4 Critical Components of Tomorrow’s Cyber Security Incident Response

4 Critical Components of Tomorrow's Cyber Security Incident Response

In years past cyber security was a relatively straightforward topic. Basic monitoring programs were developed specifically for the detection of threats, such as worms and viruses. And this type of defense was perfectly acceptable and highly effective, mainly due to the fact that the very nature of the attacks was simple and therefore relatively easy to control. Back then, it was all about protection. But in today’s digital age, it’s about response. Specifically, it’s about ensuring that the following cyber security incident response components are put in place in order to successfully identify, address and combat the increasingly complex and persistent attacks.  And as we look to the future of cyber security, we can safely assume that incident response will play an even more critical role.  Four critical components stand out as we prepare for the road ahead.

Observation

This process takes monitoring and extends it to a greater degree. The fact is, in order to address highly sophisticated, advanced persistent threats (APTs), security professionals absolutely must employ tools and technologies that are equally advanced and capable of engaging in real-time threat detection. This includes 24/7 oversight of all networks, systems and applications. It’s also important to point out that security incidents are not all the same. In order to understand and address incoming threats, comprehensive observation across the entire organization is absolutely critical.

Orientation

The moment an incident has been identified, the security team must then orient itself to determine the attack’s specific context. Simply recognizing that a threat is eminent isn’t enough. IT personnel must also obtain valuable insight into the meaning behind that attack. Often times the orientation of an attack can be linked – either directly or indirectly - to what’s happening within the organization. For instance, the adoption of a new software package or the announcement of a new strategic partnership. The more information IT is able to discern about the reasons behind the attack, the more capable they will be to not only address the current threat but also develop a more solid cyber security incident response strategy moving forward.

Decision

With an in-depth understanding of what the incoming threat is, how and why it’s happening, the incident response team must then focus on the next step of determining what actions should be taken. This step can be especially challenging, particularly in organizations that have complex hierarchies, because it often requires executive input, which can impede timely response. Furthermore, all decisions must be properly documented and adequately defensible.  Those who are working on the front line require immediate access to data if they are to take the appropriate steps to combat the attack and mitigate potential damages. This is one area where organizations can and should adopt a proactive approach so as to avoid frustrating bottlenecks and costly delays.

Action

Finally, the decided-upon action must be taken in order to extinguish the threat and effectively limit the level of damages that it has the potential to cause. Because today’s security incidents vary greatly in both complexity as well as context, the cyber security incident response team must maintain comprehensive access to the entire network. Ongoing training and routine audits of this increased access level can help prevent internal problems. Furthermore, the use of best practices based on previous documented incidents can also create a much more effective incident response strategy.

Each of these four key components are essential in establishing a solid defense against would-be cyber-attacks. Unfortunately, very few organizations are capable of keeping up without the assistance of technology. So as we head into the unchartered future, automation can be the puzzle piece that ties everything together and facilitates a stronger and more seamless cyber security incident response strategy. With automated IR, every single incoming threat can be instantly detected (observed) and analyzed (oriented). Then, based on the information obtained, the appropriate steps (decisions) can be automatically set into motion (action). Best of all, this can all be done 24/7/365 with little to no human input required.

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