How to Create an Action Plan to Manage Data and IT Security Incidents

How to Create an Action Plan to Manage Data and IT Security Incidents

  August 10, 2023

SEB Marketing Team

Data and IT Security incidents have become a menacing threat in the digital age, causing significant damage to organizations worldwide. As businesses increasingly rely on technology to store sensitive information, cybercriminals have capitalized on vulnerabilities, leading to a surge in data and IT security breaches. According to a report by Statista, in the first quarter of 2023, Canada experienced over five million leaked records, underscoring the severity of the situation and highlighting the urgent need for robust measures. These alarming statistics serve as a wake-up call for companies to bolster their defenses and protect their valuable data from falling into the wrong hands.

A well-structured protocol is essential for effective incident response management, as these occurrences often require swift action to minimize the impact. The protocol focuses on promptly isolating affected systems to prevent further risking critical resources, while also minimizing system downtime during the restoration process. By employing a “lessons learned” approach for all security incidents, regardless of their size, scale, complexity, or severity, the protocol enables continuous improvement and adaptation to potential threats. Ultimately, putting together a recovery plan plays a pivotal role in maintaining operational continuity and safeguarding the organization against potential risks.

In order for the companies to be better prepared, the following 6 steps should be included in the recovery plan that is activated in the event of data and security incidents.

Step 1 Preparation:

First and foremost, it is essential to preplan to be prepared in case any incidents happen.  Start by assigning a recovery plan owner. The plan owner takes on the task of establishing incident response teams, tools, policies and procedures, playbooks, forms and checklists. Planning should ensure that communication procedures and stakeholders contact lists are kept up-to-date. The plan should be shared within the organization so that stakeholders can familiarize themselves with the procedures.

Step 2 Identification and Initial Response:

If a security incident occurs, it should be reported in strict accordance with the established policies and procedures and potential risks should be immediately assessed. The plan owner assigns actions to the dedicated team who can execute the initial response. The first priority would be to find out what happened and what has been impacted, then focus can shift to how it happened, and parties involved.

Step 3 Containment and Isolation:

The dedicated team should thoroughly gather information on the incident which may include the source, which vulnerability was exploited (if possible), and the assets affected. They need to quickly determine if the incident poses a significant threat to the continuity of the business and take appropriate action such as removal or isolation of the affected systems. 

Step 4 Eradication and Evidence collection:

Once the incident has been contained, the team should gather further evidence and investigate the occurrence in detail, which may include electronic resources (such as log files), interviews taken from various individuals, etc., depending on the situation. A Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution is generally ideal in these situations to gather all logs into one central processing location for reviews.

Once detailed information has been gathered, the team can proceed to remove the threat which may include removing malware files, implementing new firewall rules, enacting disaster recovery procedures or other steps to mitigate or completely remove the threat from the environment.

Step 5 Recovery:

The recovery procedures may include restoring systems from clean backups, completely rebuilding systems if warranted, replacing any systems if necessary, and reconfiguring network security.

Step 6 Lessons Learned/Post-incident response:

A formal, detailed, and documented incident response report should be prepared for management after the incident. The report should have the following elements: detailed description of the security incident, response measures taken, team members involved, reporting activities to all relevant parties, recovery procedures and finally the lessons learned with any corrective actions identified to reduce the likelihood of similar incidents happening in the future.

By outlining clear steps and responsibilities, a recovery plan empowers organizations to act quickly and decisively, preventing reputation damage and potential legal consequences. Furthermore, it enhances resilience and preparedness, enabling businesses to bounce back swiftly from disruptions and maintain trust among customers, stakeholders, and partners. In the ever-changing landscape of cybersecurity, having a robust recovery plan is not a luxury but a vital safeguard to protect valuable data and uphold the integrity of the organization. Along with your recovery plan, corporations should create and maintain incident playbooks.  These are live documents that outline the organization’s approach and recovery team responsibilities and include in-depth information about the tasks that can guide the recovery team in the event of an incident to ensure proper recovery with minimal impact.

There are various companies which provides IT Security solutions including creating a customized recovery plan. Qlogitek, an SEB Company provides exceptional IT Security solutions. For more information, you can check out these solutions here: