Cyber attacks are common and damaging for businesses. Yet many businesses do not have a sufficient cyber attack response plan in the event of a cyber attack. Even with the increasing frequency and cost of cyber incidents, as many as 34% of businesses don’t have a formal cybersecurity incident response plan applied uniformly across their entire business.

The lack of a formal cyber attack response plan can create risk for your business. Confusion over how to respond to a cyber attack could worsen the attack, lead to mistakes by your organization that increase liability and leave you unprepared to address the concerns of customers, clients and other stakeholders.

Developing a cyber attack response plan now before you face a cyber incident allows your business to safeguard your business and minimize your risk. It’s easy to get started forming your own incident response plan with these steps:

1. Conduct a Risk Assessment

A full risk assessment can give you important information about your organization when it comes to a cyber incident. Look at the likelihood and severity of threats. Don’t just focus on worst-case scenarios. Every business faces different risks, and your cybersecurity incident response plan should be tailored to your own needs.

2. Identify Your Cyber Vulnerabilities

Look at what is at stake for your business in the event of an attack. It could be data (client records, financial details, case files, sales data, trade secrets) or systems (daily operations, backups, communications). Note that different types of data and systems may have different vulnerabilities and require different responses in the event of a hack.

3. Decide When to Raise the Alarm 

Because your organization’s risks and vulnerabilities will be unique, your own definitions of what’s normal and what constitutes a cyber attack will also be unique to your business. Your plan should precisely define when it is appropriate to raise the alarm that a cyber attack has occurred.

4. Develop a Detection Plan

Determine how your business will detect a hack, breach or other cybersecurity incident. Your business may be protected by inhouse automated systems, utilize a help ticketing system or be monitoring by outside security.

5. Gather Your Team

A strong cybersecurity incident response team will be crucial during a hack. The team isn’t just your IT department. You’ll also need to involve key stakeholders across other parts of your organization, including senior management, HR, communications and legal. Your team may also expand to include outside experts, such as data forensics experts and your insurer.

6. Inventory Assets and Resources

In the event of an attack, you’ll need to know what systems and experts you can rely on. Take an inventory of systems, such as backups, firewalls, log systems and software. Determine team members you can turn to across various departments and identify outside law enforcement partners and security experts.

7. Plan Your Incident Response

A crucial stage of planning involves determining how your business will investigate attacks, contain threats and recover from a hack. Your plan should address each kind of incident you may face, deliver a plan of action your team can follow and take advantage of your assets and resources.

8. Draft Your Communications Now

A cybersecurity incident often mandates notification and requires careful public relations management. It’s a good idea to draft communication templates that can be used in the event of an attack. Planning now ensures you meet legal and regulatory requirements, create consistent messaging and can act quickly when needed.

9. Create a Cybersecurity Event Log Template

Staying organized as your team responds to a threat is important. Use a cybersecurity event log to track the discovery of the hack, the communications and actions taken and other technical data. Documentation helps your security experts, legal team and law enforcement as they assist with your cyber attack response.

10. Remain Vigilant for Threats

Stay alert for cyber attack threats. Practice your incident response plan with your team to ensure you’re ready for a hack. Review your plan regularly and update it whenever your systems, operations or personnel change.

11. Secure Cyber Liability Insurance

Cyber Liability Insurance protects your business from the cost of defending against a cyber attack. With Cyber Liability Insurance from CyberLock Defense, you receive comprehensive coverage at affordable rates. This policy offers broad coverage, no sublimits, flexible limits and additional coverage like Business Interruption.

Discover more benefits of cyber liability insurance for your business today.