Why incident response planning is critical for your organisation

When your organisation suffers a major disruption, an effective incident response plan (IRP) could mean the difference between a bad day at the office and going out of business. We’re not exaggerating: the costs of disruptive incidents mount up, and if you can’t cauterise the damage promptly, the effects could be devastating.

Incident response management combines thorough planning with adaptability, enabling organisations to detect incidents promptly and respond appropriately. This allows them to mitigate the damage and reduce the delays and costs that come with disruption.

How an IRP works

An IRP helps organisations identify the steps it needs to take in the event of various disruptions, and ensures they acknowledge and mitigate weaknesses in their policies, technical controls and the way employees communicate with each other, customers and regulators.

Disruptive incidents can occur in any number of ways and affect different parts of your organisation, so an IRP isn’t as simple as a step-by-step guide to recovery. Rather, planning for disaster requires a great deal of flexibility, laying out a broad guide for various scenarios that the organisations deems most threatening.

Effective incident response management also enables organisations to learn from their mistakes. After executing the IRP and addressing the most urgent matters, the incident response team should assess the effectiveness of their response and identify why the incident occurred. This allows them to mitigate the risk of similar future incidents and assures that, should it happen again, the organisation has the best possible plan in place.

Finally, IRPs can be used to help organisations comply with cyber security laws, such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Network and Information Systems Regulations 2018 (NIS Regulations). Both require organisations to disclose high-risk breaches to their relevant supervisory authority within 72 hours of discovery. The notification should include as much detail as possible about the nature and scope of the breach, as well as the steps the organisation has taken, or is going to take, to respond to the incident.

Organisations with documented incident response procedures already have an outline of their planned response and solid evidence of the organisational and technical measures legally required. The planning should also include a note for the organisation to contact the relevant supervisory authority, ensuring this critical step isn’t forgotten.

Learn how to implement an IRP

The introduction of the GDPR and the NIS Regulations means that organisations are under an increasingly heavy burden to find security experts. Breaches under either law could result in large penalties, and although maximum fines will be reserved for only flagrant or repeat offenses, even moderate penalties could cause lasting financial and reputational damage.

If you’re interested in gaining the skills to fill a vital role in GDPR and NIS Regulations compliance, you should consider enrolling on our Incident Response Management Foundation Training Course.

This one-day course teaches you how to manage and respond to disruptive incidents effectively, and explains how to develop an incident response programme according to the requirements of the GDPR and the NIS Regulations.

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