Incident response and disaster recovery planning: Which type of plan do you need or should you strategize around both? Get insights in this informative CyberTalk.org article.

Incident response and disaster recovery

When planning for security snafus, businesses are encouraged to create two distinctive continuity documents. One is an incident response plan. The other is a disaster recovery plan.

Retaining an incident response plan indicates that your organization is ready for possible information security incidents. These can range from a data breach to a system outage or a security breach. Such incidents can cause lasting financial and reputational harm. The ability to respond quickly and effectively can assuage long-term business losses.

In contrast with an incident response plan, a disaster recovery plan is designed to address more substantive concerns around the organization’s ability to resume typical operations in the wake of any type of disaster.

Incident response plans focus solely on the incident. Disaster recovery plans focus on the entire organization.

Having plans for both means that organizational management teams can quickly get the organization back on track after a disruption. No time will be wasted in prioritization of activities or decision-making. The course of action has been agreed upon and set up so that everyone can act quickly.

What is an Incident Response Plan?

An incident response plan contains information about how to respond to a cyber disruption. The plan will assist your incident response team in reducing organizational downtime.

A comprehensive incident response plan will:

  1. List actions and procedures for each step of the plan
  2. Serve the Incident Response Team and other groups
  3. Clarify each department’s roles and responsibilities
  4. Enumerate who should escalate information to whom
  5. Include guidance on legally required public disclosures
  6. Include regulatory authority information
  7. Define which metrics should be captured in relation to the incident
  8. Plan will define who is responsible for what kind of business impact and analysis reporting

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster recovery plan functions as an organization’s set of procedures and responsibilities should a disaster strike. The definition of disaster in this case could range from a ransomware threat to equipment damage. In the event of a ransomware attack, a disaster recovery plan will hasten the speed of your organization’s recovery time. Ultimately, it helps a business resume daily operations.

A disaster recovery plan is typically organized by type of disaster and includes instructions that can be easily followed by anyone within the organization. Instructions should be written in language that is accessible to all. Not just those with technical knowledge or training.

Benefits of a strong disaster recovery plan:

  • A strong disaster recovery plan can help organizations avoid reputational losses from an unplanned attack
  • Can limit interruptions of daily operations
  • Provide internal staff with emergency procedure information
  • Can help quickly return services to endpoint users

Incident Response and Disaster Recovery: Further insights

Again, the distinction between incident response and disaster recovery plans pertains to their respective focus areas.

Incident response plans address cyber-specific concerns: Data breaches, ransomware attacks, phishing attacks. They’re intended for incident response teams who can address and mitigate specific security issues.

Disaster recovery plans are intended to address various types of disruption: Equipment outages, weather disruptions, cyber attacks. Disaster recovery plans should be usable by anyone within a given organization.

Both types of plans offer pre-approved steps for employees to follow in helping an organization recover from disruption. Organizations may wish to maintain both incident response and disaster recovery plans in safe, accessible locations.

Outsourced incident response services

Incident response is often most effective when pursued by experienced incident responders. In some instances, organizations may lack the resources to keep a full incident response team on-hand 24/7. One alternative is to partner with an organization that provides specialized incident response services. Benefits associated with managed incident response include:

  • Availability. Professional incident responders can help organizations get started on the response right away. Waiting to respond to an incident can cost organizations both in terms of attack impact and financial resources. Specialized incident response providers commonly maintain multiple teams on staff, resulting in enhanced coverage and increased availability.
  • Specialized expertise: Incident response can require specialized expertise like forensic analysis or reverse engineering of malware. Small-to-medium sized enterprises commonly lack these areas of expertise in-house, but professional incident responders can offer these services at a moment’s notice.
  • Experience. Bungling incident response management can actually increase related costs and attack damage. For instance, ransomware attacks can render infected systems unstable, meaning that a restart could make it impossible to recover encrypted data. Incident response professionals retain the experience to handle security incidents efficiently and correctly.

Think that you might need help in a hurry? The Check Point Incident Response team is available around the clock to help organizations manage security incidents. If your organization experiences a sudden cyber attack, you can always reach out to the incident response hotline for assistance.

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