Our cyber team collaborate their insights to help ask questions and provide answers during Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Cyber Incident detection and response: A proactive guide for your business

As we observe Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it is a timely reminder for businesses to reevaluate their cybersecurity posture. Acknowledging the inevitability of cyber threats, this article delves deep into the core of best practices within the cybersecurity journey. It aims to address challenges and unveil the strength of proactive measures, from swift detection to effective response.

Tackling widespread cybersecurity worries

Like most businesses we all share common concerns around the financial impact of cyberattacks, data breaches, and ransomware incidents, but it's crucial to also recognise that these threats encompass more than just financial risks. They can also inflict damage on reputations and disrupt day-to-day operations. To effectively safeguard your business, the first step is to understand the unique threats it faces.

Our Cyber Controls Checklist is a valuable tool designed to assist businesses of all sizes. It serves as a guide to help identify vulnerabilities and evaluate cybersecurity controls. In tandem, our Cyber Controls & Insurability Assessment (CCIA) can complement the Checklist, offering an independent view of your control maturity and actionable recommendations to enhance your cybersecurity posture.

Building resilience against cyber threats necessitates not only robust defences but also a clear course of action when incidents arise. Here are some key steps to elevate your organisation's cybersecurity posture:

  • Email & Web Security: Employ solutions which check emails and prevent attacks originating from the internet. These solutions help to prevent and protect against such threats as phishing or ransomware attacks.
  • Monitoring & Logging: Implement a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution to gain real-time visibility of your digital environment. This empowers you to detect anomalies and threats promptly
  • Incident Response Plan: Develop and regularly update an incident response plan. This plan should delineate your team's actions in response to a cyber incident, including resource allocation and collaboration with third parties.
  • Data Backup & Recovery: Employ encrypted, air-gapped backup solutions to ensure the safety of critical data. These solutions enable swift recovery in the event of ransomware attacks or data loss.
  • Vendor Security Assessments: Remember that your cybersecurity extends beyond your organisation to your third-party vendors. Our services include vendor security assessments to ensure that your partners meet your security standards.

Detecting and responding to incidents: Real-world scenarios

To truly understand the importance of detecting and responding to cybersecurity incidents, let's look at a few real-world scenarios that many organisations can relate to:

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Scenario 1: The phishing email

Imagine you receive an email that appears to be from a trusted vendor, asking you to click a link to update your account information. Unbeknownst to you, it's a well-crafted phishing email. You click the link, and provide your login credentials, at this point in time these credentials have been compromised and are a risk to your organisation. Without adequate monitoring and detection systems, you might not realise this breach until it's too late.

Response: In this scenario, having an email security solution in place may have prevented the phishing email from reaching its destination by detecting then quarantining the email. Paired with an appropriate monitoring & logging solution (or SIEM), any use of the breached credentials to access your network can be detected, alerted, and responded to accordingly.

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Scenario 2: Ransomware attack

Picture a typical workday when your employees start receiving strange pop-up messages on their screens. Your organisation has fallen victim to a ransomware attack, and your critical files are encrypted, systems are left inaccessible until a hefty ransom is paid. Without a solid incident response plan and proper backup solutions, you face potential data loss, delays in recovery, and a significant financial setback.

Response: With a well-prepared incident response plan and regular secure data backup strategies, your organisation would be better equipped to isolate the affected systems, respond, contain and eradicate the ransomware, before proceeding to restore data from backups, and avoid paying any ransom. This scenario highlights the importance of backups and of having a clear plan of action in case of an incident.

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Scenario 3: Unauthorised access

A supplier informs you that they have subjected to a cyber-attack, and login credentials may have been compromised, there has been no immediate impact on your organisation, however a few weeks later unauthorised access and attempts to exfiltrate data away from your network is discovered. It is later discovered the cyberattack due to a poor security posture adopted by the supplier.

Response: The impact of this event not only affected the supplier but also your organisation, requiring action such as the changing of user credentials, and investigations to assure no infiltration to your network has been made. By undertaking robust vendor due diligence, the risk that the supplier presented could have been mitigated and additional controls applied to their access. Additionally, by employing a monitoring / data loss prevention solution the exfiltration of data may have been detected sooner rather than later.

These scenarios underscore the vital role of monitoring, logging, and incident response plans in mitigating the impact of cyber incidents. In each case, a proactive approach guided by the Cyber Controls Checklist could have saved time, resources, and potentially prevented the event.

Are you prepared to respond effectively?

Don't just hope for the best when it comes to your cybersecurity.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.