IT security incidents are omnipresent today. Therefore, all companies should be prepared for a possible IT security incident to be able to act correctly in an emergency. But when do we speak of an IT security incident, and which essential steps and means are elementary before, during and after an IT security incident? Read the solutions in the following sections.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s an IT vulnerability, human error or a targeted hacker attack: with the increasing degree of digitization, IT security incidents are certainly no longer a rarity – the contrary. They are now part of the daily program and appear in almost every domestic company.
IT Security Incident: A Definition!
In general, an IT security incident is an undesirable event that affects the confidentiality, usability and integrity of information, business processes, IT systems, IT applications, or IT services to such an extent that the affected companies or people suffer significant damage.
The Federal Office for Information Security, or BSI for short, defines an IT security incident in its Security Incident Management module.
Consequently, in this case, in particular, it is an IT security incident as soon as:
- Life and limb are in danger.
- Central business processes were severely impaired or even brought to a standstill.
- Hardware, software, and business-critical data have been affected plus unlawfully used, tampered with, formatted, destroyed, or restricted.
- Company values have been affected.
- The IT security incident affects customers, suppliers or other persons and entities outside the company.
An IT Security Incident Does Not Stop At Anyone!
Nowadays, every company has to plan for becoming a victim of a security incident sooner or later. The factors for an IT security incident can be very diverse. For example, complex Internet attacks with malware or ransomware, misconfigurations, secure IT systems, security gaps in computer software, violations of security guidelines and instructions, or the loss or theft of devices such as laptops can trigger far-reaching IT security incidents.
To ensure that IT security incidents can be processed and eliminated as promptly and appropriately as possible, companies are therefore well advised to deal with the topic in good time and to create and implement a well-thought-out and comprehensive procedure for handling IT security incidents.
This includes implementing a comprehensive incident response plan known as the Incident Response Plan and using tried and tested IT security measures and IT security solutions, such as SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solutions.
In Six Steps To More IT Security!
The Incident Response Plan defines any procedures and methods that are necessary to be implemented and used in the event of an IT security incident.
Typically, incident response is divided into four main phases:
- Preparation: Thorough preparation is a fundamental step in handling IT security incidents. This forms the basis for the entire process and decides whether it works or fails. In this phase, an incident response guideline, an efficient response strategy and a concrete process organization should be developed and integrated. It is also essential to ensure that all employees are appropriately trained about their roles and responsibilities when responding to IT security incidents. It is advisable also to design exercise scenarios to assess and, if necessary, optimize the incident response plan.
- Incident Detection: This stage initiates the Incident Response Plan. At this point, it is necessary to check whether a reported case is relevant to safety. In addition, the following matters must be clarified: When did the attack occur? Who discovered him? Which areas are affected? Has the source, vulnerability, or entry point been identified yet? What effects does the event have on ongoing operations?
- Containment, Remediation, and Recovery: This stage focuses on minimizing the consequences of the security incident and mitigating service disruptions.
- Activities after the security incident: After the recovery process has been completed, the incident and all efforts in handling the IT security incident should be processed. Because of this, it is crucial in terms of a continuous improvement process to learn from the entire incident and to prevent similar IT security incidents in the future.
Conclusion: Prevent More Damage Than Necessary!
Rarely is a company’s dependence on functioning information technology as noticeable as at the moment of a serious IT security incident. If business-critical data is lost, IT systems or even entire IT infrastructures fail, and the consequences range from a complete standstill to a considerable loss of reputation.
However, the extent of the damage caused by IT security incidents can be reduced to a minimum by using sophisticated processes, security measures and security solutions to deal with security-related incidents.