What is an Incident Response In Cyber Security? Plans & Tools

Unveiling Incident Response in Cyber Security: Plans & Tools Revealed

In today’s world, the increasing threat of cyber attacks has made it essential for businesses and organizations to have a robust incident response plan in place. 

According to a report published by IBM, the approximate cost of a data breach in 2022 is around millions, so it is crucial to understand the fundaments of Incident response in cyber security.

In this blog post, I will help you to understand the world of incident response in cybersecurity, which includes what an Incident response in cyber security is, why it is crucial, and how it works. 

Moreover, I will also discuss the various phases of incident response and provide some best practices for developing and implementing an effective incident response plan. 

So, if you are interested in learning more about incident response and how it can help protect your organization from cyber threats, then keep reading!


Table of Contents

What is incident response in Cyber Security?

Incident response in cyber security is the process of detecting, investigating, and responding to a security breach or cyber attack on an organization’s network or system. The main goal of incident response is to minimize the damage caused by an attack and to restore normal operations as soon as possible.

Let’s take a real-world example to understand the concept better. In 2017, Equifax, a credit reporting agency, experienced a massive data breach that exposed the personal information of millions of its customers. The incident was a wake-up call for businesses to implement an incident response plan to mitigate the effects of a cyber attack.

The incident response plan includes identifying the source of the attack, containing it, analyzing the damage, and initiating the recovery process. The incident response team, consisting of IT professionals and security experts, works together to respond to the attack and prevent further damage.

Incident response is a crucial aspect of cyber security, as it helps organizations to be prepared and respond effectively to security breaches. It is essential to have an incident response plan in place to minimize the damage caused by a cyber attack and protect the organization’s reputation.

Types of security incidents

Understanding the security incident before diving into the incident response in cybersecurity is essential. A security incident term defines all types of a data breach that risks the CIA of an organization.

CIA describes confidentiality, integrity, and availability. These incidents are probably done by an unauthorized user or an attacker to breach the organization’s security and much more.

Here are some of the common security Incidents that you must be aware of:

Ransomware: Ransomware is one malicious malware or, you can say, software attack that is done with the purpose of Ransom. In a Ransomware attack, the attacker first runs the malware in the victim’s system and then creates a backdoor that allows them to lock the files available in that system and sometimes the complete system itself. 

Phishing and social engineering: Another common security incident is the Phishing and social engineering attack, where the attacker gathers all your information and tries manipulating the victim by sending phishing emails or downloading malicious software.

DDoS attacks: Also known as Distributed Daniel of Service attacks, where attackers gain remote control of a vast number of systems and send bot traffic to your network, which causes overloading to the servers, making them unavailable for legitimate users.

Supply chain attacks: The supply chain attack is also one of the most common attacks where an attacker manipulates legitimate vendors of an organization and fetches sensitive information. 

Insider threats: The Insider threat is one of the most common yet sometimes dangerous threats. Generally, Insider threats are divided into two categories. One is a miscellaneous employee who shares all his organization’s information intensionally, and the other is a Negligent insider who unintentionally shares the security details as they are unaware of the best security practice.

Incident response frameworks: Phases of incident response

Now moving further, let’s get into the different steps for effective Incident response, which is crucial for minimizing the impact of a cyber attack and restoring normal operations as quickly as possible. Here are some steps that can be taken for effective incident response:

Preparation: As we all know, precaution is better than cure. Similarly, preparation against a potential attack is also essential in each organization. So in the preparation phase, companies work on the roles and responsibilities of the incident response team, procedures for identifying and reporting an incident, and communication protocols.

Moreover, during the preparation phase, companies check their existing policies and procedures, allowing them to refine them if they find any lack. Additionally, if a company deals with products like software, in that case, they dive into the existing vulnerability of the product, which an attacker might try to exploit, and makes a complete strategy to tackle them.

Containment: Now, the next step of Incident Response is containment. As the name suggests, the step mainly focuses on the containment part. Once any threat is detected, the concerned team keeps them under containment to analyze to get a complete picture of suspicious events. So, in short, containment involves isolating affected systems and disabling access to compromised accounts.

Investigation: Post observation, the next step is to investigate the incident to determine the cause, extent of damage, and potential impact is essential. It includes analyzing system logs, interviewing witnesses, and identifying the source of the attack. Post Investigating the incident, the concerned team took the initiative to normalize things by removing the threats and restoring the system or network as previously.

The step ensures that all the systems or networks affected during the attack get normalized and completely clean from all malicious software.

Recovery: Once the restoration process is completed, the next step the incident response team do is to recover data and systems from backups, implement security patches and updates, and verify the security of the systems.

Review: After the incident has been resolved, it is essential to conduct a review to identify areas for improvement in incident response procedures and to take steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Who Handles Incident Responses?

Incident response is typically handled by a team of cybersecurity professionals, including incident responders, security analysts, and forensic investigators. The incident response team is responsible for detecting, investigating, and responding to security incidents promptly and effectively. 

In some organizations, the incident response team may be led by a chief information security officer (CISO) or a security operations center (SOC) manager, who oversees the incident response process and ensures that it is aligned with the organization’s overall security strategy. 

Depending on the severity of the incident, the incident response team may also work with external partners, such as law enforcement agencies or cybersecurity experts, to contain and mitigate the impact of the incident.

Types of incident response teams

The Incident Response team mainly diverges into three different types.

Computer security incident response team (CSIRT): The Computer security incident response team is a bunch of IT professionals dedicated to handling computer security incidents.

Computer incident response team (CIRT): Another type of incident response team is the Computer incident response team. The team generally focused on developing, recommending, and coordinating immediate mitigation actions for containment, eradication, and recovery resulting from computer security incidents.

Computer emergency response team (CERT): A computer emergency response team is an expert group that handles computer security incidents like the other two teams. However, these teams are reserved to address the critical security situation in an emergency. Alternative names for such groups include the computer emergency readiness and security incident response teams. 

Note: The team size and roles may vary as per the organization and the needs of those organizations. So if it’s a big organization, they might hire different people for different roles, or if the firm is small, they might hire professionals who can fulfill all these responsibilities. 

What does an incident response team do?

Well, the main objective of an Incident response team is to protect their organization against different security incidents. Here are some of the critical responses an incident response team mainly focusing.

Incident Identification: The incident response team is responsible for promptly identifying and recognizing potential security incidents or breaches within an organization’s network or systems.

Incident Classification: The team assesses the severity and impact of the incident to determine its classification and prioritize the appropriate response.

Response Planning: Incident response teams develop detailed response plans that outline the steps and actions to respond to specific types of incidents.

Containment and Mitigation: The team works to contain the incident, prevent further damage, and mitigate its impact on systems, data, and operations.

Investigation and Analysis: Incident response teams conduct thorough examinations to understand the nature of the incident, identify the root cause, and gather evidence for further actions, such as legal proceedings or future prevention.

Forensics and Evidence Collection: When necessary, the team performs digital forensics to collect and preserve evidence, ensuring that it is admissible in legal proceedings if required.

Communication and Reporting: The team communicates with relevant stakeholders, including management, IT staff, legal teams, and law enforcement, providing timely updates and detailed incident reports.

Incident Remediation: The response team works to remediate vulnerabilities, apply patches, or implement additional security measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Recovery and Restoration: The team focuses on restoring affected systems and data to normal operations, minimizing downtime, and ensuring business continuity.

Tools and technologies for Incident response

Tools and technology are among the most prominent things nowadays, espicelly when keeping the organization safe from cyber-attacks.

So if you are planning to start your career in this field, you must know about the primary tools and technology that Incident response professionals use.

Antimalware Tools: Malwarebytes, Bitdefender, Microsoft Defender, Sophos, and Webroot are some of the most commonly used antimalware tools by the Incident response team.

Backup and recovery tools: Bacula, Backblaze, CrashPlan, Veeam, Acronis, EaseUS Todo Backup, and Rubrik are commonly used for backup & Recovery purposes.

Cloud access security broker: Microsoft Defender for Cloud, Netskope, Symantec Web Security, and Oracle CASB Cloud are a few of the professional’s favorites.

Data classification tools: Rubrik, GitGuardian Internal Monitoring, and Netwrix Auditor are the best in the market tolls for data classification.

Data loss prevention: Microsoft Purview Data Loss Prevention, Nightfall, Endpoint Protector by CoSoSys, and Coro Cybersecurity are the all-time favorite tools for all Incident response teams.

DoS mitigation: Indusface AppTrana and SolarWinds Security Event Manager are the most commonly used tools for these attacks.

Employee security awareness training: You can go with KnowBe4 Security Awareness Training or Hoxhunt.

Firewalls: Exabeam & LogRhythm SIEM are well know Firewalls you can go with.

What are the Eligibility Criteria to Become an Incident Response Professional?

You must be a degree to start your career as an Incident Response professional. Generally, students with a computer science background have some added advantage compared to others.

However, it doesn’t conclude that a non-computer science degree holder can’t become an Incident Response professional.

The student must have a general security certification, such as CISSP, Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), or an incident response-specific certification.


In conclusion, incident response in cyber security is crucial to protecting organizations from security breaches and mitigating the impact of potential incidents. It involves a systematic approach to identify, classify, respond to, and recover from security incidents. 

Throughout this blog post, we explored the concept of incident response and its importance in cyber security. We discussed the various types of security incidents organizations might encounter and examined different incident response frameworks that provide a structured approach to handling incidents. 

We also delved into the roles and responsibilities of incident response teams, highlighting their essential functions in incident identification, response planning, containment, investigation, communication, and remediation. 

Additionally, we touched upon the tools and technologies commonly used in incident response, aiding teams to detect, analyze, and mitigate security incidents effectively. 

By understanding the fundamentals of incident response and fostering a proactive and well-prepared incident response capability, organizations can better safeguard their systems, data, and operations in the face of ever-evolving cyber threats.

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