November 20, 2018 | Categories: CISO IR Plan |

Neglecting Your Incident Response (IR) Plan Could Lead to Disaster

It seems like every month, another company comes forward to announce that their systems were breached. In February of 2018, it was FedEx. In March, it was Under Armour. In April, Kmart and Sears. In fact, since January 2017, 16 major retailers have experienced some form of significant data breach. If it can happen to them, it can happen to any organization, and it proves why effective IR plans are so crucial.

The reason so many of these companies with household names struggled with these attacks is that they didn’t detect, respond to, eradicate, and recover from an incident. They’re not alone, either. According to an IBM study, 77 percent of businesses don’t have any form of IR plan.

What happens if an organization is caught unprepared? Data breaches cause damage, cost money, harm customer relationships, and take time to fix. Thankfully, an effective, proactive IR plan can help a business navigate a data breach by providing a guide to respond to and recover from an incident. With a documented process to handle a data breach, organizations can respond properly both internally and externally — and as quickly as possible.

Cybersecurity threats are happening constantly, and every business needs to be proactive about their own response plan. When IR plans aren’t set up and tested properly, consequences occur that likely could have been avoided. Case in point, every single account created on a business platform could be intercepted, or worse, someone could try to solve the problem by hiding the fact that your company was breached. Cyber threats are only growing in number, so businesses need to be prepared. Without a plan in place, everything is being decided as you go. But by being proactive, businesses and organizations can be two steps ahead.

Having a Proactive IR Plan is Crucial — Here’s Why

While no network can ever be 100 percent secure, companies need to focus on what they’ll do when the time comes. Many organizations will face a breach in some form, no matter how much effort is put into preventing it. If a business has gone through a breach already, its team will be familiar with the upheaval that follows. Time is literally money. The same IBM study also showed that being able to contain a data breach within 30 days could save a business $1 million. The slower businesses are to respond, the harder it will be to recover, but having a dedicated cybersecurity professional on staff can help.

The consequences of a data breach can be serious. The trust that customers have in a brand can be compromised. For publicly traded companies, shares could drop, and they’ll need to adhere to all the requirements set by the SEC. A business could lose copious amounts of time and money trying to fix the breach. Additionally, they might even have to pay a fine at the end of the incident. FedEx lost $300 million after their breach. Under Armour paid $150 million. Uber paid $148 million. Yahoo took a hit on their deal with Verizon. Facebook could be facing $1.6 billion.

In your organization, if an IR plan is already in place, how comfortable are you with where it stands? If your network were to be breached tomorrow, how will your company react? More importantly, will it be enough? If your organization doesn’t have an IR plan, there’s no time like the present to create one.

Why Don’t Businesses Have Effective IR Plans?

An IR plan helps organizations identify risks and problems, put a plan in place to react to them, communicate the situation, and then focus on recovering. It shouldn’t be light on detail. In the examples we mentioned earlier, things were missed or left out, which allowed for problems to grow. So, if IR plans are so important, why aren’t they working?

One reason is that with all the advancements in security, businesses develop a false sense of trust that their security can protect them from anything and everything. In reality, that might not be the case. There are many security options available for businesses to use, but when those systems fail, what’s the next step?

Along with that, security products require a human intelligence factor to create a truly cyber-resilient company, and many businesses aren’t able to afford both. Incident response experts exist, but they’re expensive and hard to find. The wide range of skills that a professional like this needs to have isn’t common in the IT market, even though their expertise is widely needed. In fact, 77 percent of businesses globally said they struggled with hiring and retaining IT professionals.

Budgets also impact how businesses can create effective IR plans. With a finite amount of money to work with, organizations are choosing not to invest in IT security products and personnel because of the cost associated with them. Whether it’s a product cost or a person’s salary, spending the money isn’t appealing enough, but it needs to be. This is only harming their ability to be resilient in the face of a cyber attack because they don’t have the resources necessary to react appropriately.

How MRK Technologies Helps

If your business is facing similar struggles, there are different solutions for ensuring your business has someone leading the charge in cybersecurity. MRK Technologies can be your guide. Many businesses are turning to outsource their IT security solutions in order to get expert help without the heavy cost. Outsourcing can provide businesses with the expertise necessary to develop security strategies like a strong IR plan, and it eliminates the time and stress of finding and hiring someone.

One solution is finding a chief information security officer (CISO) for hire. CISO services give teams facetime with an expert who can develop a plan, outline the steps to implement it, and provide ongoing support to your organization on IT security needs. And if your business does run into a crisis, they’ll be there every step of the way to make sure your organization is able to handle everything appropriately and take the right steps to get back on track. It’s a less expensive solution with the same result.

Another solution is running through an IR tabletop exercise. This is a strategy that evaluates how an organization detects, responds to, contains, and resolves an incident. IR tabletop exercises are a great way to test how a business will actually respond and discover ways that they can improve. They’re also a solid first step for ensuring your existing or forthcoming IR plan is at the level it needs to be.

The entire goal of an IR plan is to help your business be proactive rather than reactive. But developing that plan can be a challenge if resources are limited. Outsourcing a CISO gives businesses someone who will come in and assess current programs, build security projects, collaborate with teams, and report on their efforts. At MRK Technologies, we offer these services with locally-based IT security experts who are veterans in the industry.

The value of an effective and responsive IR plan is unmatched. If your business is interested in learning more about how our CISOs can help create one, fill out the form below.

MRK Staff

MRK Technologies and our team of CISOs are experts in information security, storage, and networking solutions. We work alongside your team to implement technology solutions that are smart, flexible, and customized to fit your needs.