How To Implement a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan

By: Rafal Reyzer
Updated: Mar 25th, 2024

How To Implement a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan - featured image

With the increase in the number of cyberattacks on businesses worldwide, it’s crucial to have a cybersecurity incident response plan in place.

But what should you be looking for when coming up with such a plan? What are the essential components, and how should you be implementing them? Let us look at some real-world examples to help you craft your incident response plan to make your blog, website, or online platform secure.

What is a cybersecurity incident response plan?

Security breaches happen all the time, every day, everywhere. IT Governance discovered 1,243 security incidents in 2021, which accounted for 5,126,930,507 breached records. This should make you think twice about tightening your levels of security. It does not matter whether you are a large multinational corporation or a small start-up. If you use computers and connect to networks of any kind, you need an incident response plan. This plan helps guide how your organization should react if it experiences a security breach that may impact customers and employees. In short, a cybersecurity Incident Response Plan comprises directions to help organizations detect, respond, and recover from security incidents. It should be created by trained IT professionals and companies that provide network security and corporate risk management.

Why do you need a cybersecurity incident response plan?

When you hear about a major data breach these days, one of the first questions that comes to mind is: how could they have been so careless? But you need to realize that there’s no silver bullet to cybersecurity. It takes teams of people working together with processes and checks to help spot issues before they become costly problems. The sad thing is that breaches happen even in companies that invest millions into cybersecurity. That’s why one way to boost security measures in your organization is to create a cybersecurity incident response plan. A well-constructed plan helps in security breach prevention and can work as an effective operational procedure when a security incident occurs. As a result, you’ll know what steps to take next instead of going into panic mode.

hacker using multiple screens

6 Steps to Create an Incident Response Plan:

1. Preparation

Preparation for any security-related incident is crucial if you want to guarantee a successful response. I strongly suggest drafting playbooks that give instructions to the SOC (security operations center) when deciding to investigate an incident. These will provide clear guidelines for the best way to handle an incident and ways to share the news with the rest of the organization. These guidelines should relate to top-level security threats and focus on areas like DDoS, Malware, Insider Threat Unauthorized access, and Phishing. It is important to test these procedures so that your team has a couple of dry runs before the actual threat hits your organization. Tabletop exercises are a great method to absorb the information and see what improvements are necessary.

2. Identification

You will remove the security threat when you are aware of the magnitude of it. Start with “patient zero,” which is the first compromised device. The aim is to determine the root of the breach, but not solely focus on one device. Is it possible that the threat has expanded and spread to other devices? The best way to determine the severity of an incident is to collect useful indicators of compromise (IOCs). Instead of rebuilding the infected device, examine any specific IOCs that you could use to look through your assets to spot where the issue first appeared.

If the incident is a malware-related issue, ask these questions:

  • Which network connections does the malware create?
  • What are the files created on the disk?
  • What processes that run on disk are being created?
  • Are there any unique registry keys that are generated?

You can use these keys to find more compromise evidence and identify other affected computers in your network.

3. Containment

When the extent of an incident is determined, containment can begin. This is when the affected devices in the estate are separated from the rest of the system to prevent the attack’s spread. Short-term containment can protect devices targeted by attacks. Long-term containment is often required for deep-dive analysis, which could be lengthy. It could involve taking a picture of the device and performing a hard disk for forensics. It could lead to additional IOC, and the identification process might need to be re-examined.

4. Eradication

After you stop the spread of the incident, you can start removing it from your network. The process will differ based on what caused the device to become compromised. The patching of devices, disarming malware, or removing compromised accounts are just a few examples of solutions during the elimination stage in the aftermath of an attack.

5. Recovery

The recovery stage of incidents aims to restore normal operations to the company. If clean backups are available, they could restart the service and get it back online. Any compromised device needs to be rebuilt to ensure a smooth recovery. A second monitoring system for affected devices may have to be conducted.

6. Lessons Learned

After you eliminate the threat, the next step will be to find out how to prevent it from happening again. What measures can you implement to tighten your security in the future? A Post Incident Review (PIR) meeting is required and should include the representatives of all teams involved with the incident. It is the opportunity to discuss what was successful during the incident and how. It is time to develop a response strategy based on the results of the PIR and revise security-related procedures to reflect any changes that are agreed upon.

cybersecurity threat

To prevent hackers from wreaking havoc on your system, implement the right cybersecurity plan ASAP.

How to prevent a Cybersecurity Incident?

Implement strong passwords: To prevent a cybersecurity incident, an organization should guide employees to make a password strong enough. The password should combine a mixture of small and capital alphabets, special characters, and numbers. Moreover, employees should change passwords a regular intervals. Never share passwords on unknown sites as cyber culprits can take advantage of it and misuse it. Install SSL on a website: To secure data, SSL cert is an important security protocol. SSL certificate secures the data flowing between the server and the browser. SSL also provides data integrity, data security, and data privacy. An organization with multiple subdomains and domains should go with a Comodo multi-domain SSL certificate. In other cases, there are single domain, wildcard SSL certificate types available. Use an antivirus: Antivirus is in demand today to prevent and identify malware, viruses, spyware, rootkits, and trojans. Antivirus is a data security utility that is installed on a computer. Once an antivirus detects an unwanted virus or trojan, it can remove it from the system and prevent its spreading.


Every business needs to ensure it has a proper plan in place to be prepared for a potential cyber-attack and to protect customer data and assets. As you can see, it’s not that complicated if you have the right tools, and cybersecurity talent in place. Ensure your company has everything covered by creating your cybersecurity incident response plan today. Next up, you may want to explore top cybersecurity tips for remote workers.

Rafal Reyzer

Rafal Reyzer

Hey there, welcome to my blog! I'm a full-time entrepreneur building two companies, a digital marketer, and a content creator with 10+ years of experience. I started to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to become a proficient digital marketer and achieve freedom through online creativity. My site is a one-stop shop for digital marketers, and content enthusiasts who want to be independent, earn more money, and create beautiful things. Explore my journey here, and don't miss out on my AI Marketing Mastery online course.