Prepare for the Expected: Mitigating Cyberthreats with Digital Incident Management
- By Bryan Kaplan
- Mar 07, 2022
Cyber criminals are not picky and cyberattacks are inevitable. They will target your organization regardless of industry, revenue, or how long it has been operating. Cyberattacks have been carried out on large corporations and small businesses, in medical and healthcare, education, government, transportation – the list goes on. The cost and consequences of such an incident on your organization, your consumers, and your brand reputation are catastrophic if you fail to prepare.
Research firm Cybersecurity Ventures predicts ransomware will cost victims upwards of $265 billion annually by 2031 with a new attack occurring every two seconds, and rapid exponential growth year over year. While there is little debate over whether a cyberattack is costly, many organizations do not realize the extent of damage until it is too late. While no organization can eliminate all vulnerabilities and secure their digital infrastructure to withstand all cyber threats, those that have a response plan in place will fare better than those that do not.
To emerge from the fire, albeit with a few bumps and bruises, organizations must shore up their preparedness and response processes. High-level situational awareness empowers organizations to respond to crises with precision and speed. The Ponemon Institute found that the quicker a threat can be identified and contained, the less it will cost. It’s one thing to expect the unexpected, and another to be prepared to respond to the unexpected. Having response plans in place, in tandem with efficient communications and connectedness, will reduce the many burdens of a cyberattack. To best prepare, consider leveraging an emergency preparedness and response digital intervention that is focused on strengthening operational resilience.
5 Critical Steps Organizations Should Take to Best Prepare for a Cyberattack
1. Stay proactive with your response plan. Coordinate organizational response plans and set processes into motion that will support business continuity when cybercriminals come knocking. But do not stop there, plan for a swift recovery and return to normalcy that can be implemented after the threat has been eliminated.
2. Leverage a digital incident management platform that bolsters situational awareness across the organization with the ability to communicate incident information with key stakeholders in real time. This ensures everyone involved is on the same page and is able to contribute to a successful response, eliminating guesswork that will further complicate matters due to uncertainty. Cyberattacks force organizations to make precise decisions on the fly, and a single source of truth will help navigate uncertainty.
3. Make sure all employees, partners and outside vendor services involved have been identified and are made aware of how to respond ahead of time. When disaster strikes – or hacks – all stakeholders should be included in communications and made aware of their individual roles and responsibilities in responding to an incident. A strong incident management platform will notify the appropriate personnel or departments to respond as quickly as possible and direct them to the tools they need to succeed.
4. Open lines of communication are mission critical during and after a cyberattack occurs. Your incident management platform should enable fast, simple communication across all internal and external stakeholders as an incident occurs. Post crisis, communications with customers, partners, stakeholders, or anyone who may have been affected should be looped in on the sharing of important information. This often includes communicating to the media or updating your organization’s social media. Fast and efficient communications regarding an incident can help improve outcomes, thus mitigating any negative implications your brand may experience.
5. Practice makes perfect. Testing procedures through periodic training drills that simulate cyberattacks and train stakeholders on actions that need to be taken when a cyberattack occurs will ensure that organizations are prepared to respond with grace. It is best if your incident management platform allows and encourages daily monitoring for potential threats, so that teams are familiar with using the system and garner understand how to jump into action the second a threat is on the horizon.
A cybersecurity breach is not too different from any other critical incident or disaster that affects the operations and continuity of a business, like a hurricane, flood, earthquake, or act of violence. As with all such incidents, a coordinated, rapid reaction predicated on a strong response plan is the key to minimizing the impact. Combining information security tools and procedures to identify malicious activity with an incident response plan empowers organizations to effectively deal with business continuity and the effects of a cyberattack.