When you fall victim of a cyber attack it shouldn’t be a disaster if you can respond quickly and appropriately. It is all about about setting up security teams that can act in a structured and effective manner.
It is always better to prevent a cyber attack however not all security incidents are preventable because the attack can happen on many platforms and surfaces. Think of an IT environment as a fortified city, the guards must keep an eye on the entire wall surrounding the city but an attacker only needs one weak spot in that long wall to enter. If you translate that to the large and diverse surface of endpoints, systems and applications that IT has to deal with it is clear that it is almost impossible to fully protect the walls. Besides protecting these wall it is also important to know what to do when the enemy has entered the city.
It is sometimes said that there are actually only two types of organisations today. Companies that have been hacked and companies that do not yet know that they have been hacked. Whatever situation your in it is important to be prepared when you fall victim to a cyber attack.
Prepare your IT department
When a potential cyber attack has been identified your IT department must be able to react immediately. The key to an effective team is an agile IT team that can be deployed in a structural way should an attack occur. Well defined processes and exercise scenarios are part of such a structured approach. IT teams must be able to act immediately without having to read too much. You will get a better view of that plan if you regularly do simulations of successful attacks.
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A defining characteristic of a company that can respond correctly to a cyber attack is the agility of the IT team required to respond to the attack. A response must be structured. It is important that processes are formulated so that you can deploy them when an incident occurs. It is important that you can immediately estimate the impact of any attack. You need to identify the owners of the affected applications and what information has been picked up by the attackers.
Also useful is an incident register in which previous attacks are described and logged. Such a register lists what happened, what caused it, how long the issue played, what data and applications were involved and what measures were taken to regain control. That’s valuable information for a team that responds to a new attack that may have some similar features.
Make a cyber attack response plan
Make sure your organisation has an up to date response plan how to deal with cyber attacks. Make sure to highlight who is responsible and what their tasks are. Also make sure your plan is up to date as technologies and attack methods change. Ensure that everyone knows where to find this plan so that they can alert the relevant departments and people.
Practice response to cyber attacks
A cyber attack practice is not only relevant to your IT department but to your whole organisation. A practice is not only a matter for your IT department but also for end users. You can clearly define who is responsible for applications and test scenarios in small business units. The IT department and information security work together with the end user. This also reflects a changed mentality, one in which IT is again at the service of the end user.
Security shouldn’t be a police mindset where IT workers run through the company to find out which end user caused something. Instead IT security should be fully focused on the business. The customer is the company which is the application owner.
Tech-Wales – Cyber Security & Business IT Support
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