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

Incident response is an expedited reaction to an 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 on past security breaches (both internal and external) shows that companies can sometimes be run out of business as a result of a breach. A breach can result in resources rendered unavailable and stolen or corrupted data. But one cannot overlook issues that are difficult to calculate financially, such as bad publicity. An organization must calculate the cost of a breach and how it will detrimentally affect an organization, both in the short and long term.