The threat of cyber incidents looms large for organizations of all sizes and industries. A report from Check Point researchers assesses the cost of recovery, remediation and legal fees associated with an attack to be greater than seven times the ransom itself. The rise in sophisticated cyberattacks demands a proactive approach to protect sensitive data, preserve customer trust and minimize reputational risks. Yet, when it comes to cyber incident response, it can take time to figure out where to start and how to create an incident response framework. Today we are sharing insight on elements paramount to cyber incident response and helping organizations mitigate crises.


Threat actors are not always hunters. In many instances, they are mere opportunists, following the path of least resistance before exploring more complex methods of attack. Yet, sophistication is on the rise. Staying ahead of the curve requires a holistic cyber resilience strategy that evolves with the landscape. While there is no way to predict an attack with certainty, we know it will occur on an organization’s assets. This can include assets that are remote, on-premises, or in the cloud.

Consequently, enterprises must perform security assessments of networks and infrastructure to ensure control over digital terrain. Gone are the days of reviewing assets every few years; now, with system sophistication increasing dramatically, the time frame has been shortened to months.


Adequate preparation and planning are the keys to effective cyber incident response. Without a clear-cut incident response process, coordinating practical response efforts after a breach is often too late. Unprepared clean-up is going to cost your company substantial time and money.

The first hours after an incident are critical, and your organization’s board and executive, legal, security and communications team members must be primed to spring into action immediately following its detection.

Preparation provides clarity on how well organizational teams will be able to respond to an incident in real time. Effective cyber incident response planning requires coordination across a company and should outline the following:

  • Identification is critical in assessing how incidents are detected. Ideally, the quicker the better to enable rapid response and reduce costs and damages. For this step of effective incident response, IT staff and security teams gather information from various sources, including log files, error messages, firewalls and intrusion detection systems, to evaluate the incident scope.
  • Containment is critical once a data breach is identified. The goal of containment is to compartmentalize the damage and prevent further spread. As noted above, the earlier incidents are detected, the sooner they can be contained to minimize damage. These steps often include system backup and long-term confinement.
  • Eradication entails neutralizing the threat and restoring affected systems, ideally while minimizing loss.
  • Recovery involves testing and monitoring systems before putting them back into production to prevent re-infection. Decision-making is a crucial component of this step, including consideration of time and date to restore operations, testing and verifying the compromised systems, monitoring for abnormal behaviors, and using tools validating system behavior.
  • Evaluating efficacy is critical because it helps to educate and improve future efforts of the incident response team. This allows for updated response initiatives with information that may have been missed during the incident. Efficacy reports provide a clear picture of the entire event. They are often helpful during recap meetings, as training materials for new incident response team members on roles and responsibilities, or as benchmarks for comparison.


Organizational leadership plays a crucial role in ensuring readiness for cyber crises, recognizing that it is not solely the burden of the IT team. One way leadership can effectively contribute is by guiding investments in readiness tools and providing training to teams on how to respond in such situations.

A powerful approach to achieve this is through realistic cyber war games. These simulations recreate the tension and dilemmas experienced during cyber events, allowing participants to immerse themselves in the scenario. By engaging in these exercises, not only can teams develop their technical skills, but they can also explore the human side of cybersecurity.

These cyber war games also shed light on executives’ perception biases when confronted with potential threats. By participating in these simulations, leaders can better understand the challenges and decision-making complexities involved in cyber crises. This firsthand experience enables them to make informed decisions and allocate resources more effectively.1


Remember, readiness is a collective responsibility encompassing the IT team and organizational leadership. Together, we can strengthen our cyber defenses and effectively navigate the challenges that arise in the face of cyber crises. To learn more about developing a cyber incident response plan, check out our webinar A Closer Look at Cyber Security: Reduction.

For more risk management guidance, contact us today.


  1. Avishai Avivi. “Cyber Warfare is Upon Us: Why the Next Generation of ‘War Games’ so Important.” Infosecurity-magazine. March 2023.