Why Every Business Needs an Incident Response Plan

January 07, 2022
A black businesswoman and a white businessman look at a chart with dots and lines on a high tech glass screen

When is the best time to make sure that you’re ready to respond in an emergency situation? Before that emergency ever happens. That logic applies to every kind of emergency from a gas leak in your building to a cyberattack in your company’s IT environment. Companies that are prepared for trouble often find out that they experience less of it as well because when everyone is on the same page for safety and security, employees are much more likely to notice problems before they grow into disasters – yet 1 in 3 businesses is still neglecting this essential. 

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In today’s volatile cybersecurity environment, it can often seem like there is a cyberattack waiting for your business around every corner. Threats like ransomware, business email compromise, spear phishing and more dangerous cyberattacks are all over the news. With cybercrime consistently on the rise, it’s just a matter of time before your business is in a cybercriminal’s sights. You need to be ready for trouble if your business is going to survive. The fact is,  60% of companies go out of business within six months of experiencing a cyberattack.

That’s why smart businesses are prepared to undertake an incident response at any time. Creating, drilling and updating an incident response plan for cyberattacks is critical to making sure that your business survives the blow. It’s also a key component of strengthening your company’s cyber resilience to stand strong in the face of trouble. By ensuring that you’ve got everything in place to handle the worst, you’ll ensure that your company’s chance of recovery is the best it can possibly be.  

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Why Do Businesses Need an Incident Response Plan at All? 

Cybercrime has grown exponentially in just the last few years. Businesses of every size in every industry are at risk of falling victim to a cyberattack at any time. Cybersecurity companies aren’t the only ones innovating in the cybercrime space; cybercriminals are innovating too. Their goal? To find new ways to circumvent, subvert or simply brute force their way through the security measures that businesses have in place to keep them away from valuable systems and data – and they’re getting pretty good at it. 

Cybercrime is Surging 

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Why Should My Business Have an Incident Response Plan? 

An astonishing 95% of executives say their firms have experienced a business-impacting cyberattack or compromise within the past 12 months, a key indicator that every organization needs an incident response plan. But your business can reap immediate benefits from incident response planning even if you never use the plans you make. 

Reduction of Risk 

Making, testing and maintaining an incident response plan is will immediately reduce your company’s chance of ever experiencing a damaging cybersecurity incident even if you never use it.  How much of a difference can it make? An enormous difference. IBM researchers announced that 39% of organizations with a formal, tested incident response plan experienced an incident, compared to 62% of those who didn’t have a plan. 

Increased Chance of Survival 

Many businesses are not prepared for the high cost of falling victim to a cyberattack. In this year’s IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report, researchers determined that the average cost of a breach in 2021 was $4.2 million per incident, the highest ever recorded in the 17 years of the study. If you haven’t planned how your business will handle a cyberattack, you may not have a solid grasp of the costs involved in a response. But having a tested incident response plan can save 35% of the cost of an incident

Improved Cyber Resilience 

Building your company’s cyber resilience is a key component of mounting a successful incident response. Cyber resilient companies can quickly make moves that enable them to isolate intrusions, minimize damage and keep functioning in any conditions. They also have a better eye on compliance and data handling practices which enables them to spot and fix vulnerabilities efficiently. 

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What Do Experts Say About the Benefits of Having an Incident Response Plan? 

In the recent IBM/Ponemon Cost of a Data Breach Survey, Companies with a defined incident response team that regularly ran drills and a comprehensive incident response plan saw savings of $2 million compared to those that had no such measures in place. Here’s what elsethe experts say about the importance of incident response planning. 

“It’s crucial for organizations to have a contingency plan ready in case of a major attack or breach.” –  Forbes Technology Council 

“Losing data or functionality can be crippling. An incident response plan and a disaster recovery plan help you mitigate risk and prepare for a range of events.” Cisco 

“When you have a proper plan, you will be prepared to handle incidents when they happen, mitigate the threats and associated risks, and recover quickly.” Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity 

Useful Incident Response Plans, Templates and Guides 

Carnegie-Mellon University Incident Response Framework 

The State of California Template 

CISA Example Incident Response Template 

NIST Computer Security Incident Handling Guide 

SANS Incident Response 101 

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Put Protection in Place Today That Will Benefit Your Business Today and Tomorrow

In this volatile cybersecurity climate, organizations must do everything that they can to give themselves an edge against cybercrime. An incident response plan doesn’t just protect your business during an incident, it also empowers your business to thrive now, come out of an incident with more cash and prevent another incident in the future. 

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