In the modern workplace, there are two new and challenging cybersecurity risks to mitigate.
First, there's the sheer number of threats that businesses are facing, which seem to be growing every day.
And second, there's the hybrid workspace. With traditional employees, remote workers, and hybrid workers, maintaining a secure wall around your business is uniquely difficult, if not impossible. Unfortunately we have to live with a new reality where it is not a question of “if” but rather “when” we will be hit by a cyber threat.
One of the core protections your business has at its disposal is its ability to respond to incidents in a quick and effective manner. And in this post, we're going to look at how your business can implement modern, effective incident response strategies, even in a remote or hybrid environment.
What is incident response?
Before we dive too deep into specifics, let's cover the basics of what incident response is. For those that don't know, an "incident" in the world of cybersecurity is any occurrence that could be malicious/problematic or a precursor to a malicious/problematic event. While incidents usually begin with the infiltration of your systems by threat actors, if not stopped soon enough they can result in real damage. In an ideal world we would want to address the incident before any of these examples of damage occur. Some examples of what can happen when incidents are unaddressed include:
- Network outages
- System failures
- Data breaches
To stay secure, you should be able to monitor your system activity, in order to detect any abnormal behavior (indicative of a threat). Armed with that information, you can determine how likely they are to be a risk to your business, and then respond (or not respond) accordingly.
This is, in many ways, the foundation of modern cybersecurity strategies. Watching for incidents, and deploying the appropriate response as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Modern vs. traditional incident response
Incident response is nothing new in the world of cybersecurity. What is new, however, is how response is implemented. You may have some form of incident response already in place, but it's likely that you're using a more traditional and less effective method.
Here's a breakdown of how traditional incident response stacks up against modern-day standards and strategies.
When talking about traditional incident response, we typically mean manual incident response. That means you have a team whose job it is to respond to incidents and make decisions on how to handle them.
While this isn't a necessarily bad approach, it's lacking in a few key areas.
First, it puts a lot of pressure on your incident response team. As mentioned, businesses are facing more threats than ever before, and realistically, your team doesn't have the people-power or know-how to effectively and quickly respond to every incoming incident.
Second, because it's largely manual, traditional incident response puts your business's security in a more reactive state. And while this may have worked fine in the past, being reactive isn't enough today. Threats can wreak havoc on your assets in a matter of minutes. So you could have already lost valuable data or time before your team has even realized a threat is taking place.
It's for these shortcomings that a more effective, modern approach to incident response has been developed. This modern approach takes advantage of technologies like automation, AI, and integration to monitor all of your endpoints simultaneously.
This doesn't mean that you don't have an incident response team. Instead, it means that you have a system in place that detects, responds to, and then passes along incidents to your team.
This more automated approach saves critical time while also relieving the pressure on your team. That means they can be more effective, responsive, and available when threats do occur.
The 7 steps of modern incident response
There is also a structure to modern incident response that helps keep things streamlined. It can be broken down into seven steps, which go as follows:
- Incident detection
- Team communication
- Impact and risk assessment
- Customer communication
- Response escalation
- Incident response delegation
- Incident resolution
Following this process, we can see that first a threat is detected. It's then assessed automatically and sent to the appropriate team. There, it receives a more nuanced assessment from your team.
Once assessed, customers and stakeholders are informed of the incident. Then, the response is escalated to the parties most capable of mitigating the incident. Mitigation is assigned to specific team members, who finally work to resolve the incident.
This represents a clear path to follow as well as a hierarchy through which each incident is filtered.
Remote incident response
Although remote work (a.k.a. telework) has brought certain convenience benefits, it also poses new cybersecurity challenges that need to be overcome. Here are some of the ways that businesses can address these challenges with proper incident response.
Protect all endpoints
First, your business needs to ensure that all of its endpoints are protected. An endpoint is any space where your network "ends". That includes every device (mobile phones, tablets, desktops, laptops, servers, etc.) connected to your network.
Your endpoints act as gateways to your digital assets and network, so keeping them safeguarded is paramount. Fortunately, there are tools designed to make this possible.
Namely, there's XDR. XDR, short for Extended Detection and Response, provides a lot of the tooling to help facilitate and automate incident response. Also, MDR (Managed Detection & Response) services typically include incident response as well.
Tackle the decreased visibility of threats
Next, businesses will need to address the lack of visibility that comes with a remote work environment. Oftentimes, workers will be connected to networks that the business has limited or no control over, from personal devices that can be difficult to secure. And all the while, they're accessing sensitive data and assets.
XDR helps bring in telemetry from your endpoints, logs, and emails. The telemetry gathered is then analyzed, using threat intelligence to identify the telltale traces of threat actors. XDR is a centralizing tool that can be deployed on all of your business devices, even remotely, offering visibility no matter where your staff is located.
Help colleagues monitor unusual behavior
Lastly, XDR can supplement cybersecurity interactions that would normally take place in the office. In an office workspace, staff need to be educated in order to better identify suspicious or dangerous content so it doesn’t put your business at risk.
With an MDR or XDR solution in place, these incidents can be monitored remotely, further facilitating the ease of response. In fact, remote incident response forms a key part of a modern MDR service.
Give your remote incident response an edge
While remote and hybrid workspaces pose unique challenges, modern cybersecurity solutions provide a level of protection that works no matter where your team members are located. Reach out to Samurai today and learn how you can keep your business secure.
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