Thought Leaders: 3 Reasons Why You Need an Incident Response Plan

By Andy Warner - Connecting Point — 

All businesses want to protect their reputation, revenue, and customers’ trust.  That’s why it’s critical every business has a strategy to identify and respond to security incidents.  An Incident response plan (IR Plan) is the framework for that strategy – it helps define what is/isn’t a breach and identifies roles and responsibilities of team members in the event of breach.  It also specifies tools, processes, and partnerships to engage (i.e., IT team, Insurance company, attorney, etc.) while managing a breach and lays out steps to be taken to respond/recover from a security incident.  An IR Plan must also include steps to respond to an incident which includes investigation, communication, and potentially notification requirements depending on industry compliancy.  That’s why it’s becoming more critical for businesses to carry cyber liability insurance – because much of the resource needed to navigate through and recover from an incident will need to come from a formal Incident Response Team and Forensic Experts, which are provided as a part of a cyber liability policy.

Below are the three most important reasons your business needs an incident response plan.

Protect Your Data. You may not have data that seems important to somebody else, but it’s important to YOU and your customers, so a bad actor has instant leverage if they gain access to your data.  Not only is continual protection and backup of information important but understanding that cyber criminals will likely encrypt and/or exfiltrate data during an event is important when developing your data protection and recovery strategy.  That’s why data protection strategies include far more than just having secure backups.  They also include the ability to capture/protect activity logs, review and respond to security alerts to detect malicious activity, ensuring proper identity and access management to contain threats, and strong attention to endpoint security and patch management.

Protect Your Reputation & Customer Trust.  Studies show that 78% of consumers would take their business elsewhere if directly affected by a data breach. If a security breach is not handled properly, the company risks losing some or all its customer base. A data breach doesn’t instill confidence in your customers. You probably know by now that it can be a PR nightmare for a business.  And let’s be honest, if you don’t have customers, you don’t typically have a business!

Protect Your Revenue.  An incident response plan can safeguard your organization from potential loss of revenue. According to a recent Data Breach Study, the average cost of a data breach is $3.6M.  While revenue is at stake with any data breach, the fact is that 60% of small and medium-sized businesses go out of business within six months of a data breach. Not only is direct company revenue at stake but also the costs for legal help, remediation experts, forensic investigations, and regulatory and compliance fines when dealing with a security breach. 

The more effectively your business can detect and respond to a data breach or security incidents reduces the likelihood it will have significant impact on your data, customer trust, reputation, and a potential loss in revenue. If your business doesn’t have a layered IT security strategy or incident response process in place, call Connecting Point and we can help.