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As technology continues to become increasingly integrated into our daily lives, the threat of cyber attacks and ransomware attacks has become more prevalent than ever. A cyber incident response plan (CIRP) is a critical tool for any organisation to protect against and respond to potential cyber threats. 

This guide will take you through the important elements of a good cyber incident response plan. We also cover the six phases of a Cyber Incident Response Plan, based on NIST incident response guidance. We will also show you how to implement this plan and maintain your incident response capability effectively.

Key Elements of a Cyber Incident Response Plan

To begin with, we must iterate that Cyber Resilience is a long-term commitment. Merely having an effective Incident Response Plan is not adequate. This plan must constantly be reviewed and refreshed in keeping with emerging threats. 

You may also want to call upon external cybersecurity specialists from time to time to offer their professional opinion on your cyber attack readiness. They can also help refresh your plans and procedures. They can also help you conduct a professional risk assessment to see exactly how vulnerable your organisation is if an incident occurs.    

A comprehensive cyber incident response plan should include several key elements:

  • A designated incident response team with clear roles and responsibilities. 
  • Regular training and testing of the incident response plan. This will ensure that the plan will actually mitigate damage in case of data breaches and ransomware attacks. 
  • Procedures for identifying, containing, detecting, analysing, eradicating, and recovering from an incident.
  • Communication plans for informing employees, customers, and stakeholders of the incident and its impact. Understanding when and how to inform appropriate law enforcement agencies in case of a cybersecurity event.  
  • Procedures for reviewing and updating the incident response plan. 
  • Should take into account the recommendations in the NIST Computer Security Incident Handling Guide. 
  • In addition to these key elements, a CIRP should also include specific procedures for different types of incidents such as malware, phishing, and natural disasters.