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Incident Response (IR) is an organized approach to addressing and managing a security breach or cyber attack. An incident response plan is a set of instructions on how a company should respond in the event of a security incident. Incident response plans can be general (for all types of incidents) or you can have specific plans for different types of security incidents. When security incidents occur they are usually time-sensitive, which means that the longer a situation goes uncontained, the more expensive the overall cost will be for the company.

The average hourly cost of downtime for computer networks is about $42,000, which means a security incident that goes uncontained can become expensive if it lasts for a long period of time. In order to respond quickly, it’s important that companies are proactive and have a plan in place before the incident happens. This way everyone knows what actions to take and you minimize the delay before the incident can be contained. Having this plan in place can save companies thousands or millions of dollars over their lifespan.

How do you Create an Effective Incident Response Plan?

However, just having an incident response plan is not enough to ensure that it will be effective when you need it. In order to ensure its effectiveness an incident response plan needs to be clear in its directions, easily accessible to everyone, regularly updated, regularly tested, and all relevant personnel need to be familiar with their role in the overall plan. If any of these elements are missing, it’s likely that the incident response plan will not be effective in containing security incidents. Here are the top 3 things you want to include to have a strong incident response plan:

  • Buy-in from key organization stakeholders: When an incident happens, you want your team to know that they have support from stakeholders to act quickly. This includes C-Level executives and other upper management.
  • Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and processes: Everyone needs to know what they are expected to do. This doesn’t just include security and IT but every stakeholder that may be required to act in the event of a security breach.
  • Have technology and partnerships ready for quick action: It’s important to have the internal technology and third-party vendors you need to take quick action in the event of a security incident.

What is Breach and Attack Emulation?

Breach and Attack Emulation is the technology behind continuously testing your security systems to detect gaps and misconfigurations in your infrastructure. Breach and Attack Emulation technology replicates realistic cyber attacks to promote predictive threat intelligence. These tests also give you a clear understanding of what your security posture looks like, ways to reduce your attack surface, and how well your defenses are able to prevent security breaches.

How Breach and Attack Emulation Can Help Incident Response

The best way to ensure that all the above issues are addressed is through consistent testing. Incident response plans are typically tested through different levels of attack emulations, where you replicate a cyber attack and see how well the company responds. Typically, these are done through methods like tabletop exercises or structured walkthroughs.

However, a more effective method is the use of specialized software. Breach and attack emulation software can be used to mimic real-world security threats and determine if your incident response plan is truly effective. Breach and attack emulation will test your company’s ability to manage a security incident through all of the incident response phases: analysis, containment, eradication, and recovery. You can then assess your performance so that the incident response plan can be improved accordingly, security controls and processes can be added or optimized, and gaps can be addressed as needed.

Performing on-demand security validations through breach and attack emulation can also assess the overall effectiveness of your monitoring and response workflows so you can ensure incident response team readiness in the event of a real attack. This helps every person who plays a role in the response efforts understand what the overall process is and what actions they must take during a real incident. When you engage with board members or auditors, you can prove to them that you are taking proactive measures to prevent and minimize the impact of security breaches, protect customer and company data, and minimize financial loss.

How rThreat Can Help

It’s important that companies have an incident response plan made and continuously tested before a security incident happens. You don’t want to test the effectiveness of your incident response plan in the midst of an actual attack. Every minute or hour that a security incident goes uncontained can cost a company tens of thousands of dollars. Therefore, it’s imperative that a company has an incident response plan put in place, but that alone is not good enough. You need to ensure that the plan is consistently tested so that you know it’s effective and reliable for when those security incidents occur.

To facilitate this, rThreat’s Breach and Attack emulation software enables you to replicate real-world cyber attacks in a contained testing environment. The rThreat Artifact Library contains a wide variety of both known and unknown threats so your team can test controls and incident response against an array of different attacks. Our solution allows you to observe how well your incident response plan is able to contain the incident when actioned by your employees.

As you perform these on-demand assessments you will find issues with your plan that can be fixed to improve the overall effectiveness of your organization’s incident response plan, ultimately minimizing the impact of breaches when they occur. To learn more about how rThreat’s breach and attack emulation solution can help improve your incident response capabilities, contact our team today.

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