How Organisations Can Build An Effective Incident Response Framework

As cyber-attacks continue to grow each year. Organisations across the world have come to the realisation that working to prevent and detect cyber-attacks is one thing, but having an incident response framework is also equally imperative. However, not every organisation knows what’s the best approach built that effective incident response framework.

Why Is An Incident Response Framework Important?

An incident response framework is basically a plan to deal with the aftermath of a cyber-attack. When a company’s cybersecurity defensive wall fails to prevent cyber-attack, incident response system is the next most important thing that comes into the play, as it helps an organisation take steps to quickly contain, minimise, and learn from the damage.

Every time a cyber-attack takes place, both the company and its consumers run into risk. It’s not just that phase — through breaches, black hats cost organisations millions of dollars and C-level executives their jobs. No matter how good your firm is; when there is a breach, the negative press is almost guaranteed for a significant amount of time.

There are possibilities that under the pressure of a critical level incident, there won’t be any time to strategise your game. Therefore, having a strong incident response makes sure that things are sorted quickly and even the cost of getting things back to work is also not much.

Response time is critical to minimising damages, and with every second counting, having a plan ready in place is the key to mitigate the loss and negativity forming across your business.

An incident response system makes sure that it prioritises things according to the severity. For example, if there is just a login failure, the cybersecurity team cannot afford to spend hours investigating that event. Different events have different needs to be investigated.

How To Build Your Own Incident Response Framework

If you or your organisation want to have a strong incident responses framework you can either adopt one of them or you can pick up a few steps from one and few from another. And then compile them to have one framework for you. And if that doesn’t work, you can also have your own framework. However, there are instances that when the framework wouldn’t go well with compliance.

Things to keep in mind when building a customised incident response framework:

  • Make sure employees of every level get the required training and knowledge regarding all kind of threats. Make them aware and prevent them from falling prey to cyber baits.
  • Have strict cybersecurity policies and protocols
  • Make sure you assess properly all your tools and process, and fix or update everything accordingly
  • Always go for vendors that are trustworthy and have a good record of past works
  • Have a team of specialists who would take care of every aspect of cybersecurity
  • A strong vulnerability management system/team
  • Emphasise on network security as well
  • Prioritise events. Make sure the most severe event is dealt first
  • Make sure the team who investigates the entire event, doesn’t leave a stone unturned.
  • Always have a back up of every single data that is critical to you and your business

Industry Standard Incident Response Frameworks

When it comes to incident response frameworks, there are two standards that are extensively followed in the industry — NIST and SANS. They are the dominant institutes whose incident response steps have become the industry standard.


Established in 1901, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is a government that works in all-things-technology, including cybersecurity, which has become one of their fortes.

Talking about incident response, NIST’s process has four steps:

  • Preparation
  • Detection and Analysis
  • Containment, Eradication, and Recovery
  • Post-Incident Activity


SANS is a private organisation that, per their self-description is the most trusted and by far the largest source for information security training and security certification in the world. And their incident response framework is another industry standard.

SANS’ process has six steps:

  • Preparation
  • Identification
  • Containment
  • Eradication
  • Recovery
  • Lessons Learned


There was a time when organisations used to emphasise more on having a system that would stop any attack. However, those same organisations have realised that preventing every single threat wouldn’t be an easy task. So, it is better to be prepared for the worst.

With the ever-increasing cyber-attacks and the risk of insider threat growing, the need for a strong incident response framework has reached a significantly high level. If your organisation has still not adopted an incident response framework, then there are chances that you would end up complicating things if you are ever hit by a cyber-attack.

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Harshajit Sarmah
Harshajit is a writer / blogger / vlogger. A passionate music lover whose talents range from dance to video making to cooking. Football runs in his blood. Like literally! He is also a self-proclaimed technician and likes repairing and fixing stuff. When he is not writing or making videos, you can find him reading books/blogs or watching videos that motivate him or teaches him new things.

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