The Importance of Having an Effective Incident Response Team

Increasing your employees’ security IQ is a critical step toward securing your key corporate assets. While this step is important, it is essential that other initiatives be implemented simultaneously. In order to create a fully integrated security approach, executives must have a cybersecurity response team ready to go in seconds.

In a utopia, a cyber incident would never happen. Our businesses would flourish with minimal to no interruptions, executive officers would never have to worry about a threat to their crown jewels and employees would work risk-free from others trying to steal their intellectual property. But if your parents are anything like mine, you know the old saying “life isn’t fair” very well.

It’s no different with business. As in life, in business we must constantly search for ways to be proactive versus reactive. Taking a proactive approach to securing your organization can save you huge amounts of capital if and when an incident occurs.

Protect Your Business Strategy

All great businesses have a plan for implementing strategy and driving revenue growth. Planning your work and working your plan is what sets great companies apart from good ones. Securing your company’s key assets should be no different. That is why it’s essential that executives have a cybersecurity response team ready to go in seconds.

Why the focus on cybersecurity? According to the “2015 Cost of Data Breach Study,” the average consolidated cost of a data breach is $3.8 million. U.S. companies were the biggest victims, the report indicated, with data breaches resulting in the greatest number of compromised records — almost 30,000.

Too many organizations spend capital and resources up front, protecting their business with safeguards to secure cloud and mobile, protect critical assets and stop advanced threats. These steps are all critical in optimizing the entire security program. However, the majority of the cost associated with a data breach can be drastically mitigated by improving the speed and effectiveness with which we respond to the threat.

Invest in a Response Team

An investment in preventive security measures must be supported by an investment in counter and response procedures. These procedures shouldn’t be taken lightly. Many organizations make the mistake of having only IT personnel ready to respond, but the best plans integrate all areas of the business.

In order to be fully effective, a sophisticated, all-inclusive team consisting of personnel from IT, legal, human resources, management, the C-suite and your cybersecurity partner is essential to responding to a complex cyberattack.

Challenge your response teams and security procedures at least once a quarter. Simulate a data breach to prepare your organization, employees and response team to more effectively tackle cyber incidents.

Our greatest advantage is controlling the controllable. Plan your work and work your plan!

**UPDATED** Download the 2016 Global Cost of Data Breach Study from Ponemon Institute

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Kevin G. Joseph

Cybersecurity Strategist, IBM

Kevin Joseph is an IBM Cybersecurity Strategist serving the Great Lakes Region of the United States. He is focused on delivering client value to corporate executives through business level discussions.