It’s been proven time and time again that taking a reactive approach to cyber security incident response is an exercise in futility. Just ask Target or any number of other big-name brands that have suffered monetary and reputational damage at the hands of a security breach. With criminals becoming savvier by the day, organizations simply must take a more proactive approach to not just dealing with incoming threats as they occur, but actually thwarting them ahead of time.
The first step involves creating a more closed-loop system. That is, having a plan in place that not only identifies potential incidents, but carries through with the appropriate action accordingly. One of the biggest reasons cyber-attacks are successful is because the victim didn’t have such a strategy in place at the time of the incident. Even in cases where a threat is actually detected, it is often allowed to slip by due to the sheer volume of incoming alerts and the limitations of traditional IT departments.
To be truly effective, a cyber security incident response plan must cover every angle of the alert process. A quality monitoring system is great, but what if that system fails to adequately identify and prioritize a serious threat? To make this type of set up more proactive, automation can be integrated so that any and all incidents that occur and are picked up by the monitoring system can then be properly addressed, either automatically or via human intervention following the escalation and notification process.
In a recent survey conducted by the SANS Institute, all trends indicate widespread improvements are being made in cyber security incident response strategies across the board. Most survey respondents credited automation for these incremental improvements, but also admit that they still have quite a ways to go to reach full maturity. Advancements in skills as well as tools and technologies being leveraged and a more integrated approach are all needed in order to achieve optimum security levels.
The survey also revealed that four of the top issues relating to incident response include: lack of adequate system visibility (45%), inability to properly distinguish incidents (37%), too much time for remediation (29%) and lack of integrated, automated tools (28%). Further complicating matters is the increase in personal mobile device usage in the workplace. As more organizations adopt and roll out BYOD policies, the risk of security breaches multiplies exponentially.
Automation can provide the solution needed by offering enhanced visibility and faster, more accurate and effective response and remediation to cyber-attacks.
In conclusion, it is becoming more evident by the day that cyber-attacks are increasing, both in number and complexity. Traditional reactive cyber security incident response plans are no longer a match for these evolving risks. Only those organizations that adapt accordingly and take on a proactive approach to handing incidents will remain secure against such attacks.