Chapter 10. Incident Response

In the event that the security of a system has been compromised, an incident response is necessary. It is the responsibility of the security team to respond to the problem quickly and effectively.

10.1. Defining Incident Response

An incident response is an expedited reaction to a security issue or occurrence. Pertaining to information security, an example would be a security team's actions against a hacker who has penetrated a firewall and is currently sniffing internal network traffic. The incident is the breach of security. The response depends upon how the security team reacts, what they do to minimize damages, and when they restore resources, all while attempting to guarantee data integrity.

Think of your organization and how almost every aspect of it relies upon technology and computer systems. If there is a compromise, imagine the potentially devastating results. Besides the obvious system downtime and theft of data, there could be data corruption, identity theft (from online personnel records), embarrassing publicity, or even financially devastating results as customers and business partners learn of and react negatively to news of a compromise.

Research into past internal and external security breaches shows that some companies go of business as a result of a serious breach of security. A breach can result in resources rendered unavailable and data being either stolen or corrupted. But one cannot overlook issues that are difficult to calculate financially, such as bad publicity. To gain an accurate idea of how important an efficient incident response is, an organization must calculate the cost of the actual security breach as well as the financial effects of the negative publicity over, in the short and long term.