With data breaches dominating headlines more frequently, companies have become more aware of the risk and vulnerabilities that the continuous advancement of technology has brought, and as a result, have taken the necessary steps to strengthen their cybersecurity. Yet, even with this heightened focus on enhancing cybersecurity, a recent study revealed that nearly 75% of businesses surveyed do not have a formal response plan in place should their systems be compromised.
While it might seem unlikely that your business will fall victim to a cyberattack, you can never be too prepared. Businesses – no matter the size or industry in which they work – need an incident response plan in place to outline how it will detect, respond to and limit the effects of a cyberattack. Being proactive and having this type of plan in place prior to an incident occurring will position your organization to take immediate action and minimize risk and the resulting damages should it ever become a victim of an attack.
Your plan will need to be unique to your business and operations, but to help you get started, we’ve outlined a few key steps that can help you develop and implement an effective incident response plan.
- Assemble an internal incident response team – this team should include members from varying roles across the organization, such as IT, communications, HR, operations, security, and compliance and/or legal. The goal of this team is to coordinate next steps once an incident has been reported and restore operations as quickly as possible.
- Define incidents and conduct an incident threat analysis – review your operations and determine how you will define an incident. Do an analysis of potential threats or risks to your organization and document these items in your plan. Determine which incidents will be considered of higher severity and may need different actions taken.
- Create guidelines to accelerate response time – using the information uncovered during the incident analysis, create responses to common threats your businesses could potentially face. Note who from the incident response team is responsible for responding and how they should be notified of the incident. If external parties will need to be notified, note this in your procedure.
- Evaluate if third-party expertise is needed – for example, your business may want to consider adding cyber insurance to cover required expenses should a data breach involving sensitive customer information occur. Your company may also want to have an attorney contact who specializes in cybersecurity in your corner should a breach occur and you need advice or legal counsel.
- Share your plan with employees – once you have your team assembled, incidents defined, and a process drafted, it’s important to communicate your plan with your employees. If they will play a role at all, they should be notified of their responsibility and trained accordingly. Your employees should have access to this plan.
- Review and update the plan regularly – your incident response plan is a dynamic document and not meant to be created and then put on a shelf to be forgotten. It’s important to review the plan regularly and make updates as necessary. Consider conducting an exercise to test out your procedures.
Bank Mutual is vigilant when it comes to helping businesses mitigate risk. Our treasury management team and commercial bankers can help business owners fine-tune their fraud protection and cybersecurity processes.
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