Blog  How to Build an Incident Response Team

How to Build an Incident Response Team

| Blog, Managed Security


Since safeguarding the integrity of your network and other systems is of paramount importance to companies of all sizes, you have most likely implemented measures such as firewall software and hardware that are designed to protect your key assets from malware and other forms of outside attack. 

However, putting a virtual guard in place to alert you of emergencies is only part of the equation. You also need to come up with comprehensive protocols that will specify how your management team addresses and neutralizes security incidents as soon as they occur. If these breaches are left to run their course, the privacy of your crucial data can be permanently compromised, leaving you to suffer the financial, resource and reputational consequences. 

To prevent this from happening, your organization needs to act to set up a complete, preemptive solution, including the development of an incident response team.

Setting the Stages

Devise an incident response (IR) plan. This set of procedures needs to be clear to all personnel involved. To that end, the plan must accurately guide key members of the team in quickly determining exactly what systems or data are being attacked. Only by understanding the who, what, where, when and why of an incident can it be stopped in its tracks. 

Furthermore, your IR plan must include a prioritization framework that will enable you to rank your response activities while a security threat is active while also furnishing you with metrics such as root cause, type and severity that you can use to prevent similar problems in the future. 

Finally, be sure that your IR plan is in line with your organization’s mission, giving all teams the tools they need to provide the best possible response to cyber emergencies.

Building Your Cyber Security Incident Response Team

Whether your organization is small or large, security is a primary objective. A centralized incident response task force provides you with a structure of stakeholders and resources already in place to prepare for and deal with a security event or events quickly and thoroughly. The team should consist of several members, each with separate roles. These include the following:

  • Incident response manager. This primary member of your computer security incident response (csirt team) team is in charge of all aspects of a cyber emergency. They oversee and prioritize all steps that are taken by other members during the incident detection, examination, investigation and containment process. They also provide incident-related details on a need-to-know basis to others in the organization.
  • Security analysts scrutinize the total nature of the security incident, reporting to the cyber emergency response team manager. 

There are two types of analysts: Triage analysts monitor the system for intrusions and filter out false positives. Forensic analysts come into play after a breach occurs, facilitating an airtight investigation by maintaining the integrity of all evidence and data that has been gathered.

  • Threat researchers keep their ear to the ground regarding dangers from within and outside the company’s system.

While they perform a vital coordination role, other staff such as management, human resources, risk management, legal counsel and public relations personnel have related responsibilities and must do their part.

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Other Incident Response Team Roles

Without the support of these additional critical members, the handling of security incidents can quickly spiral out of control. Therefore, your auxiliary security incident response team should include the following:

  • Management needs to be on board when it comes to providing the staff, time, csirt training and financial resources necessary in setting up and maintaining an incident response team;
  • Human resources specialists come into play when a member of the staff is involved in any aspect of a security incident.
  • Risk management specialists come up with metrics, best practices and assessment tools;
  • An attorney advises stakeholders on liability issues and ensures the value and validity of evidence in case of legal action;
  • Public relations furnishes a liaison between the company and outside entities, including the news media.

All of these incident response team members are important since each is related to a different aspect of your protection strategy. If you build and maintain a solid, qualified group of experts who are given the time and resources they need, you can go a long way toward protecting your assets and working towards a quick recovery and minimal permanent damage. 

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