Incident Response Planning In Central Pennsylvania

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written by craig beam posted on September 17, 2021

Your Pennsylvania Business Should Develop an Incident Response Plan

Having an incident response plan in place will prepare your business to handle incidents when they occur, will help you mitigate the threats and associated risks, and will help your enterprise to recover quickly.

An event that is not a part of normal business operations that disrupts operational processes is called an incident. An incident is an unplanned interruption that impacts your network, systems, and devices which include cyber threats, natural or manmade disasters, and unplanned outages.

Cyber incidents are technical problems and business problems. The sooner they can be mitigated, the less damage they can cause. Having an incident response plan in place will prepare your business to handle incidents when they occur, will help you mitigate the threats and associated risks, and will help your enterprise to recover quickly.

An incident response plan is a document that outlines an organization’s procedures, steps, and responsibilities of how to detect, respond to, and recover from incidents.

Even though all businesses should have an incident response plan, a large majority of organizations don’t have one or their plan is underdeveloped. According to a survey conducted by Ponemon, 77% of respondents reported that they do not have an incident response plan.

Furthermore, 57% of the businesses surveyed stated that the length of time to resolve a cyber incident has grown and 65% say the severity of the attacks they are experiencing is increasing as well.

Therefore, every Pennsylvania organization, large and small, should have a solid incident response plan in place.

Incident Response Planning In Central Pennsylvania

Prepare Before Planning

Before creating an incident response plan, you should create an incident response team by determining who is qualified enough to be on the response team and determine how to inform your staff of your plan with its procedures and policies.

You will also need to determine what information and systems are most valuable to your organization and what types of incidents you might experience and how to appropriately respond to them.

Establish a Response Team

Once you identify qualified individuals to be a part of your response team, the goal of the team will be to assess, document, and respond to incidents. This will allow your team to restore your systems, recover information, and reduce the risk of a recurring incident. Incident Response Team Roles include:

  • Incident Handler
  • Technical Lead
  • Human Resources Specialist
  • Communications Advisor
  • Notetakers
  • Data Analysts

Conduct a Risk Assessment

A risk assessment will identify and analyze potential events that may negatively impact your assets and your IT environment. Once risks and potential threats are identified, you can prioritize your response efforts. During an assessment, you should answer the following questions:

  • What data is valuable to your organization?
  • What areas of your business handle sensitive data?
  • What controls are currently in place?
  • Can these lead to breaches?

Develop Your Policies

You should write an incident response policy that includes procedures and processes that are aligned with your organization’s policy and compliance requirements.

Create a Communications Plan

You should have a central point of contact on your response team. Upon determining who employees should report suspected or known incidents to, you should also have a communications plan in place that identifies who else should be notified in the event of an incident, such as:

  • Third Parties
  • Key Stakeholders
  • Law Enforcement
  • A Lawyer
  • Affected Customers

Educate Your Employees

Having a well-trained workforce will add that extra layer of defense against cyber threats and incidents. Educate your employees on the policies and procedures of your incident response plan, as well as the roles each employee will play.

Create Your Incident Response Plan

Once you have prepared, it’s time to create your incident response plan. The plan should be simple, flexible, and updated annually by testing, revisiting, and revising the plan to keep it effective. The following 4 phases of the incident response life cycle will help you structure your plan:

  1. Prepare – Outline objectives, policies, and procedures, and define goals to improve security and recovery. Implement reliable backup solutions. Have a detailed strategy for updating and patching your software and hardware to track and fix vulnerabilities. Develop exercises to test your plan and response.
  2. Observe – Your networks, systems, and connected devices should be monitored 24/7 to identify and document potential threats and events. Produce reports on a regular basis to analyze occurrences.
  3. Resolve – Once you understand the issues and threats, you will be able to contain them and apply effective mitigation measures. Disabling connectivity to your systems and devices, isolating systems, and suspending employee access temporarily to detect and stop further intrusions are effective mitigation measures. It is also important to preserve evidence and supporting documentation if you need to involve a lawyer, law enforcement, and for incident analysis.
  4. Understand – Once the root cause of the incident is identified, collaborate with the response team to discuss any improvements needed in the incident response plan. Evaluate processes, document the steps taken, and create a document on what was learned that details how you will adjust and improve your plan for future incidents.

MicroXpress Can Help Your Pennsylvania Business Develop an Incident Response Plan

During the planning process of your incident response plan, it’s important to determine which actions and services your internal staff can handle and which actions should be outsourced to an IT services provider, like MicroXpress.

MicroXpress has many cybersecurity solutions and services for your Pennsylvania business. We can help you develop your incident response plan, determine your backup processes and suggest backup solutions that will work best for your organization, and we can monitor and patch your systems.

MicroXpress is your local team of cybersecurity specialists who can help your organization improve your cybersecurity posture. Call us today to schedule a no obligation review for your business IT needs by calling (717) 840-HELP or sending an email over to

Thanks to our friends at Orion Networks for their help with this article

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