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How to Respond to a Cybersecurity Event

In recent years, the size and magnitude of cybersecurity events have increased. Most often, businesses tend to downplay the possibility of falling prey to a cyberattack. Large companies believe that they have all the proper measures in place to protect against such incidents. On the other hand, small businesses seem to believe that they are too small to be targeted.

While in the case of large companies, a security breach may mean financial loss and a negative reputation, the repercussions for smaller companies may be more dire –it could mean the end of the business if the situation isn’t addressed properly.

That said, even with strong cybersecurity measures in place, your business may still become a victim of a data loss event. In this post, we will explain the process of addressing cybersecurity incidents.

5 Steps for Responding to Cybersecurity Events

How you respond to an incident will depend on the type of compromise. The way you address a ransomware attack on your network will differ from how you handle an email breach. Here is a general outline on how to respond to cybersecurity events:

Step 1: Retrieve the Incident Response Plan

Regardless of whether a ransom note just appeared on your computer out of the blue or one of your employees confessed that they just fell for a phishing email, it is crucial that you reach out to your IT provider immediately.

Hopefully, your IT provider has helped you design an incident response plan–a guide on how to respond to a cybersecurity event. Retrieving this plan is one of the first steps that your managed IT provider should take to help you mitigate the incident.

A well-designed incident response plan should outline all the measures that should be taken to ensure that the threat is prevented from spreading throughout your network and that normal business operations resume as soon as possible.

Step 2: Shut Down and Safeguard Your IT Infrastructure

When you first discover that your system has been breached, your first instinct may be to delete everything to get rid of the malware. Even so, that may ultimately hurt you, given that you’ll be getting rid of valuable information that you may need to identify the point of origin of the breach. Remember that knowing where the breach started can help you devise a plan to prevent it from happening again.

That said, the next step that your IT provider should take after retrieving the incident response plan is to shut down all systems and turn off all machines.

At LAN Infotech, we would begin by shutting down your servers, given that they keep all your data, starting with your backup server. We would then take everything offline by shutting down all your systems and computers. We would also want to block any inbound and outbound traffic to stop communication between the threat actor and your network.

Step 3: Investigate the Event

The next step in responding to a cybersecurity event is determining what happened. This involves your IT provider finding patient zero–the source of the infection. Identifying the source of the infection is crucial to understanding how the threat actors accessed your system, the actions they took while on your network, and the extent of the infection.

Suppose you are one of our clients; our cybersecurity solutions will probably help you identify where the infection began. It is possible that we may need to evaluate one system at a time.

Upon identifying patient zero, we will determine:

  • The extent to which the infection has spread: It is crucial to determine what other systems were affected by the incident.
  • The time of the infection: This will help us restore your system to a time before the breach.

We will also want to look at any signs of exfiltration. Even if the threat actors don’t communicate that they have stolen your data, it’s good practice to check your firewall logs for any suspicious outbound activities.

Step 4: Conduct a Clean-Up of Your Network

Suppose your business has undergone a major compromise; this can be a significant step. Here, you’ll need to securely remove all malware from your systems. Also, systems should be hardened and patched, and updates applied.

Regardless of whether you do this on your own or outsource the services of a managed IT provider, you’ll need to be thorough. This is because if any trace of the malware remains on your system, you may still be vulnerable to a security breach.

When you outsource our services, we will clean the malware from your system. We will also rebuild your system from scratch to ensure that no malware traces remain behind.

Depending on the duration that the threat actors spent on your network, they may have conducted other activities that may place your network at risk. Using backups that aren’t compromised, we will wipe clean and reload your servers, systems, and workstations to ensure that your organization is safe.

Step 5: Create an RCA (Root Cause Analysis)

After cleaning up your network, we would next create a root cause analysis that determines what happened, why it happened, and how to prevent it from happening again.

For instance, your root cause analysis may reveal that the data breach event occurred because one of your employees fell for a phishing email. Your RCA may recommend the adoption of SIEM technology and that employees undergo cybersecurity training to lessen the risks of such events happening in the future.

Wrapping Up

While these are some of the key steps of responding to a cybersecurity event, they aren’t the only ones. For instance, your business may have to employ a PR firm to help ensure that the damage to your business’s reputation is minimal.

There are a lot of moving parts, and your IT provider should have a firm grasp of what measures to take in case of a cybersecurity incident.

LAN Infotech Can Help You Respond to Cybersecurity Events

Evolving cybersecurity threats often compromise the survival of many South Florida organizations. As cybercrime becomes more complex, your organization needs to partner with a reliable IT security solutions provider that will not only help minimize the risk of exposure, but will also help you respond to cybersecurity incidents in the unfortunate event that they occur.

That’s LAN Infotech for you. We will help you create a cyber incident response plan that will help prevent malicious programs from spreading all over your network and ensure that your business operations resume in no time. Schedule a consultation to learn more about our services.

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