countering cyber threats, successful breaches, and other security incidences. A clearly defined response plan simplifies the identification and minimization of the damage. In turn, this substantially lowers the impact of an attack, identifies the root cause, and fixes it to prevent any further attack.

Cybersecurity incidences expose your IT security functions to uncertainties and a frenzy of activity. During these hectic situations, your team may fail to apply outlined incident response best practices to limit the damage.

Immediately after an attack, your team must focus on vital tasks at hand. Considering the tension and pressure during a security incident, clear thinking and fast action during security incidences will help minimize the impact, fix your reputation, and retain customer trust.

With a comprehensive response plan in place, your IT team can effect a practical, thorough, and rapid response to the incident. Furthermore, completing your response plan checklist and establishing and implementing a recovery policy can be vital when working on a fully-developed IR plan.

Main Incident Response Steps to Minimize an Attack’s Impact

Advantage Industries will help you mitigate risk by establishing an incident response plan covering these six vital steps provided by the SANS Institute.


The first stage involves the development of procedures and policies highlighting the steps after a breach. This may include the determination of the actual response team composition and triggers for alerting internal stakeholders. Notably, successful preparation relies on effective training for breach response and incident documentation for later review.


The next step involves breach detection and enabling a focused and fast response. Your cybersecurity team can use firewalls, threat intelligent streams, and intrusion detection software to identify breaches. Threat intelligence experts should constantly analyze the current cybersecurity trends and common hazards and tactics to keep your organization a step ahead.


After you’ve identified the issue and its cause, you’ll proceed to contain the impact and prevent the criminals from penetrating the infrastructure further. To achieve this, begin with taking particular sub-networks offline then maintain operations using system backups. At this stage, your organization will likely be in a state of emergency.


The stage right after damage containment involves threat neutralization and restoration of the company’s internal architecture to as close to their original situation as possible. The eradication stage may involve additional monitoring to get rid of any vulnerabilities to subsequent attacks.


After vulnerability eradication, the next step should be recovery. Here your IT functions must confirm that all affected systems are now safe, free from security compromises, and in working condition. You must establish realistic timelines to restore operations and monitor your systems continuously for any inconsistent network activity. You may also calculate the cost of the attack and resultant damage.

Lesson Learned

The incident response doesn’t end at the recovery phase. Instead, you must finish off by brainstorming on the best approach to prevent future incidences and improve your efforts. The process may involve appraising the current procedures and policies and the vital decisions made by your IT team during the attack.

The findings should be condensed into a comprehensive incident report for future reference and training. Furthermore, Advantage Industries can help your company review previous attacks and establish practical response procedures.

Benefits of Implementing a Reliable Incident Response Plan

Advantage Industries’ incident response plan offers the following advantages to your organization:

  • Improved security – A comprehensive response plan will help your teams implement correct strategies and best practices for securing your networks. You’ll identify any vulnerabilities and weaknesses in your current methods and systems and create practical remedies to boost your overall security posture.
  • Damage mitigation – An incident response plan prevents an attack from causing a business crisis, reputation damage, legal implication, operation disruption, or financial loss. You’ll quickly understand the attack’s nature and take the appropriate steps to mitigate and remediate the risk.
  • Confidence during incidences – During a breach, there will be a general panic among staff, stakeholders, and security teams. Lacking an incident response plan will worsen the situation. A comprehensive strategy with clear instructions, responsibility allocation, and response management guidelines will keep you confident when responding to threats.
  • Customer trust – A data breach or cyberattack can severely damage your brand’s relationship with customers, investors, and partners. If you don’t communicate promptly with stakeholders after an incident, you’ll likely harm your company’s reputation and lose customer trust and loyalty. Incidence response plans address all these and will ensure the correct steps are followed from remediation to reporting.

The Bottom Line

In incident response strategy is a vital component of your cybersecurity and business continuity campaigns. The plan provides pre-established responses to cyber incidences to prevent further penetration and additional implications. However, it’s never as cut and dry.

Advantage Industries is here to guide you in creating a comprehensive incident response plan to protect your data, mitigate impacts, and prevent downtime. So don’t hesitate to reach out today.

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Keith Heilveil

In 1999 Advantage Industries was created to protect and promote our client’s success through the use of innovative technology. Our company is a full services technology firm that provides computer network support and solutions, managed services, cybersecurity, and custom application development for small and medium businesses in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia areas.

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Tim Happel

Tim Happel

Sr. Director of Sales, PMP

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